The Sequester Showdown

Michael Scherer wonders which party will win it:

Talking to Republicans and Democrats drafting strategy, there is a clear difference in morale. Republicans are fighting a battle they never wanted to be fighting, with little momentum, a smaller soap box and the most fragile unity within their own caucus. Obama and the Democrats, by contrast, feel ascendent, buttressed by high polls and a recent ballot box win, and are ready to mark what they will believe to be the next body blow to the Republican no-new-taxes-ever vision of shrink-the-beast governing. That said, nothing is certain, and eventually, whether it be four days, four months, or a couple years from now, someone will have to blink. Anyone still could.

Ambers lists reasons Republicans might let the sequester come into effect:

The sequester, many GOPers have come to believe, was Barack Obama’s idea. Therefore, since it was his idea, if it happens, Republicans will be able to blame him for its consequences. First, it appears that the GOP leadership jointly developed the idea in negotiation with the White House in order to force its own conference to accept a deal on the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011. (The PowerPoint presentation you’ve seen is a product of those negotiations, not an original idea of Speaker Boehner’s). Nevertheless, Congress approved it. The president signed it. And it’s a mess, really, that the public is not going to go back and investigate for themselves. The perception is that the GOP is to blame for it — and that’s kind of true. They played footsie with hot coals in the first place. But maybe, just maybe, public opinion will swing.

Bouie doubts opinion will move in the GOP’s favor:

Posturing aside, the GOP is not in a good position with the sequester. The public supports Obama’s push for a “balanced” approach of revenue and spending cuts, and is broadly dissatisfied with the GOP’s approach to governing. This narrative on the sequester might play will with Republican voters, but it does little to convince more moderate Americans, who just don’t trust that the GOP is acting in good faith.

For myself, I simply cannot see how a political party that has branded itself in favor of drastic spending cuts can somehow win a public debate in which they are now apparently opposing drastic spending cuts, and “blaming” them on Obama. And their branding means that the slow government shutdown we will almost certainly now face will surely stick more to them than to Obama. Who won when it came to this fight between Clinton and Gingrich? And Gingrich was far more politically strong then than Boehner is now.

That’s my best call. But the polling backs it up. We’ll see. But I sense a major meep meep moment in the near future.