Bob Woodward calls President Obama out....
Today Watergate legend Bob Woodward called "a kind of madness" (0:51) President Obama's threat that if sequester goes through on Friday he will be unable to protect the country. Woodward noted that Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush & Bill Clinton would not have let a piece of paper stand between them & their duty to protect the country as commander-in-chief.
Today the Senate is expected to vote down two sequester substitute bills: a Republican alternative giving the president more flexibility to make cuts & Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Democratic proposal to replace the sequester with fewer cuts plus new tax increases. The GOP bill would, while ruling out tax hikes, allow only defense budget increases. By reserving a congressional right of disapproval, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “The goal isn’t to hand over congressional authority. It’s to make sure these cuts actually happen.”
At Commentary Blog ex-Bush WH staffer Peter Wehner labels O's threats as "a concoction of willful deceptions, hyperbole, demagoguery, mismanagement, and deliberate harm .... doing [incalculable harm] to our political culture."
The WaPo reports this incredible admission (h/t Peter Wehner] from an anti-sequester lobbyist:
“The good news is, the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” said Emily Holubowich, a Washington health-care lobbyist who leads a coalition of 3,000 nonprofit groups fighting the cuts. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: See, that wasn’t so bad.” (Italics added.)
Imagine had a GOP lobbyist said this....
Or as Breitbart notes, imagine a Republican White House doing what the Obama WH just did, threatening superstar reporter Bob Woodward for having committed the crime of proving that the White House has been lying about the sequester & also unprecedentedly irresponsible in threatening to cut national security in ways that would knowingly harm the nation.....
WSJ pundit Dan Henninger sees an "Obamaian" Universe in which federal government spending is the economy's & society's life force. Yet the president scorns discretionary authority he already has to target cuts to non-essential services. Byron York details complex rules crafted by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) that show how flexibility might be implemented--Bob Tyrrell at TAS opines that pols write complex laws to befuddle voters & thus make them less accountable. As a budget-savvy GOP Capitol Hill aide explained to York, at each agency, there are macro "budget accounts" within which are multiple micro "PPAs"--programs, plans & activities. All cabinet departments & executive agencies possess "reprogramming authority"--the ability to shift funds between micro PPAs within each specified macro budget account. Some--including the Department of Defense--also possess "transfer authority"--the broader power to transfer funds between macro budget accounts.
AEI defense maven Tom Donnelly sees Obama performing "a masterful jiu-jitsu move" on the GOP, by turning 2010's Tea Party revolt against big government into a trade of more domestic spending for larger defense cuts, with a consequent decline in US global influence. Michael Barone is not sure the president will prevail in the court of public opinion, because (a) the sequester effects are uncertain & (b) voters may react differently after the sequester takes effect than they presently tell pollsters.
On Fox Monday morning Judge Andrew Napolitano called the president's threat to inflict pain, if carried out, "almost an impeachable offense." Not in today's Washington, but it should be.
Bottom Line. Obama is pulling out all stops in a public scare campaign--supplemented by deliberately inflicting pain on voters for his own partisan political gain--an audacious & cynical political gambit without full parallel in living memory.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, National Security, Economy, Conservative Politics