Thursday, February 28, 2013

A White House Whose Skin is As Thin as A Condom!

We now have Kerry in the Middle East coddling Russia and Assad and thinking he can solve the Palestinian- Israeli issue with the snap of his fingers.. Hagel is now in the Pentagon promising he will learn as fast and as much as he can.  Brennan is waiting to be confirmed.  Dennis Rodman is in N Korea .  Jane was at the Oscars, Michelle was also an Oscar 'wiener.' Obama is out on the golf course and Bob Woodward is at war with the White House or is it the reverse?

Obama's White House appears  as thin skinned as a condom. but at least we can take comfort in the fact that Biden is minding the store.

What is really ironic is that I am reading the biography of Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley.

Cronkite was a flawed human, as we all are, but he was also the most trusted  TV reporter in the nation.  He graced the TV during a time when America was blessed with a number of other media and radio giants - Murrow, Mudd, Sevareid, Chung, Sawyer, Schieffer, Swayze et al.

Now we are blessed with  wimps like the reporter with the tingling leg, Barbara 'Wa Wa' who once was a respected and tough TV reporter and who has now sunk like the Titanic and then there is MSNBC and CNN.

When Cronkite was attacked by various White Houses, the media rallied to his defense because if Cronkite could be intimidated they all could.

Well here we are again.  Obama is now trying to worm his way out of the fact that he was the one who proposed the sequester concept and is now in a pickle. Obama first tried to spread  fear among the land and when he had his hand called he sicked a White House lieutenant on Woodward to try and intimidate him..

Woodward is too big, too respected  and too tough so he will come out on top and once again Obama will look like a petulant Chicago thug .(See 1 and 1a below.)

I keep repeating - POGO was right!
Off for DC so will not be in a position to do any memos and when I return am here for only one day and then off to celebrate our granddaughter, Dagny's, first birthday!
1)Woodward at war

Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about — and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half-hour,” Woodward told us in an hour long interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.
Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “ ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us

“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward continued in his calm, instantly recognizable voice. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years — or 10 years’ — experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”

UPDATE: The official Woodward is referencing is Gene Sperling, a top economic aide, as BuzzFeed reported last night and we confirmed. Sources tell us the White House might release the full exchange to show it was much more innocuous than Woodward suggests.

ANOTHER UPDATE. We have obtained the actual email exchange.

A White House official said: “Of course no threat was intended. As Mr. Woodward noted, the email from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation.”

Woodward — first in “The Price of Politics,” his best-seller on the failed quest for a grand budget bargain, and later with his opinion piece in the Post — makes plain that sequestration was an idea crafted by the White House. Obama personally approved the plan and later signed it into law. Woodward was right, several congressional officials involved in the talks told us.

And that contention has made Woodward, once Public Enemy No. 1 to a generation of Republicans, the unlikely darling of the right wing. Conservatives suddenly swoon over him, with his stepped-up appearances on Fox News and starring role in GOP press releases. And while White House officials are certainly within their rights to yell at any journalist, including Bob Woodward, this very public battle with a Washington legend has become a major distraction at a pivotal moment for the president.

The feud also feeds a larger narrative because, like many others, Woodward thinks this is a very thin-skinned White House that does not like being challenged on the facts. He said that explains the senior aide’s in-your-face email. “I think when they get their rear end in a crack here, they become defensive,” he said. “This could be a huge issue if the economy takes a hit. And people are going to go back and say exactly what happened and who did it and so forth.”

The Woodward reporting has caused the White House spin machine to sputter at a crucial time. The president was running around the country, campaign-style, warning that Republicans were at fault for the massive cuts set to hit Friday. What Obama never says: It was his own staff that proposed sequestration, and the tax hikes he now proposes — aimed at replacing half of the cuts — were never part of that very specific plan

The White House instead has, with great success, fudged the facts. The administration has convinced a majority of the country that Republicans are more to blame by emphasizing that Republicans voted for the plan. Which they did — after Obama conceived it.
The truth is that Obama and Republicans supported it because everyone believed it was a such a stupid idea that the grown-ups in Washington would never actually let it happen. They thought Obama and Congress would come up with a grand bargain on spending, entitlement cuts and tax increases, instead of allowing the sequestration ax to fall. They were wrong.
So the blame game is in full swing — and Woodward is smack in the middle of it. The Obama White House is out to discredit him. Behind the scenes, Obama allies are spreading word that the Woodward book broadly — and his reporting on sequestration specifically — are misleading because Republicans, especially House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, were so clearly among the chief sources.
It is no secret on Capitol Hill that Cantor and his staff cooperated extensively with Woodward. It is fairly obvious as you breeze through the opening chapters of the book. But we have talked with many Democrats and Republicans who cooperated with the book. And all of them say that while they might dispute some of the broader analytical points Woodward makes, the play-by-play is basically spot on.
David Plouffe, the longtime political adviser to Obama, taunted Woodward on Twitter shortly after this column was published. “Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again,” he tweeted. “Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.”
Watching and now having interviewed Woodward, it is easy to see why White House officials get worked up about him. He clearly is skeptical of Obama’s approach to the job. “I’m not sure he fully understands the power he has,” Woodward said. “He sees that the power is the public megaphone going around to these campaign-like events, which is real, but the audience he needs to deal with is on this issue of the sequester and these budget issues is John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.”
Woodward also said that based on his reporting for the book, Obama deserves more of the blame for scuttling the grand bargain of 2011 that would have put sequestration to rest long ago. “He changed the deal and it blew up,” Woodward said. “I mean, you look at the facts, and even by the White House accounts by his aides, he was making a last-minute change.”
Woodward thinks there is still a grand bargain to be had between Obama and Boehner, with tax reform as a huge component. “Sit down and work through this,” he said. “I can see exactly how you come up with a deal that would dispose of lots of things.” Woodward, who helped bring down one presidency and has written instant history on every one since, added: “Color me a little baffled. I don’t understand this White House. Do you?”

1a)Kerry and the 'peace process'
By Elliot Abrams

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This piece is reprinted with permission and can be found on Abrams' blog Pressure Points here.
There must be something in the water at the State Department that leads successive secretaries of state to decide, seemingly on their first day there, that now is the time for a big new push at a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Here we go again. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry intends to place the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the center of his diplomatic activities and to strive to achieve a breakthrough agreement between the two sides during President Obama’s second term in office, according to the assessment of well-placed sources in Washington and New York.”
Why? The article continues: “Nonetheless, the overall impression left by the discussions conducted in recent weeks by Kerry and his advisers with European, Israeli and Arab officials, as well as American Jewish leaders, is that the former Massachusetts senator is 'determined to the point of obsession,' as one skeptical interlocutor put it, to change the tone and direction of relations between Israel and the Palestinians during his term as secretary of state. 'He sees it as the holy mission of his life,' the source said. Kerry is convinced that his years of experience with the region and his deep personal relationships with many of its main protagonists, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, place him in a unique position to succeed where his predecessors have failed and to bring about not only a resumption of talks but a long-term agreement as well.”
Lest it be thought that this is the take solely of one Israeli newspaper, here is the Los Angeles Times' experienced correspondent Paul Richter: “As Kerry heads off Sunday on his debut trip as secretary of state to nine nations in Europe and the Middle East, his blunt exchange with Assad offers insight on his determination to use whatever it takes — even insults — to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, his personal passion. Kerry has made it clear he wants to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a long and sporadic process whose latest collapse occurred during Obama’s first term. He is well aware that failed attempts tarnished the reputations of elder statesmen and presidents for decades, including Obama. He is not deterred.”
Oh, boy.
Two things strike me about these reports. First, our new secretary of state does not appear to be operating from any new assessment of the situation received from State Department or other U.S. experts, nor from Israelis or Palestinians. He is entering the office certain of what can be achieved and certain he is the man to achieve it. This is not the best way to make policy.
Second, he seems unaware of, or anyway undeterred by, the risks and downsides. Raising hopes that are later dashed, opening negotiations that sadly go nowhere, holding ceremonial openings that never lead to tangible achievements — all of these undermine faith on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides that peace is achievable. American failures of any sort have the same effect, on those parties and others in the region. Moreover, the insistent (obsessive?) focus on breakthroughs and huge achievements leads too often to ignoring more practical, shorter-range, and achievable agreements that are sometimes derided as “small ball.” Better small ball than the swing for the fences that, time after time, ends the inning in a strikeout.
Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Government Free Lunches Cost! 7 Minutes Golfer Fatigue!

No way to predict the consequences of the disintegration of Syria but if history provides us clues it is not a positive.

As I have been reporting, the refugee flight is going to be very telling. (See 1 below.)
This from my English e mail  girl friend!  (See 2 below.)
Obama lives in his own universe.  

In a world where money provides the basis for commerce everything eventually is determined by economics, even morals are shaped by economics. Debase a currency and you will debase that society.

If allowed, Obama would spend himself into oblivion but the problem is he would take us with him. 

Not only is he a pathological liar but he is reckless.  Even government free lunches eventually come at a cost. (See 3 below.)
Think positive: Moving to Detroit:

On a flight getting ready to depart for Detroit, Bob was sitting on the plane when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear. "What's the matter?" Bob asked.

"I've been transferred to Detroit, there's crazy people there.   They've got lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public schools, and the highest crime rate."

Bob replied, "I've lived in Detroit all my life. It's not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your
own business, enroll your kids in a nice private school. It's as safe a place as anywhere in the world."

The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, "Oh, thank you.   I've been worried to death. But if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?"

"Me?" said Bob. "I'm a tail gunner on a Budweiser truck."
Seven minutes is a long time in a golfer's life! (See 4 below.)
President Demagogue is good when it comes to appealing to the emotions.  Most Republicans just do not message well. (See 5 below.)


1)Syrian Disintegration and "Druzia"
by Yisrael Ne'eman

Continuing turmoil in the Arab/Muslim World dwarfs any importance of the Israeli election results and whether the country has a "stable" government or not.  Israel's neighbors are either slowing sinking into a social and economic abyss such as Egypt or they are shattering - the Damascus regime being a case in point.  All of those discussions about a "negotiated end" to the crisis are na├»ve.  With over 70,000 confirmed deaths and close to a million reported refugees the facts on the ground are horrendous.

Syrian refugees are fleeing in every direction but for the moment not towards Israel (excepting a handful that arrived just recently).  With Jihadist rebel forces battling the pro-Iranian Assad regime along the Golan cease-fire line one cannot rule out a serious spillover into Israel.  The usually quiet frontier may erupt into cross border terror raids, refugee flight or worse.  The question is whether Israel can pre-empt.   On the international scene any military move would be condemned.  Paradoxically Israel is in the same situation as the Turkish government when relating to border security on Ankara's southern front.  There are differences however.  As Syria disintegrates one can expect the primordial ethnic groups making up the population to take the future into their own hands.  Last year in these columns such an idea was floated concerning the possibility of a mini-state of "Alawiyah," the mountainous northwest region where the ruling Alawite clique is dominant and controls the ports of Tartus and Latakiya. 

Southwest Syria including the eastern Golan and especially the region of Jabel Druze (just southeast of the Golan plateau) is inhabited mostly by the Druze population, who like the Alawites are a minority in Syria (3.5%) and are considered heretics by Islam.  In general the Druze support the secular Baath regime and are known for their loyalty, especially as concerns military service.  Such loyalty may collapse as the Sunni rebels get the upper hand.  Like the possible Alawite scenario the Druze, many of whom live in the larger city centers, could withdraw into their own enclave in southwest Syria and fully extend control along the border with Israel.  Call the new entity "Druzia" sort of akin to Alawiyah, just that here there will be a direct Israeli interest in its success and stability.  Israel can afford neither Jihadi nor Iranian backed forces such as Hezbollah on the Golan.  Much preferred is a neutral ethnic entity with an interest in self preservation.  This could provide a stabilizing element.  Such an idea was floated in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War and the seven years until the post Yom Kippur War disengagement agreement was signed in June 1974.  Since then for 38 years Israel had quiet on the Golan excepting for a few minor incidents.  

In 2012 the game changed.  There is no one to speak to in Damascus, nor anywhere else.  The Druze may find their existence threatened and their proximity to the Golan border could force a confluence of interests with Israel.  Let's recall that Israel also has a loyal Druze minority comprising somewhat over 1% of the population.  Those living in the Galilee are Israeli citizens while those in the Golan were offered citizenship in 1981 when Israel extended civilian law to the region, but the vast majority turned it down preferring to retain loyalty to the Syrian regime while considering themselves living under Israeli "occupation".  Such is the official reasoning.  More to the point is the fact that many Druze feared retaliation against their kin in Syria should they be seen as collaborating with the Jewish State.  Now that all are endangered such fears about Syrian relatives are irrelevant.  Recent events in Syria have brought requests for discussions with Israeli interior ministry officials – functionaries whose job is to deal with one's legal status including citizenship.  The said to be pro-Assad (at least declaratively) Golan Druze appear to be surveying possibilities for legal integration into Israeli society, following on the heels of economic development and social acceptance.   A logical step would be the consideration of how best to help the Syrian Druze to the east once Assad and the regime they support goes under.  Israel's interest in a buffer state or autonomous province is of paramount importance.  Prior to solidifying any direction the Syrian Druze need to be fully in favor of such a solution as it is a break with the Syrian State.  On the other hand Syria is breaking apart and the new Syria, quite possibly run by Jihadi elements will have little tolerance for Druze (or Alawite) heretics. 

Before an Assad downfall all is theory and the Syrian Druze leadership cannot be expected to fully engage in any discussions, however there is no reason not to check out future possibilities for keeping the border quiet.  The collapse of Syria's Baathist regime will certainly bring massive change, in particular concerning minorities.  Building ethnic enclaves with international support as a hedge against massacre may be their best bet at least in the short term.  In the Druze instance it will also serve Israel's need for stability.

Many analysts believe Syria ceased being a nation state entity over the past few months.  That means ethnicity and religion become overwhelming factors in loyalties.  This is a game breaker whereby several minority groups may begin behaving as semi-state actors.  We are speaking of the Alawites in the northwest, the Kurds in the northeast, tribal groupings in the east and most important as far as Israel is concerned, the Druze in the Syrian southwest.  The first have Russian (and Iranian) support, the Kurds generally have American sympathies as are found in Iraq and the Druze may shortly need a sponsor.  Obviously Israel cannot fit the bill even should there be joint interests. 

Going a step further to greater powers a Druze ethnic mini-state would reach out to the US, Europe or both leaving behind previous loyalties to the Assad regime.  Syria may be divided up faster than most imagine.

When you apply for
Welfare in Pakistan, China, Asia, or Arab countries,

what does that

Government give you?

Answer - 
A map of the UK!

Henninger: The Obamaian Universe

A place where everything revolves around the fixed planet of public spending.

It may be that we have to move beyond politics alone to explain events in Washington. We are in the fifth year of the Obama presidency, and Washington is still dead in the water. Four straight years in which the government of the United States of America fails to enact a budget is, well, amazing.
The sense is growing around Washington, and this increasingly includes Democrats, of living in an alternative universe. Barack Obama gives his State of the Union speech, the sequester looms, and the president flies around the country giving speeches. He's had virtually no contact on the sequester with the legislative branch. Now he's going to meet with them after the sequester happens. This is unusual. We need to look outside normal politics for explanations.
Mr. Obama likes to convey the impression that he doesn't think or do business like other presidents. It's time to take him at his word. If Washington is starting to look like an alternative universe, that's because the president is creating an alternative universe, the Obamaian Universe. (Obamaian is pronounced Oh-buh-mayan, as in the recently famous calendar.)
The Obama administration is trying to pull us back into what astronomers would call the pre-Copernican world. Copernicus' heliocentric system overthrew what was known as geocentrism—the belief that everything in the universe revolved around the earth. Beautiful maps exist depicting geocentrism.
Economic thinkers since at least the time of, well Copernicus, have understood that national well-being derived from private individuals going out into the private world to produce goods and trade goods, an activity that for centuries has created wealth for many nations. No longer. Mr. Obama and his circle divide the economy into separate parts. In the Obamaian universe, the units of the private economy—companies large or small—are satellites orbiting the great fixed planet of public spending. All material and economic life in the Obamaian model radiates outward from a central source of public spending. This is why spending in the Obama presidency abruptly jumped as high as 25% of GDP from a 40-year average of 20% of GDP.
In "Star Trek," as I recall, its genius creator Gene Roddenberry routinely made clear that people living in an alternative universe always needed a "life force" unique to their planet. Something that kept the people on the planet going, like a magical green ooze.
In the Obamaian universe, the life force is a fairly weird contraption known as the Keynesian Multiplier. As explained by its adherents, for every $1 of public spending, the whole economy will rise by $1.50 or even $2.
As life forces go, the Keynesian Multiplier would be really remarkable. Alas, Copernican economists such as Robert Barro have been asking repeatedly the past four years for the evidence that all this spending in Mr. Obama's public universe has been expanding the economy at this rate. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office just said that in 2013, which will be the fifth year of Obama budgets that spend about $3.5 trillion annually, the economy is only going to grow 1.4%.
For that, Mr. Obama has an answer: more spending, which would be made possible by ratcheting up the volume of revenue flowing into the spending machine via whatever cats-and-dogs tax increase he can get through Congress.
Maybe the Keynesian Multiplier, like green ooze, just doesn't work.
It doesn't matter. As with geocentrism, the president's pre-Copernican political economy is based in religious belief. This is why House Speaker John Boehner and so many others have never been able to get on the same page with the president about the upward slope of federal spending. He doesn't want to cut spending. He wants more of it. Forever. Public spending is beyond ideology for Barack Obama. It's the oxygen in his universe.
This explains Mr. Obama's End-of-Days speeches the past week. Rationalists around Washington's professional budgeting community have been trying to explain that this apocalypse is entirely avoidable. The bureaucracies can move spending under many shells. But Mr. Obama really believes the stars will fall from the sky if spending declines.
In Washington's standard model, it's all just politics. Mr. Obama is running an established strategy of driving public opinion to marginalize and ultimately defeat Republicans. Who could doubt it? But maybe it is also time to start taking Barack Obama at his word. Maybe it's time to come to grips with the fact that he sees the public economy of federal spending as the life force of the nation as no president ever has, not even Franklin Roosevelt.
If after all these years no one in Washington can cut a deal with Barack Obama on spending, taxes and economic growth, maybe it's because he is in a place indeed occupied by no one else.
4)Republican leaders’ sequester ‘meeting’ with Obama: Seven minutes
Never let it be said that President Obama has failed to spend time with Republican leaders in seeking an alternative to automatic budget cuts that are due to hit most federal departments Friday. On Wednesday, for example, the president gave GOP lawmakers as much as seven minutes, a rare face-to-face encounter that the White House described as a “meeting.”
The White House’s characterization of this momentary huddle at the Capitol as a meeting illuminates Mr. Obama’s strategy in dealing with Republicans on the budget cuts and other fiscal deadlines.

With speeches and other staged events, the president has tried to build public pressure for his agenda of tax increases coupled with spending cuts.

But he has made little time for negotiating directly with lawmakers who oppose his plans.
“It is a sincere conviction among Republicans that the president’s negotiating posture isn’t about getting a deal done, it’s a zero-sum political game where his aim is to destroy the Republican [House] majority in the next election,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who served in 2008 as Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign manager. “It’s certainly not an effective strategy for a leader in search of a deal.”

Since Mr. Obama’s contentious deficit-reduction talks with Republican leaders in 2011, which resulted in the “sequester” cuts set to take effect Friday, the president has been taking his case to the public on questions of taxation and spending.
Mr. Obama made his re-election campaign a referendum on his policies to aid the middle class and to force wealthier households to pay more, both for reducing deficits and for spending more on certain areas such as education, infrastructure and research.

Months before he won a second term in November, Mr. Obama predicted that his re-election would break the Republican “fever” that he viewed as the GOP’s knee-jerk opposition to his agenda. Since his victory Nov. 6, the president has been telling lawmakers who are fighting his efforts to raise taxes that elections have consequences.
His strategy worked in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations at the end of last year, resulting in a tax hike on households earning more than $450,000 per year and a temporary extension of the nation’s borrowing limit. There were few direct negotiating sessions with Republicans, the president preferring instead to call on the public to pressure GOP lawmakers into making a deal.
Now he is trying the same tactics, warning the public of airport delays, lax border security and thousands of teacher layoffs if the pending budget cuts take effect. He is trying to force Republicans to agree to ending tax breaks, mainly for wealthy individuals and corporations, that would raise as much as $580 billion.

“I’m not interested in playing a blame game,” Mr. Obama told shipyard workers in Newport News, Va., on Tuesday. “All I’m interested in is just solving problems. I want us to be able to look back five years from now, 10 years from now, and say we took care of our business and we put an end to some of these games that maybe, I guess, are entertaining for some but are hurting too many people.”

Said Republican strategist Whit Ayres, “The president is really good at campaigning and really bad at governing. So he’s doing what he’s good at.”

Mr. Schmidt said the president may have miscalculated that he can beat congressional Republicans with this strategy again because they conceded on tax increases two months ago.

“Republicans gave in on the higher tax rates on the revenue front, but that doesn’t mean a permanent acquiescence on these issues,” Mr. Schmidt said. “The president is beating Republicans in a public argument, but in fact Republicans are highly likely to retain the [House] majority because of demographics and where the competitive races are. If you’re lurching from crisis to crisis, people eventually get numb to it. There’s a ‘boy who cried wolf’ quality to it.”
The president’s effort to blame Republicans for the sequester is particularly galling to lawmakers who remember how it came about in the summer of 2011. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, gave a brief history of the episode Tuesday on the Senate floor.

“I was less than 100 yards from this very spot when Vice President Biden called me at my desk to lay it out,” Mr. McConnell recalled. “He explained the sequester in exquisite detail, and then, as has been reported, the administration stubbornly stuck by those details throughout the negotiations, refusing any effort by Republicans to adjust its design in any way.”
Since the fiscal cliff negotiations ended Jan. 1, Mr. McConnell’s aides say the president did not reach out to him on the sequesters until making a phone call last week. The two men didn’t have any personal encounters until Wednesday at the Capitol.

Mr. Obama’s motorcade arrived at the Capitol at 10:57 a.m. for the dedication of a statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. The ceremony began at 11:04 a.m. Somewhere in between, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, the president held a “brief meeting” on the budget cuts with Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and Mr. McConnell.
Pressed by reporters about the substance of a meeting that lasted less time than the average person’s morning shower, Mr. Carney conceded that the president mainly discussed his “anticipation” of a Friday meeting at the White House with congressional leaders.

That session, widely perceived as a photo opportunity, will be held on the same day that the budget cuts are to begin taking effect.


5)Better Republican Communication Needed

"First you win the argument -- then you win the vote," is the now well-known quote from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. President Ronald Reagan was the last Republican president who understood and used that strategy.
President Barack Obama and his team also understand the phrase and are using it to their advantage. They are making a full-court press in the public arena to lay out their argument against sequestration and for more taxes.
"In a few days," Obama said this week in Virginia, "Congress might allow a series of immediate, painful, arbitrary budget cuts to take place -- known in Washington as the sequester. ... What the sequester does is it uses a meat-cleaver approach to gut critical investments in things like education and national security and lifesaving medical research."
He laid out his argument: "These cuts are wrong. They're not smart. They're not fair. They're a self-inflicted wound that doesn't have to happen."
Regardless of whether you agree with Obama's points, his appeal is emotional and attempts to line up Congress against the American people. While his argument might not be technically true, it is a compelling construct and provides clear delineation between those whom he says he supports (the American people) and those whom he says he opposes (members of Congress who refuse to yield to his tax plans).
In contrast, the Republicans communicate with facts, figures and constructs that are not as emotionally compelling.
"The House has done its work," said Speaker Boehner this week. "It's time for the president and Senate Democrats to do their work. They've known for 16 months that this date was coming -- that's why the House acted twice last year -- and yet Senate Democrats and the president never passed anything. It's time for them to do their work."
"The president got his tax hikes in January," he continued. "The federal government will have more revenue this year than any year in our history. It's time (to) tackle spending. Period."
His argument pits the president and the Democratic Senate against the Republican House, instead of against the American people, whom they are ultimately hurting. While his numbers and facts are correct, they are not communicated in a way that is emotionally connecting and memorable.
Phil Gramm, a former Texas Republican congressman and senator, authored an article for the American Enterprise Institute. "Even after the sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year, and 30 percent more than it spent in 2007. Government spending on nondefense discretionary programs will be 19.2 percent higher, and spending on defense will be 13.8 percent higher than it was in 2007."
"The actual cuts that will occur in 2013 will be $44 billion. That is a mere 1.2 percent of total federal spending this year."
All factually correct, and might lead one to conclude that the sequester makes sense -- but, again -- the communication carries no emotional appeal and does not connect to the average American, nor does it clearly distinguish good from bad.
If the Republicans want to win the argument and the vote, they will have to communicate with more than facts and figures. Communication must win over the hearts and minds of the voters, and set the president as the adversary of the American people.
As a straw man.
As families around the country sit down at their kitchen tables to figure out how to do more with less, the Obama administration can't decide how to do more with more. Instead, they say they need even more, while you have less. That's not fair. Our government is funded by your money, your taxes -- resources that the administration is furiously and frivolously spending.
Since his re-election, Obama already has pocketed a $618 billion tax hike. But that, apparently, is not enough -- he wants to take more to spend more.
The Republicans understand that every tax dollar comes from the American public. We understand that before we ask the American public for more, the government has to make sure it's spending and investing your money wisely. Right now, that can't be said.
We won't ask for more of your money until we know that it's not being wasted. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has decided it's better to inflict pain on average Americans for political gain rather than to make the kind of decisions that real American families must make every day: How do we best and most wisely spend the money we have?