With the March 1 deadline fast approaching for the sequester that Republicans wanted and used as a bargaining chip in exchange for not crashing the economy in the debt ceiling fight, Republicans are trying to pin the blame on anyone but themselves in spite of, well, facts. Everyone knows how the GOP is on facts these days.
They don't matter.
In keeping with that magical thinking policy, today Governor Rick Scott, being forced to face reality for the second time in a week, issued a statement in order to point the finger of blame in the general direction of Washington:
“Sequestration means the Obama Administration and Congress failed to do their job to manage the budget. As thousands of Floridians lose their jobs, the Obama Administration and Congress are getting paid for not doing theirs. That’s just wrong.
“The impacts on Florida’s military installations and defense industries will be severe under the meat hammer of sequestration. Our immediate concerns include dramatic reductions to our National Guard, which threatens our ability to respond to wildfires this spring and hurricanes this summer.
“Now is the time for leadership. It is critical for all national leaders to find a way forward that will not have unwarranted, unnecessary impacts on both our economic and our national security.”
Aside from the standard boilerplate that everything bad that happens is President Obama's fault, notice Scott blames "Congress" in general. If Scott were really serious about calling out "Congress," he would be on the phone with Florida Republicans urging them to stop playing their "elementary school game of ‘chicken.’ " as he put it. But of course he won't do that.
Here is how Republicans voted on the blackmail debt ceiling. Only five Republicans from Florida voted "no." The rest were just fine with it, even though they knew the consequences of the bargaining chip they used, the sequester, would be dire for their constituents if it came to pass.
So here we are.
While they try their hardest to place the blame on President Obama, here are the facts. Republicans want this sequester as much as they want to have it both ways, but their logic is laughable. They've used every excuse they can come up with, and none of them make sense, especially when you compare them.
The cuts are "horrible!" The end of the world as we know it! Yet they could stop them easily, and so far they aren't budging. Some have claimed this is a trap set for them by President Obama. By that logic, why would they willingly walk into it then? Again, because they want them.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he got "98 percent" of what he wanted in the final deal to raise the debt ceiling.
"When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy," Boehner said in an interview with CBS News on Monday evening.
The final vote to give Boehner that 98% of what he wanted was 269-161, with 174 Republicans backing the bill. Only sixty-six Republicans voted against it.
Flying in the face of logic with their other excuses, some have also said the equivalent of "Meh! It's just not going got be a big deal." That's because, again, Republicans want the sequester. They're perfectly happy to have austerity measures in place that will cut even more programs for the poor, and hurt the average American further than they have already, all to protect their rich friends and their corporate bosses. They'll cut anything to avoid raising taxes on the wealthiest who pay very little as it is now. This is what they want. It falls in line with the ideology of the conservative wing of their party, something which Joy-Ann Reid explains in more detail here.
Rick Scott is of course one of those ideologues. But he's also a governor who is crashing in the polls, faces reelection, and is now facing the consequences of accepting reality and Medicaid expansion. The Tea Party and the crazy wing of the GOP have voiced their dismay with that choice he made last week. By generalizing the blame, he seeks to have it both ways.
Good luck with that.
If the sequester Republicans want goes through, make no mistake, it will hurt Floridians, and our Florida Republican Congressmen and women who voted for it know this. Here are some of the ways Floridians will get hurt by their actions:
Statewide impacts: There will be even more cuts in education, the military, law enforcement, clean air and water protection, work study jobs and Head Start programs. Funding will be cut in these areas: vaccinations for children, meal programs for seniors, other public health programs, and protection from domestic violence. These are just some of the statewide cuts. For a more detailed list of these, along with severe national impacts, see the report here.
Americans who have already paid dearly for wars that never should have happened thanks to Republicans, bailed out the banks when they nearly crashed the world economy, many whom were also hurt further during the process, are now being asked to make even more sacrifices so that a minute few of the wealthiest among us can gain even more wealth without having to pay their fair share in taxes.
Because the one thing Republicans stand firm against is raising taxes for the rich. Under any circumstances. For that they are willing to risk the nation's economy, while throwing seniors, children and every average American over the cliff. Not only are they not creating jobs, they aren't willing to pay those who have them fairly, and for those who don't, they plan even more cuts to unemployment.
For these reasons, and a few others of his own, Governor Rick Scott will never "make the call" to his fellow Republicans to avoid the sequester that will hurt all Floridians. He knows which side his bread is buttered on, and his party is slowly letting him churn for himself.
That's why Floridian will have to make the call to their Congressmen and women themselves and make their voices heard. We are now our own representatives, and we are the ones who will get hurt.
Republicans know that, and they just don't care. They have job security, and we're paying for it.