- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Were you planning to go to the United States Air Force’s Rhythm In Blue Jazz Ensemble concert at Liberty High School last Saturday? Too bad if you were. It was canceled, and that had nothing to do with lack of public support. Rhythm In Blue’s performances are so popular that more than 500 people turned out to hear them when they came to Bedford last year. This performance, as well as the rest of the performances in Rhythm In Blue’s spring tour, were canceled due to the sequester.
The sequester, which went into effect March 1, is the result of a deal that raised America’s national debt limit back in 2011. The deal called for a set of automatic cuts in discretionary spending — spending that Congress must reauthorize each year — if a deal to cut the federal deficits by other means wasn’t reached. This year’s sequester cuts amount to $85 billion.
Another victim of the sequester are White House tours for elementary school children, sponsored by members of Congress. The tours have been canceled as a cost cutting measure.
Actually, both of these are not so much victims of the sequester as they are victims of President Barack Obama’s pettiness.
President Obama has a problem. After apocalyptic warnings in the days leading up to the sequester, he has had to backpedal. That’s because he failed to bully Congressional Republicans into agreeing to another major tax increase, right after agreeing to one as part of the “fiscal cliff “ deal, as part of a budget agreement to avoid the automatic cuts. The deadline passed and the world, as we know it, did not end on March 1. The general public didn’t go into a panic and besiege Republicans with demands to give in.
That’s why he’s now resorting to such measures as canceling jazz concerts and taking White House tours away from children. He wants to make sure that as many of us as possible feel the pain. As the nation’s chief executive, President Obama has a lot of discretion in implementing the sequester cuts and he’s going to implement them in ways that negatively impact as many Americans as possible. Look for him to do more such things as the sequester progresses to make sure the cuts hurt people.
The idea remains to get members of the public who live in areas represented by Republicans, to pressure their congressmen and senators into giving President Obama what he wants.
Meanwhile, he’s using Organizing for Action, the followup to his reelection campaign, to stir up fear. Organizing for Action has an extensive database of e-mail addresses for Obama supporters and I’ve read that they sent out an e-mail blast, early this month, warning of all sorts of dire consequences from the sequester.
This, however, went out to people who are already marching to his tune and it won’t accomplish all of what he wants to accomplish. The folks on this list voted for him, and probably voted for “Democrats” in the last election. He needs to find ways to upset the people who voted for Republicans and who live in areas represented by Republicans. If voters like that start feeling a negative impact from the sequester, then they’ll start putting pressure on their GOP representatives to give in to President Obama’s demands.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that, along with dropping his rhetoric of looming catastrophe, he’s also eased off on his Republican bashing. This isn’t because he’s suddenly seen the light of bipartisanship. It’s because it wasn’t working, Republicans are standing their ground and he has seen his poll numbers erode. With this president, everything is about partisan political gamesmanship.
His ultimate goal is not to bring the deficit under control but to bring the House of Representatives back into his party’s control.