He will divide, isolate and defeat Republicans using all the powers of his office and all his skills as a political campaigner. As Americans grow frustrated with the cuts, Republicans will reject their party’s no-tax mantra and demand that Congress end the standoff, even if it means raising some new revenue – just the way Obama is demanding.
Obama’s trying to speed this result, by releasing state by state details of the pain and suffering the sequester will cause, all meant to get Republicans to cave. And he’s got the biggest megaphone, hammering this message over and over in a way the divided Republican party cannot.
Except that message could cut both ways. What if the public agrees that yes, there is a lot of pain and suffering – and turns to Obama wondering, why didn’t you do more to prevent it? That’s what makes some Democrats nervous about the White House’s supreme level of confidence.
Democratic lawmakers, who are unclear about the end game, could succumb to the same public offensive that Obama has been ginning up against Republicans and start demanding that the White House cut its losses and move on to other important second-term initiatives. A GOP proposal to give flexibility to the agency heads on deciding how to administer the cuts could start looking attractive to Democrats as a way out.
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