The White House is worried, and rightly so. People aren't buying President Obama's demagogic campaign of hysteria, mounted in advance his own across-the-board cuts last week. These "cuts" amount to just over two percent of the 2013 budget and don't even represent a net spending cut over FY 2012. Obama has been hop-scotching the country warning of imminent agony and doom if these reductions go into effect. Somehow, nearly a full week after the implementation date, the republic still endures. The Left's "worst case scenario" is coming to fruition, forcing an uneasy reconsideration of tactics:
President Barack Obama hopes to spark a pitchfork revolt against Republicans over sequester-induced budget cuts — but many Democrats fret that he’s undermined that effort with an early strategy marred by hype, poor planning and muddled messaging. The stakes in the sequester debate aren’t quite as high as they were during the debt ceiling battle of 2011, but Democratic veterans of the Obama-Republican wars of 2009 and 2010 are getting a creepy sense of déjà vu from a White House messaging shop they believe fumbled the rollouts of the stimulus and health care initiatives. Over the past few days, Obama and his team have pulled back from a kick-off strategy that portrayed the $84 billion in automatic cuts this year as a parade of instant horrors — hellish waits at airports, a quick cascade of private job losses resulting from voided federal contracts, teachers immediately sacked. That’s part of a “recalibration,” according to one Obama insider, intended to take the focus off the veracity of the administration’s claims — and back on congressional Republicans who have refused to give ground on new tax revenue demanded by Obama as a condition of any long-term budget deal.
So now they're "pulling back" from their Chicken Little act and "recalibrating" their message to "take the focus off" their false claims about their own plan, hoping to more effectively blame the other side. It's absolutely pitiful, but they have little choice. They've failed. Let's begin with the lies. Politico lists six demonstrably inaccurate statements and predictions the administration made about the sequester, each of which was deemed false by independent or left-leaning fact checkers. In an attempt to stir up fury at Republicans, the White House deliberately misled the public on teacher layoffs, pay cuts for Congressional janitors (twice), released criminals, and service cuts to children and seniors. In a Congressional hearing
today on Tuesday, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) absolutely tore the cover off of another administration-orchestrated scare tactic, which co-opted the CDC to suggest that kids would be denied important vaccinations as a result of the sequester. Amazing:
Caught red handed. The CDC, surely at the Obama political team's urging, attempted to scare people into worrying that sequestration would prevent vaccinations for their children. Harris exposed that Obama's own budget would have slashed the program in question by double the sequester level, yet the CDC had expressed confidence that vaccination services would have continued uninterrupted. They're lying to you in order to frighten you, America. One of the silliest manifestations of Obama's program of intentionally inflicting maximum pain on the populace is his decision to cut off White House tours for visiting tourists. You see, they just can't afford them anymore because of the Republicans, or whatever -- so tough luck, school children. Not only has Congress slapped back at this pathetic stunt by ostentatiously noting that Capitol tours will go on, the notion that the White House can't afford to conduct tours anymore is moronic. Read Allahpundit's post on this. He notes that it costs $180,000 per hour to operate Air Force One, the plane on which Obama has traveled thousands of miles to gin up fear and loathing over the sequester. One fewer campaign-style rally could have guaranteed funding for an enormous number of tours. Click through to see other potential, painless cuts that were passed up in favor of stickin' it to visiting kids to make a political point. Oh, here's another: Three official White House calligraphers (!) make a combined $277k (!!) per year. But by all means, let's shut down tours and go after first responders. This is as stupid as it is cynical and cruel. This is how fixated they are on political optics and maintaining their narrative. Shameful:
In the internal email, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official Charles Brown said he asked if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact, and he said he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of. “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be,” Mr. Brown, in the internal email, said his superiors told him.
They are deliberately hurting you, America, hoping that you'll blame the people they want you to blame. For now, it's backfiring. As Kate wrote earlier, ABC News' new poll shows that a large majority of Americans are supportive with the across-the-board federal cuts, which ABC inaccurately pegs at five percent -- more than double the actual number. What they really object to is the military cuts, which Republicans have repeatedly tried to defray, to no avail. ABC and CBS also have fresh stats demonstrating roughly an even distribution of blame across both sides of the aisle, with Obama's culpability increasing significantly. CNN notices that the president's final term is off to a rocky start, citing his "hyper-partisan" blame effort that has at times "obliterated the truth." (CNN scribe Tom Cohen better watch his back, lest he get Woodwarded). If there's anything that will grab the White House's attention, it's numbers like this:
Less than two months into his second term, President Barack Obama's approval rating has dropped and Americans blame him and his fellow Democrats almost as much as his Republican opponents for a fiscal mess. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Wednesday showed 43 percent of people approve of Obama's handling of his job, down 7 percentage points from February 19. Most of that steep drop came in the week to February 26 when it was becoming clear that Washington was going to be unable to put aside partisan differences and agree to halt automatic budget cuts which started last Friday. Confounding the White House's efforts to blame Republicans for the cuts, most respondents in the online survey hold both Democrats and Republicans responsible...Thirty-eight percent of Americans believe all the political actors involved - Republican and Democratic members of Congress along with Obama - deserve most of the blame for the cuts. Twenty-seven percent think Republicans in Congress are responsible, 17 percent blamed Obama and 6 percent thought Democrats were to blame. Nearly half of independent voters, 49 percent, said both sides deserve the blame.
Here's a thought: Stop lying, stop blaming, stop scaring, stop hurting, and do your job.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
Wyo., ND Governors To EPA: Hey, We Need More Time On Clean Power Plan Regulations Because You Totally ‘Blindsided’ Us | Matt Vespa
House Democrats Will Try To Dissolve Select Committee On Benghazi Tonight UPDATE: Voted Down, Committee Remains | Matt Vespa
Police Agencies Display 'In God We Trust' on Patrol Cars, Tell Critics to 'Go Fly a Kite' | Leah Barkoukis
Kasich: Maybe I'll Buy Bibles for Medicaid Expansion Critics, So They'll Care About the Poor | Guy Benson
Despite Video Investigation, 30 Percent of Americans Have ‘Very Favorable’ View of Planned Parenthood | Cortney O'Brien