Why Does Washington Post Columnist David Ignatius Say Obama Should Have Allowed Default On The National Debt in Aug. 2011? He Doesn’t Say Why, So Someone Should Ask Him.

To me, one of the big mysteries of the sequester blame game is why some in the punditry keep echoing John Boehner’s proud Obama-proposed-the-sequester line, without pointing out what the only alternative was.  The most baldly ridiculous of articles in that narrow genre is Washington Post columnist–and, I suspect, not coincidentally, Bob Woodward colleague–David Ignatius’s piece, in a column posted yesterday afternoon and published in today’s paper, in which Ignatius says in effect that Obama should have allowed a default of the federal government’s debt obligations in Aug. 2011 because the only alternative–”Obama’s sequester legislation”–is worse than what the result of a default would have been.

Seriously.  He does try, hard, to disguise that that is what he’s saying.  But the sleight of hand he uses is so flagrantly, well, a sleight of hand that he doesn’t succeed.  Here’s what he says:

Much as I would criticize Obama, it’s wrong to say that both sides are equally to blame for what’s about to hit us. This isn’t a one-off case of Republicans using Obama’s sequestration legislation to force reckless budget cuts. It’s a pattern of behavior: First the Republicans were prepared to shut down the government and damage the national credit rating with their showdown over the debt ceiling; then they were careening toward the “fiscal cliff.” This isn’t a legislative tactic anymore; it’s an addiction.

Soooo … he acknowledges that the Republicans were prepared to shut down the government and damage the national credit rating with their showdown over the debt ceiling. He just doesn’t mention that the impending debt default and Obama’s sequestration legislation–Obama presumably having become a member of the House for a few days back then and joined the Republican caucus–are, y’know, related.

So, since apparently Ignatius’s editors–Bob Woodward’s colleagues–didn’t ask him this, I will:  Since, without Obama’s sequester legislation, the government would in fact have shut down, and the damage to the national credit rating (among other things) would have been significant–and so, this is what Obama’s sequester avoided–why do you think Obama’s sequester legislation was worse?  Might it be that Bob Woodward said so?

Of course, I also think the news media should pose that question to Boehner next time he preens that the sequester was Obama’s idea and that he therefore “owns” it.  Since Obama also owns the avoidance of default on the federal government’s debt in aug. 2011, and since Boehner & Friends own the attempt to throw the world’s financial system into chaos in Aug. 2011, it does seem to me that ownership of the sequester might be a good thing, and ownership of the alternative to the sequester a bad thing.  Obama might want to point this out in, say, a 10-minute primetime TV address on these constant trumped up financial crises, and especially right now, the current one.  But, well, that’s just not something he would actually do.

Meanwhile, Post Columnist Matt Miller today does pinpoint where Obama is to blame in this: Agreeing to the mere $600 in increased tax revenue from the wealthy as part of the “fiscal cliff” resolution rather than simply allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and having the new Congress write new tax legislation in the first two weeks or so of January.  Indeed.

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