February 22 2013
Peggy Noonan has captured the governing climate of Washington better than anybody else: “Government by Freakout.”
Noonan writes in today’s Wall Street Journal:
The president's sequester strategy is like Howard Beale in "Network": "Woe is us. . . . And woe is us! We're in a lot of trouble!"
It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout.
That's what's happening now with the daily sequester warnings. Seven hundred thousand children will be dropped from Head Start. Six hundred thousand women and children will be dropped from aid programs. Meat won't be inspected. Seven thousand TSA workers will be laid off, customs workers too, and air traffic controllers. Lines at airports will be impossible. The Navy will slow down the building of an aircraft carrier. Troop readiness will be disrupted, weapons programs slowed or stalled, civilian contractors stiffed, uniformed first responders cut back. Our nuclear deterrent will be indefinitely suspended. Ha, made that one up, but give them time.
Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together.
Noonan doesn’t think government by freakout will work longterm. It leaves a nation weary and—well—freaked out. But because the president wants what he wants--higher taxes on "the rich" (and others!)--and won't budge or negotiate with the GOP, this is our fate for the next few years. I also think that there is a frightening issue that Noonan doesn't address in the column: the president's ability to make the sequester, which is looking increasingly likely, as painful as possible. He will then blame the GOP.
Noonan also praises the much-maligned (by the president) congressional Republicans for doing what they can in the current atmosphere.