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Alexis Simendinger’s article about President Obama’s mishandling of sequestration highlights something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s part of what Ms. Simendinger wrote:

Amid a terrorism investigation, plus assertions that the federal government should have inspected a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, before it caught fire and exploded, the president becomes the government’s go-to manager.

When the Veterans Administration became mired in a backlog of disability claims, the public unease migrated to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. When the Department of Health and Human Services missed deadlines to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the president was held to account by supporters and detractors of the law.

And this week, misgivings about the FBI’s 2011 investigation (at Russia’s request) into the suspected radical leanings of deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev earned a second look on Capitol Hill. Concerns that the FBI had stumbled over what might have been important terrorism information prompted private briefings for lawmakers and a written statement of support for the FBI from the president.

President Obama thought that his allies in the media would help him criticize Republicans for the difficulties that sequestration would cause. Thus far, Republicans have done a fantastic job highlighting the cuts that could get made that President Obama won’t agree to.

Things like conventions costing $750,000 or more and tens of billions of dollars of duplicative programs (per year) have hurt President Obama in the public’s eyes. Another thing that’s happened as a result of the Republicans’ messaging is that more people than ever are familiar with ‘the Washington Monument Strategy’. That’s where a president closes a high-profile destination, whether it’s the Washington Monument, major national parks or, in this instance, White House tours. In this instance, that also includes furloughed air traffic controllers.

They’re included because the furloughed air traffic controllers are causing flight delays. People, especially business travellers, can’t stand long delays. They’re criticizing President Obama for the delays, not House Republicans.

As a direct result of sequestration, with a special nod to his constant campaigning rather than governing, people are questioning President Obama’s ability to govern. That’s what started President Bush’s steep decline in the polls after Katrina.

Thanks to President Obama’s campaigning-rather-than-governing M.O., President Obama has opened himself up to be disinterested in governing. When unemployment is high,wages are stagnant and government isn’t functioning, presidents can’t afford to look disinterested in governing.

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2 Responses to “Sequestration is Obama’s Katrina”

  • Speed Gibson says:

    What’s almost amazing is how the press is treating sequestration as the new normal. Coverage has been minimal. No probing the “Washington Monument” strategy on the left, no blaming the right. Coverage could be more accurate (cut in growth, not actual spending e.g.) I suppose, but I think the public might actually understand what’s happening – and be OK with it. Interesting situation.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Fair points, Speed.

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