I don’t know that I really have too much more to say about this, but it deserves some notice:

Obama has repeatedly championed a set of government investments that he argues would expand the economy and strengthen the middle class, including bolstering early-childhood education, spending more on research and development, and upgrading the nation’s roads and railways. He has said his comfortable reelection victory in November shows the country is with him.

But none of those policies have come close to being enacted. Instead, after returning this weekend from a trip to the Middle East, Obama is set to sign a government funding measure that leaves in place the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration — a policy that undermines many of the goals he laid out during the 2012 campaign.

Obama thinks the cuts are, in his words, “dumb,” and he says they will slow the economy and harm priorities by cutting spending on education, research and development, and many other programs. Yet Obama now finds himself enacting a broad domestic policy that he doesn’t support and that he believes will harm the country.

The article contains some Obama-ites saying that the sequester is eventually going to go, but at this point they’ve not exactly proven very shrewd when talking about what Republicans will do. Seems clear that we’re stuck with the dumb cuts that everybody was sure wouldn’t happen, except for me, sort of. I thought they’d roll much of it back later this month, and they rolled some of it back, which puts me closer to what happened than most people.

Barack Obama is not a bad president, and has improved palpably in many ways since his early days in office. There have been many positive accomplishments over the past four-plus years. But deficits and budget politics continue to be the Administration’s Achilles heel. The fiscal cliff/sequestration battle smacked of self-assuredness in this area that wasn’t warranted, since ultimately the Republicans did the most predictable thing imaginable–obstruct and do nothing–which apparently came as a complete shock to them, an incredible admission of out-of-touchiness. Anyway, for whatever reason, the president would rather have the sequestration cuts than nothing, so the most likely scenarios are either a indefinitely-starved public sector or a permanently-shrunk welfare state. That 2012 victory was sure worth it.

You might imagine I’m sympathetic to this perspective:

“I think they brought it on themselves to the extent that they validated the deficit issue,” Mishel said. “It was always the case that the actual budget policy being pursued contradicted the rhetoric in the campaign. Now it’s even worse.”

I highly doubt Obama’s support was what legitimized deficits as an issue, you can’t put the myopia of D.C. entirely on him. And it’s not like all that pressure isn’t part of the context in which he has to operate. But, yeah, while it’s hardly incoherent to support both stimulus and long-term deficit reduction, or increased discretionary spending and entitlement cuts, it’s also unsurprising that this nuanced, complicated position has failed to jam up the STOP THE SPENDING!!! buzzsaw. I’d really hoped Obama had learned this after the debt ceiling crisis, but it’s now clear to me that he can’t learn and won’t learn when it comes to this issue.

(h/t Political Wire)

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  1. Metavirus says:

    … doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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