Something odd happened a few months ago as I weighed the various aspects of the dreaded Sequester Monster, a creature vilified across party lines.
It is often true that if enough people in government say something is bad, there is a strong chance of redeeming qualities.
So my journey began. The only element of the sequester that bothered me in the least was military cuts. But my friends at the Institute for Policy Innovation properly observe that defense spending will not fall below 2007 levels, which were 75% above pre-9/11Pentagon budgets.
High enough for me? Of course not. I actually want to continue fighting wars against jihadists who will most assuredly continue to wage war on us. But alas, Barack Obama is President, and even if we manage to derail Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, we are not going to get Dick Cheney or John Bolton policies from this White House.
Future Congresses, hopefully peppered with a lot more Republicans, will be able to join with Obama’s GOP successor to fill in any holes that might be dug in the near term.
The conservative overreaction to the defense spending cuts distracted from the overwhelming truth of the sequester: It is the only way we are going to take the first serious steps toward spending reductions.
Can there be any doubt about this?
Democrats are never serious about real spending cuts. Republicans say they are, but too rarely show real willingness to act accordingly.
So the feared sequester, hatched in the Obama White House itself, ironically becomes the only path to real cuts.
The administration is shell-shocked. Obama and the Democrats cannot believe they have not been able to further roll the GOP into agreeing to tax increases without any assurance of spending reductions.
But this rigid, do-nothing, obstructionist Republican Party has done exactly what it should do when outflanked by a Democrat White House and Senate: it has stood its ground and refused to buckle under the pressure of bad ideas.
As such, the sequester deadline ticks ever closer. The beads of sweat on Democrat foreheads are all you need to know that something wonderful is about to happen.
I do not universally follow a flow chart that says if Obama dislikes it, it must be a good thing. But on fiscal matters, that process rarely fails.
Witness the proud first responders gathered behind him Tuesday at a White House photo-op. They were brought in to scare the daylights out of Americans who are supposed to recoil at spending cuts because it will mean slashed police and fire personnel, as well as diminished food safety, airport security and a host of other hazards.