“Too often with this White House, the solution to any challenge is ramping up campaign-style events,” says National Journal’s Charlie Cook. “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” We’re seeing that again as the president’s sequester inches closer: lots of campaign rallies and rhetoric, no solutions.
You see, the House of Representatives passed legislation – twice (last May and again in December) – to replace President Obama’s sequester with smarter, responsible spending cuts and reforms. Senate Democrats haven’t passed a thing. But instead of urging Senate Democrats to take action, the president seems more interested in campaigning (and blaming Republicans for his mess):
- “Obama’s been virtually absent from the legislative process” of replacing his sequester, reports Politico. After getting the $600 billion in tax hikes he wanted last month (with no spending cuts), “there has been no discernible effort by the White House to work on a bill that might pass.”
- “The Obama administration seems to be spending far more time warning of the consequences of the sequester — and blaming Republicans for it — than engaging in actual negotiations that would prevent it,” says ABC News.
- “The president hasn’t actually come up with a proposal to avert sequestration,” says David Brooks in the New York Times, “let alone one that is politically plausible.”
- “Tuesday's event had the feeling of a campaign commercial that went too far to be believed,” says the Los Angeles Times.
- Politico says calls to GOP leaders were “perfunctory,” meant to “inoculate” the president from criticism that he’s campaigning instead of urging Senate Democrats to follow the House and pass legislation replacing his sequester. Their headline asks, “Is President Obama overplaying sequester hand?”
Underlying all of this is the fact that the president’s budget is late (again) and his Democratic-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in nearly four years.
As Speaker Boehner wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week, “Mr. President, we agree that your sequester is bad policy. What spending are you willing to cut to replace it?” We’re still waiting to hear.