Months ago, a little thing called "sequestration" was facing the American people: cuts, cuts and more cuts – something Republicans normally love. At the time, soon after the two parties had played nice and come together at the eleventh hour to reach a deal as we all looked down at our toes tipping over the edge of the fiscal cliff, most of us, myself included, thought that sequestration wouldn't happen. We assumed the Democrats and Republicans would hold hands, sing "Kumbaya" ... well, you get the picture.
And ... you know that didn't happen.
As the hug festival we all anticipated and hoped for failed to materialize, President Obama listed the areas of cuts that would come. He spoke of the furloughs that would be given to the air traffic controllers; the cuts that would be made to the Federal Aviation Administration and its budget. Now these are union employees, so you would think this would be a double score for the GOP as they smile with glee.
If you recall, the GOP accused the president of trying to scare Americans when he spoke of those long lines and delays at the airport, as if it were fiction, something the President conjured up from the North Pole.
Now the furloughs are beginning – which union officials said months ago would take about four months to fully incorporate – and so to the lines and delays have begun. So the Republicans, seeing that Americans will blame them for the sequestration, want to place the blame on their favorite fall guy ... the president.
I can see the political ads now: Long lines and delays at the airport? Don't blame us, we who wanted the sequestration ... blame the president. So I have a question, was the GOP lying then when they said the president was exaggerating? Or are they lying now that he is doing this for political gain?
And of course Republicans would have you believe that the president could change all of this with the swipe of his pen. And that's not true. As Jay Carney reported, and the terms of the sequestration clearly show, only Congress can do that. Otherwise folks, this would be a dictatorship.
Seventy percent of the FAA budget is payroll; that's personnel – jobs like ... air traffic controllers.
So isn't it clear why the GOP is pointing fingers at the president for these delays? They, their family, their friends, their lobbying buddies and corporate honchos are being affected. Where was the screaming at the federal employees who have been laid off? Not a word.
So today, when I sit at LAX with my two toddlers waiting an additional two hours for my flight from Los Angeles to Florida for a wedding, if the GOP wants me to be happy with them, rather than blame the president, they could come by with a cocktail for mommy … or two.