Republicans can mess this up, of course, by creating confusion about their own position. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, House Speaker John Boehner makes a confused argument that cutting is "ugly and dangerous." Does any fiscal conservative really believe that carving out $44 billion of a $3.8 trillion budget is dangerous? And Sen. John McCain argues that sequester would be a "devastating" blow to America's security. As a political matter, a willingness to slightly reduce spending across the board could only add credibility to the GOP's argument on spending. If cutting $500 billion from the Pentagon budget over a decade means ruin, hey, we're already ruined.
No, the ham-fisted sequester cuts would not be the optimal way to trim spending, but it's the best available plan -- the only plan, really. If there are ways to prioritize these reductions that make more sense, Republicans should join that conversation. If Democrats would rather reform entitlement programs, that's an even more productive discussion. But it's unlikely. Sequestration is likely the best opportunity to slow spending growth that conservatives are going to see over the next four years.
So just thank the president for his superb work, and move on.
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