Sequester Damage More Evident, GOP Spins Off Into Conspiracy Theories

Now that the sequester cuts are starting to affect people the Republicans care about, they’re being forced to take notice.  But instead of reconsidering their approach, they’re finding ways to blame Obama.  Here’s Jonathan Cohn:

Turbulence Ahead

Flight delays are forcing Republicans to face the facts on sequestration

Denial, then anger. No, I’m not talking about the well-known stages of grief. I’m talking about the way conservatives are reacting to budget sequestration, now that its automatic cuts have hit the Federal Aviation Administration. The reaction says a lot about conservative values, their grasp of policy reality, or maybe both.

In an ideal world, this would shake Republican faith in sequestration as an acceptable budget policy. They’d start discussions about replacing it with some other deficit reduction plan—ideally, one that didn’t rely so exclusively on immediate and arbitrary spending cuts. This, of course, is not the way Republicans are reacting. Instead, they and their allies keep insisting that the delays are the result of Obama Administration deception and opportunism.

As a few of us have been saying, sequestration has already taken a toll on the American public, in ways that matter a lot more than extra minutes on the tarmac. People who depend on Head Start, or Meals on Wheels, or unemployment checks, or any number of other vital programs know the budget cuts are real—because they are already losing some of the protection and assistance that government once provided. But, as Steve Benen noted the other day, “congressional Republicans see these cuts as a ‘victory,’ so they’re inclined to leave them alone.” They can’t treat flight delays the same way, because delays are a big deal to business travelers. And Republicans care about business travelers.

I wish I could tell you this will all end well—that Republicans would rethink their position and start negotiating over a sequestration alternative. The next stage of grief, after all, is bargaining. But that would mean getting past denial and anger. The GOP seems in no rush to do that.