Loaves and Fishes

There’s a clever loaves and fishes trick going on with today’s major anti-GOP narrative. It begins with a sequester story Politico published last night. The story opens with the splashy claim, “Republicans open to letting billions in sequester cuts go through figure they can blame the president if the economy goes south.”

Notice they don’t say how many Republicans are thinking this way. And after a long recounting of a DCCC press release we finally get to some Republicans who argue something quite different:

“Too often, some in Washington underestimate the knowledge base of the
voters,” Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the National
Republican Congressional Committee, told POLITICO. “And from a Republican perspective, it’s a base that believes much more
needs to be done to reduce the size and scope of the federal government
because we can’t continue to borrow 43 cents on the dollar and survive.”

These Republicans aren’t thinking about blaming anyone, they’re thinking about taking credit. So where are the blame-Obama Republicans we were promised in the lede? You have to read to the very end of the 3-page piece to get to this:

If voters are looking to pin the blame on anyone, several Republicans
said Obama and the Senate Democrats should face the consequences for
not agreeing to legislation passed by the House that could have already
turned sequestration off.

“If you’re looking for somebody who will take it hard, I think it’s
the president, because he said during the campaign, ‘Nah, it’s not going
to happen,'” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said.

Notice we’re talking about “several Republicans.” Of those, precisely one Republican is quoted and named. And all he is saying is that if voters are in a blamey mood some of that should fall on the President for his blasé attitude about sequester.

Meanwhile at the Washington Post Greg Sargent writes “Politico details this morning that many Republicans are holding to this position because they believe that they can blame Obama for the sequester.” [Emphasis added] Where did many come from? Politico’s story doesn’t back up its own lede, much less Sargent’s amplification of it.