As the sequester turns

President turns on the charm after cuts failed to scare the public

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Google it. The “mainstream” media are absolutely atwitter at President Obama’s “charm offensive” – meaning that he’s finally willing to talk to Republicans in private rather than just ranting about them in public.

Following months and months of refusing to negotiate cuts in federal spending, why is the president suddenly a supposedly changed man?

After cynically closing the White House to tours at the start of tourist season to save a mere $18,000 a week, perhaps President Obama felt both the public and the media were turning on him. The polls show it, with his approval ratings falling.

And his normally lapdog media haven’t blindly defended him as usual. Commentator Charles Krauthammer guessed that the media “could no longer cover for him without being entirely embarrassed.”

Maybe the president was seeing that his dire predictions about the automatic “sequestration” cuts in federal spending that went into effect March 1 haven’t properly frightened Americans into his arms:

“A plurality of Americans think federal spending cuts will have no effect at all on them or their families, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll,” McClatchy reports. In addition, “as many Americans think the cuts will have no effect or a positive effect on the overall economy as think the cuts will hurt the economy, the survey found.”

In the poll, 49 percent said the cuts would have no impact on them, and another 10 percent said the impact would even be positive.

Moreover, McClatchy writes, “Generally, voters by 53-37 (percent) prefer to reduce the deficits by mostly cutting government programs and services rather than mostly by raising taxes.”

In short, so far the president is losing the public relations battle, and is out of step on how to reduce the deficit. Closing the White House – and purposely
ruining the plans of tourists in the hope that they’d be more mad at Republicans than at the president – hasn’t done Mr. Obama any good.

It certainly won’t win the president any fans if he continues living it up in the process.

Unlike many, this editorial page has been loath to criticize the Obamas for their vacations. Granted, the trips have been a little unseemly in these tough financial times, and at times the Obamas vacation apart, raising the cost to taxpayers. But living in the fishbowl of the White House is good cause for an occasional getaway, as is the pressure of the presidency. We don’t begrudge them time off and time away.

In addition, at times criticism of the Obamas’ vacation spending has been a little disproportionate – leading some, no doubt, to wonder if the country’s first black family to occupy the White House is being singled out for enjoying the fruits of the land’s highest office.

But with the sequester, things have changed. Now would not be a good time for opulent getaways – even though it appears the pillows are being fluffed for another summer at Martha’s Vineyard.

Whatever they do now will and must be set against the president’s decision to furlough the seven tour staff at the White House – or, as Charles C.W. Cooke writes, the cost of Air Force One ($181,757 per hour); the executive chef ($100,000 per year); the three full-time White House calligraphers ($277,050 per year for the trio); and the chief of staff to the president’s dog ($102,000 per year).

As Cooke notes, “Transporting the president cost $346 million last year.” He couldn’t find $18,000 a week out of that budget? How about one less campaign trip, since the president is obviously term-limited?

Instead, the president appears to be choosing cost-cutting that hurts the public the most. Polls show maybe it’s not hurting enough, and now he has to actually negotiate with Republicans.

Future extravagances, in a time of budget cuts that seem aimed for their maximum impact on the public, will be all the more outrageous coming, as they would, after much populist rhetoric from this president about caring about the middle and lower classes.

Comments (13) Add comment
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Riverman1
90289
Points
Riverman1 03/14/13 - 04:57 am
8
1
Terminator 2

Democrats are stunned. It’s possible to cut spending without the earth’s magnetic poles reversing. Even if the CDC tried to play the blame game, we discovered thousands of children would not be left out of vaccination programs. Plagues have not run rampant over the country. I say we have a sequel to the sequester. Some said the movie, Terminator 2-Judgment Day, was better than the original. Let’s have a blockbuster sequel sequester and call it Terminator 2.

ymnbde
10358
Points
ymnbde 03/14/13 - 06:01 am
4
2
yet we still have NPR

surely ending that unnecessary expenditure won't cause the oceans to rise and grandma to die and the kids to go hungry...

carcraft
27812
Points
carcraft 03/14/13 - 04:17 pm
3
1
Riverman Maybe this this time

Riverman Maybe this this time we could scare the president and politicians by cutting their pay and perks! May be we could use some Yankee ingenuity and dog grooms and visitors willing to take ut the first dog and clean up the poop of the first dog got an autographed dog biscuit! It would beat paying some clown $100,000 /year!

nofanofobama
6856
Points
nofanofobama 03/14/13 - 08:13 am
7
2
heck--the other day obumler

heck--the other day obumler told stephanoplois that balance budgets dont matter.. 2008 he called bush out for his debt and said it was unpatriotatic to leave our children with a debt that could not be repaid.and that HE would make the hard spending choices to cut the deficit in half to eventually balance . HIS WORDS.... NOW approx 7 trillion more in debt i quess he dont care one iota about our children......our country is ruined as long as we have this campaigner n chief in office..last one out will not have to turn off the lights, we wont have any...

deestafford
30292
Points
deestafford 03/14/13 - 08:43 am
4
1
One should keep in mind what Obama's primary objective is

and he said it many times during his first campaign and acceptance speech: "I am going to fundementally change the United States." Nobody, including republicans and media, ever asked him what he meant by that promise. Many of us knew that he meant that the USA needed to be taken down a notch so that it would be equal to all other nations and to realize it was not "exceptional". He wants to have this country transformed into a European style socialist democracy where the ruling class decides what's best for the masses. Well, the dumbmasses voted for him not understanding what he is.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 03/14/13 - 09:55 am
0
0
Liars
Unpublished

are always out of step. obama is just the latest democratic version.

dichotomy
36141
Points
dichotomy 03/14/13 - 10:55 am
4
1
Obama is an evil man who is

Obama is an evil man who is very proficient at telling lies, blaming others, and wielding his power and position to punish anyone who opposes his blind ideology. And when he loses a fight, as he lost the sequestration issue, he will purposely, and needlessly, punish the American people in order to attempt to prove that he was right and the other side was wrong. We all know that cutting the INCEASED spending by 2% could be done with ZERO (0) impact. But Obama is determined to make it hurt somebody so he can assume his preacher cadence and lecture from the presidential pulpit. This is an evil, vindictive man. He got his tax increase and, as far as I'm concerned, that should be all he gets. He has publicly stated that he has no intention of moving toward a balanced budget so I am hoping that he is now officially a lame duck. "I will balance the budget in four years" was just another of his BIG LIES to get elected. "A balanced approach" was another re-election lie. Obamacare his turned out to be the financial disaster the Republicans told us it would be. Closing the White House tours to kids because of sequestration when he could pay for it all year by canceling one out of town overnight visit to play golf somewhere showed the height of Obama's vindictiveness and hypocrisy. Obama's armor is starting to tarnish and everyone, including the mainstream media, is starting to notice.

deestafford
30292
Points
deestafford 03/14/13 - 12:56 pm
3
1
dichotomy

What you are saying is 100% true. He had a chance to show leadership and concern for the American people by accepting the offer by Congress to give him leedway over where the cuts would come. He said he would veto any such legislation. He does not want anything laid at his feet that will stick to him and hold him accountible. He accepts no responsibilty for anything, always blaming someone else. Just look how he tried to shift the blame for the closing of White House tours on the Secret Service.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/14/13 - 01:07 pm
3
2
Sure wish the liberals who
Unpublished

Sure wish the liberals who have supported him all along could speak up and explain this....but maybe THEY TOO don't want to accept responsibility for voting for such a horrible President.

harley_52
25017
Points
harley_52 03/14/13 - 03:02 pm
2
1
" I say we have a sequel to the sequester. "

I wholeheartedly agree. Apparently, the only way these bozos will cut spending is to by legislating a process by which the cuts are pre-designated, automatic, and irreversible unless they can agree on managed cuts of the same magnitude.

It works. We just watched it work and we lived to type about it.

Let's do it again. And again.

And again.....

Darby
28323
Points
Darby 03/14/13 - 04:38 pm
3
1
"....the oceans to rise...

and grandma to die"
.
Not to worry, Grandma only dies when Paul Ryan dumps her over a cliff.

Darby
28323
Points
Darby 03/14/13 - 04:46 pm
3
1
"It’s possible to cut spending...

without the earth's magnetic poles reversing."
.
That may be true but I'm looking forward to seeing those poles reverse. I'm curious as to whether that would cause those of us living in the South to become Yankees.

I also support global warming, in that my current home value might increase if it becomes waterfront property.

None of which alters the fact that Obama couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it. Why should sequester be the exception to the rule?

KSL
139726
Points
KSL 03/14/13 - 04:58 pm
2
2
Again

Where are his AC posting defenders?

itsanotherday1
46795
Points
itsanotherday1 03/15/13 - 12:01 am
0
0
I still think y'all give

I still think y'all give Obama too much credit to assume he has ulterior motives.

He is a naive idealogue who wants to achieve Demoratic utopia; a chicken in every pot, the rich taken down a few notches to share the wealth in order to get those chickens, etc. He is doing no more than pushing FDR's social dream, and at the same time trying to be a leader on the world stage.

He is just an amatuer with good oratory skills and good handlers. No visionary by a long shot. Unfortunately, his charisma and oratory charm the uninformed and fellow idealists.

Darby
28323
Points
Darby 03/16/13 - 04:28 pm
1
0
"Unfortunately, his charisma....

and oratory charm the uninformed and fellow idealists."
.
Actually, his fellow idealists don't need to be charmed. They are pretty much along for the ride.

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