Now Dems worrying Obama may have "cried wolf" on Sequester
President Barack Obama hopes to spark a pitchfork revolt against Republicans over sequester-induced budget cuts — but many Democrats fret that he’s undermined that effort with an early strategy marred by hype, poor planning and muddled messaging.
The stakes in the sequester debate aren’t quite as high as they were during the debt ceiling battle of 2011, but Democratic veterans of the Obama-Republican wars of 2009 and 2010 are getting a creepy sense of déjà vu from a White House messaging shop they believe fumbled the rollouts of the stimulus and health care initiatives.
Over the past few days, Obama and his team have pulled back from a kick-off strategy that portrayed the $84 billion in automatic cuts this year as a parade of instant horrors — hellish waits at airports, a quick cascade of private job losses resulting from voided federal contracts, teachers immediately sacked.
That’s part of a “recalibration,” according to one Obama insider, intended to take the focus off the veracity of the administration’s claims — and back on congressional Republicans who have refused to give ground on new tax revenue demanded by Obama as a condition of any long-term budget deal.
“I think they probably went over the top in terms of saying that the consequences were going to be horrible, especially because it’s happened and the lines in the airports aren’t long, the world hasn’t changed overnight,” says former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, an on-again, off-again Obama critic who supports the broad outlines of Obama’s $4 trillion “grand bargain” proposal.
“Some of this is going to kick in eventually — government workers will be furloughed, contractors will lose their jobs, people will start feeling this for sure — but it will take some time … and it probably wasn’t the best strategic path for the White House to follow.” ...