Obama Flails as Republicans Stand Firm
They’re flailing. That’s the impression I get from watching Barack Obama and his White House over the past week. Things haven’t gone as they expected. The House Republicans were supposed to cave in on the sequester, as they did on the fiscal cliff at the beginning of the year. They would be so desperate to avoid the sequester’s mandatory defense cuts, the theory went, that they would agree to higher taxes (through closing loopholes) on high earners.
But the Republicans didn’t deal. They decided to take the sequester cuts and make them the basis for a continuing resolution funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Obama responded by threatening all sorts of dire consequences — Head Start kids left out in the snow, airline security lines as far as the eye can see. Republicans would take the blame, the Obama folks believed. Polls showed they were far less popular than the president. Then on Tuesday it was announced that White House tours were cancelled. The sequester meant there wasn’t enough money to host those high school kids from Waverly, Iowa.
Suddenly, it became apparent that it was Obama’s poll numbers that were falling. Not to the level of congressional Republicans’ admittedly dreadful numbers. But enough that the Quinnipiac poll — whose 2012 numbers tilted a bit toward Democrats — showed him with only 45 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval.