Obama’s Inexplicable Failure to Explain and Clarify What the Sequester IS–and What the Respective Sides Want to Replace It WITH.

This is the political atmosphere within which the battle will unfold over who is to blame for the damage done by the sequester. Now, in fairness, Republicans are favored on the deficit and controlling government spending. But even here, when you drill down deeper, you find that fifty two percent say the automatic across the board cuts to the budget are a bad idea; only 21 percent say they’re a good idea. Republicans will take solace from the finding that a plurality wants the sequester replaced by a plan with “more cuts.” But the poll question doesn’t inform respondents of the option of replacing the sequester cuts in part with eliminating tax breaks enjoyed by the rich and corporations, an oversight that casts doubt on the value of this finding. Many surveys that accurately poll the two parties’ positions on curbing the deficit — cuts only versus a mix of cuts and new revenues — show a solid advantage for the Dem position.

– Greg Sargent, Washington Post, discussing a newly released NBC/WSJ poll, this morning

The poll’s failure to inform respondents of the option of replacing the sequester cuts in part with eliminating tax breaks enjoyed by the rich and corporations, and asking only about the Republicans’ replacement proposals, and doing so entirely generically, is … dismaying.  

But it would be so very, very easy for Obama to explain, in specifics, what that pollster couldn’t trouble itself to do, even slightly. After all, Boehner keeps proudly advertising the fact that the House twice passed a replacement bill late last year–although, of course, he doesn’t advertise the specifics; i.e., that the bill replaces all of the defense cuts with a gutting of virtually every other “discretionary spending” program and operation.  I.e., the bill replaces the sequester’s spending cuts with … much deeper spending cuts to almost everything except defense. All Obama has to do is tell the public this.

Does the public really want to replace the sequester’s cuts with “more cuts”?  Probably not, but when the sequester is incessantly billed as very bad, and the argument is that it should be replaced, and the only replacement option seemingly offered–at least by this pollster–is “more cuts,” generically speaking, of course, well, then, why yes! They want “more cuts”! Who wouldn’t?! (A majority of the people who actually understand what this is about, and what the respective options are, probably.)

This is truly nonsense.  NBC and the WSJ might consider hiring a different polling organization next time.  But Obama might consider actually explaining the situation to the public.  The entire public–not just the public at a Virginia military base, to people who are among the few who already know.

Good grace.  I know that explaining anything complicated to the general public is not Obama’s thing.  But, I mean, really ….

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