During yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, who wrote the book "The Price of Politics" on how Obama handled the debt-ceiling fiasco in 2011, explained again to his media colleagues that it was a White House initiative to use a hatchet with these budgetary matters in the form of sequestration.
When Fox host Chris Wallace suggested the news media would highlight every spending-cut casualty expected from sequestration, liberal analyst Juan Williams agreed: "I think the news media will play into that at every level." Wallace asked Woodward to repeat his reporting:
CHRIS WALLACE: Bob, as the man who literally wrote the book about the budget battle, put this to rest. Whose idea was this sequester, and did you ever think that we would actually get to this point?
BOB WOODWARD: First, it was the White House. It was Obama, and Jack Lew and Rob Nabors who went to the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, and said this is the solution. But everyone has their fingerprints on this. And it is everyone's -- it is the policy and it is law. What is important about it is, it is a governing travesty. The idea that you are going to go around and in random ways just cut things. It would be like a family that has to cut their budget saying let's cut the medicine that keeps the children alive. It's stupid.
Wallace also pointed out the programs, like Head Start, will be targeted by these cuts. Food safety inspectors will be in the crosshairs as well. Then the news media are going to make every effort to make sure the point is carried across.
WALLACE: The White House has already put out – There’s going to be kids – thousands of kids thrown out of Head Start. We won't have food safety inspectors to make sure our food is safe. You know all kinds of dire things. Small business won't get any kind of loan guarantees. They are saying we will make it hurt.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, and I think the news media will play into that at every level. But I think the big ticket here is you are cutting jobs and millions of jobs around the country and you are damaging the economy. So stupid as Bob said is a good word for it.
It is a hatchet to the economy when the economic recovery, no matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, by everybody’s estimates, is in a fragile state. So, that doesn’t make sense. Now, the president says you know what look back to the negotiations he was having with Speaker Boehner. He says a lot of the proposals are still on the table. We can get back to those – let’s have a three month delay – let’s kick the can down the road a little farther and let’s make it– let’s avoid the sequestration.
Then again, Williams seemed to have zoned out during the beginning of the second part of the panel discussion when he took offense to fellow panelists, like Karl Rove, for suggesting that this is the “president’s sequester.” Rove responded by saying he can call it that because he read Woodward’s book. While Woodward acknowledged that “they [politicians in D.C.] really don’t want to talk about the origins of the sequester now.”
It should be noted that while some on the left may like the cuts to defense, it’ll hurt Democratic congressional districts more than Republican ones. As Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek wrote on February 14:
...a new study out [last] Thursday morning from Bloomberg Government (subscription only) does quite a bit to upend that logic. The study shows that Democratic congressional districts will be harder hit by the military cuts than Republican ones, and that eight of the top 10 districts that will experience the deepest cuts are represented by Democrats. Robert Levinson, the Bloomberg Government defense analyst who conducted the study, found that “Democrats won 47 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives in the 2012 election, but 58 percent of the military’s fiscal 2012 prime contract spending went to companies performing work in those districts.” Among the top districts, military spending in those represented by Democrats averaged $893 million this year, vs. $573 million in those represented by Republicans.