Back in February, Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, promoted the White House's allegedly draconian budget cuts in The New York Times.
Saying Obama was going to cut the 2012 budget to the bone, Lew droned on about the "difficult" cuts to "important" programs and the "many tough choices and deep cuts" in the proposed budget.
All told, the White House's brutal, Depression-era austerity plan would have snipped a couple of billion from our multi-trillion dollar federal budget.
When the Republicans proposed that, instead of cutting a few billion, the government chop $60 billion from the budget, Democrats went ballistic. They said it was madness. Republicans were proposing to bring back the miserly federal budget of 2008!
You heard me right: Those lunatics were going to roll back the federal spending clock ... almost three years!
You remember the hellish, "Lord of the Flies" days of 2008 when veterans hospitals were shuttered, Social Security checks ceased to be delivered, our military was stripped of ammunition, national parks were closed and stoplights went dark.
Wait, no -- none of that happened.
But Democrats control the Senate and the White House, and the media were gearing up to blame Republicans for any government shutdown.
The Republicans seemed to be cornered. Between their $60 billion in cuts and the Democrats' proposed cuts of a few billion, it looked as if Democrats were going to succeed in putting the country on a high-speed bullet train to Zimbabwe.
And then, totally by accident, Republicans stumbled onto the Democrats' Achilles heel. Among their specific defunding proposals, Republicans had suggested taking mere peanuts away from Planned Parenthood.
The Democrats responded: NO! WE'LL CUT 40 BILLION! JUST DON'T TOUCH PLANNED PARENTHOOD!
All the Republicans had to do was threaten to cut federal funding for abortion, and they won $40 billion in spending cuts overnight.
I don't think Republicans did it deliberately. I'm pretty sure they just wanted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. But, holy cow, did they find the Democrats' weak spot!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened to shut down the government to save abortions in the District of Columbia. Reid, who is known as a "pro-life Democrat," said cutting Planned Parenthood's funding was the "one issue" on which he would not budge.
Comedy Central's allegedly serious Catholic, Stephen Colbert, spent a week ridiculing Sen. Jon Kyl's response to Reid for saying Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with abortion, but mostly provided things like cholesterol screening.