Cutting Through The Crap

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sequestration



On my cardiac surgery rotations in training days, a prof used to like to ask interns for a list of reasons for seeing unoxygenated blood in the heart when on total cardiopulmonary bypass. To my surprise, I came up with one of the more obscure ones, pulmonary sequestration. I remembered that gem as I thought about writing concerning the upcoming "sequester." There's no relation, other than the fact, I guess, that things are about to get bloody.

It's the perfect symbol of everything that's wrong with our politics. Having been a bargaining chip proposed originally by President Obama as a way to get Rs to agree to be half-way reasonable, it was approved by a majority of Rs at the time. It was, in fact, lauded by none other than the teabaggRs monetary mandarin, Paul Ryan, who, naturally, is now furiously trying to weasel out of his words from back then. [Added: John Boehner himself thought the idea was peachy at the time, too.]

Rs, usually pretty good at coming up with Orwellian wordplay to disguise their real intentions, have tried again, pretty pathetically, calling the imminent sequester "the Obamaquester." If that isn't a sign that they've just about run out the string, I don't know what is. 

But if the newspeak is atypically laughable considering their previous efforts, like "clean skies" and "patriot act," the intent is par for the discourse. Rs are happy to wreck the economy and will do everything they can to pretend it's Obama's fault. And, if recent history tells us anything, Fox "news" and the usual RWS™will beat it into the heads of their gullible and frightened teabagging listeners, convincing them easy as pie.

All revenue is off the table, say Boehner and McConnell. Having previously agreed to a tiny fraction of it, in terms of total deficit reduction, they've closed the door on anything more, not even the "loophole" closures sung so strongly by The Rominee and his boy wonder; while Obama and Ds continue to be open to further spending cuts. But not, so they say, at the price of our future. I can only surmise that, somehow, Rs are convinced that if they succeed in stopping the recovery and causing another recession they'll be able to turn that into votes in 2014. And I suppose they're right, assuming they manage successfully to shift the blame to our president. 

Can they pull that off? They'll have to come up with something more Lunzian than "Obamaquester," that's for damn sure. On the other hand, teabaggers will buy in no matter what. People that can send a despicable McCarthyite like Ted Cruz to Washington will believe anything.

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