John Boehner claims that Republicans aren't afraid of the sequestration, which includes major defense cuts. Chait wonders whether the Speaker will lose his nerve:

Boehner is asserting that Republicans don’t actually care that much about cutting defense — that replacing the sequester is something Democrats want. Just because Boehner says this doesn’t make it true. He may be holding his defense hawks in line publicly, but the question is whether he can keep them in line as the negotiations proceed and the prospect of implementing the cuts grows more real.

I'd be fine with the sequester precisely because of its focus on defense. But it needs to be adjusted to be less crude – and the relevant government agencies need more flexibility in timing and arranging the cuts. What strikes me is that Boehner may be realizing that he does not have the popular support for cutting Medicare as he wants and that the sequester may be the only politically feasible way of doing it. Especially if Obama proposes major tax reform to come up with revenues to slow the cuts in Medicare.

Meep meep.