Thursday, February 21, 2013

Villager is right but quickly goes wrong


John Avlon made a great catch over at The Daily Beast, The PowerPoint That Proves It's Not Obama's Sequester After All. And then he went all wrong, but first let's discuss what he got right. This has been driving me crazy the last week or so. All the Republicans have grabbed on to this talking point and they aren't letting go of, "The Sequester was all Obama's idea!" Yet again we have an example of the Republican Party en masse acting like a bunch of first graders.

Avlon goes on to provide a slide from a John Boehner presentation that completely lays out how the Sequester will work. "Sets up a new sequestration process to cut spending across-the-board—and ensure that any debt limit increase is met with greater spending cuts—IF Joint Committee fails to achieve at least $1.2T in deficit reduction." Boehner, of course, has countered that this doesn't make it his plan; he was just reporting what the president was forcing him to do. It's all a bunch of garbage. If the Republicans had not held the country hostage via the Debt Ceiling there would have been no Sequester. Regardless, everyone voted for it, so it is everyone's decision. Claiming that Obama made them do it is ridiculous on its face; Boehner got 98% of what he wanted but Obama made him?

All of this is fine, but then Avlon dives head first into some good old fashioned false equivalence:

Today we see some of the same hyperpartisan fantasies dominating the debate, the idea that waiting just one more election will allow one party to impose its will and avoid any concessions that could anger the base. So Republicans say the problem is only spending—but then in the next breath decry the deep defense cuts that are scheduled to make up half the sequester and pass a bill that would simply exempt their given interests from pain. Liberal Democrats attack the Bowles-Simpson commission, which offered new details on Tuesday as an alternative to sequestration, as a capitulation to Republican priorities and imagine they will retake the House in 2014. 
Like a junkie begging for just one more fix before they get straight, these politicos keep begging for one more election before they face facts. Math isn't partisan. Our current levels of debt are unsustainable. They can't be solved by simply cutting or taxing our way out of the hole. 

This is Very Serious Villager crap. Yeah, Bowles-Simpson offered an alternative to sequestration: one that was heavily tilted toward the Republicans. But it's just "Liberal Democrats" who were against that. And that means both sides are equally at fault! The left flank of the Democratic Party is as unreasonable as the entire Republican Party. See: they're both equally wrong!

And then we get this nonsensical Joe Scarborough line about the unsustainable debt. Then he adds that we can't just cut or tax our way out of said mythical hole. The fact that this is the Obama administration's position doesn't change the fact that both sides do it!

After all of this, I see now why Avlon made such a big deal of correcting the Republican line about Obama being solely responsible for the Sequester: it can't be just Obama; it always has to be half and half, regardless of the facts. And that means that sometimes idiot Villagers are right. But they don't stay that way for long.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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