Chris Cilizza and Aaron Blake at the Washington Post say Republicans are losing the spending argument:
While Obama’s numbers aren’t stellar on that same spending question — 52 percent disapproval — he is in considerably stronger shape than his Republican adversaries as Washington braces for the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts known as the sequester to take effect on Friday.
Where to start?
First, the idea that “$1.2 trillion in automatic cuts” is going to “take effect Friday” is bold spin, and that’s being very kind. That’s $1.2 trillion over ten years, and I bet you a year’s salary it will never ever happen. This year’s chunk is an $85 billion “cut” that is not really a cut but an increase in spending over last year — just $85 billion less than their request — a request that one assumes was inflated to begin with, since the Administration knew automatic cuts were coming. Yet the press uncritically reports it as a cut, and uncritically reports the parade of horribles that Obama says is totally unavoidable. Illegal immigrants are released, and we are promised that flight delays and uninspected meat are on the horizon.
How did they ever make do last year with less money than they are getting this year? Answer: the parade of horribles is manufactured and phony. Big Media won’t tell you that. I will.
Second, the public is being presented with a false dichotomy in the polls: do you “blame” Congressional Republicans or Obama? As if Senate Democrats don’t exist. Congressonal Republicans have passed alternatives. Senate Democrats won’t.
Third, “blame”? As if it’s assumed this is the Bad Thing that Obama claims it is.
Fourth, who is questioning the way Obama is responding to this? While seemingly essential services like air traffic controllers are going to be sent home, how many nonessential union cronies will fritter away the taxpayers’ money? How much more nonsense will we be continuing to fund? Who is asking?
In 2008, Obama and McCain discussed an across-the-board spending freeze, and Obama said you couldn’t do that, because it was using a hatchet where a scalpel was needed:
Sen. John McCain proposed a possible spending freeze on virtually every federal program except the Department of Defense, for veterans and entitlement programs in a presidential debate with rival Barack Obama Friday night. Obama countered that approach is too broad-based, saying it was the equivalent of “using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.”
Where is the scalpel today? It sure looks like a small increase in spending is being responded to with a hatchet. Not that Big Media is explaining this.