David Brooks gets cynical:
… Politicians in both parties are secretly discovering that they love sequestration now. It allows them to do the dance moves they enjoy the most.
Democrats like the idea of a sequester (after all, it was their proposal back in 2011 that is coming due this week):
Democrats get to do the P.C. Shimmy. Traditional presidents go through a normal set of motions: They identify a problem. They come up with a proposal to address the problem. They try to convince the country that their proposal is the best approach.
Under the Permanent Campaign Shimmy, the president identifies a problem. Then he declines to come up with a proposal to address the problem. Then he comes up with a vague-but-politically-convenient concept that doesn’t address the problem (let’s raise taxes on the rich). Then he goes around the country blasting the opposition for not having as politically popular a concept. …
Republicans like it too:
Republicans also secretly love the sequester. It allows them to do their favorite dance move, the Suicide Stage Dive. …
In this dance, the Republicans mount the stage and roar that they are about to courageously cut spending. In this anthem they carefully emphasize cuts to programs the country sympathizes with, such as special education, while sparing programs that actually created the debt problem, like Medicare.
Then, when they have worked themselves up into a frenzy of self-admiration, they sprint across the stage and leap …
Brooks nails the Republicans and the sequester:
… Voters disdain the G.O.P. because they think Republicans are mindless antigovernment fanatics who can’t distinguish good government programs from bad ones. Sequestration is a fanatically mindless piece of legislation that can’t distinguish good government programs from bad ones.
And, oh yeah … don’t forget it was proposed by the Democrats.
It doesn’t matter much though, since no one in D.C. is getting to the heart of the problem:
… What’s America’s biggest problem right now? It is that business people think that government is so dysfunctional that they are afraid to invest and spur growth. So what are the parties going to do? They are going to prove that government is so dysfunctional that you’d be crazy to invest and spur growth.
From Brooks’ February 22 column in The New York Times, entitled “The D.C. Dubstep”.
FWIW: Someone leaned on Brooks after this column was published in print. Online there is a correction that sounds like an apology to the Obama administration.