Should President Obama give up golf during 'sequester'? (+video)
The (failed) GOP bid to strip funds for presidential golf trips was just one move in an escalating struggle over Obama's 'sequester' strategy, such as axing popular White House tours.
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Influential conservative pundit Erick Erickson makes this point Wednesday at RedState. He bemoaned the demise of Gohmert’s amendment and urged GOP conservatives to vote against allowing the continuing resolution to proceed, in the name of trying to force deeper cuts.Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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“Conservative groups must set a new standard,” Mr. Erickson writes, but he holds out little hope they’ll actually block the bill.
For another thing, the golf-versus-building-tour dust-up shows how the White House has shifted from making big claims about the sequester’s alleged dire effects to implementing small, yet pointed reductions.
“Inside week one of the sequester, we went from workplace deaths and forest fires and airport chaos to ... no more White House self-guided tours? The Obama administration has gone from very big to very small in sequester messaging, brushed back by the fact some early claims turned out to be less than truthful, and that, well, big things aren’t happening yet,” Mr. Klein writes.
The fact is White House tours are popular with voters. Both Republican and Democratic House members are more than happy to procure tour tickets for traveling constituents. But because of security concerns and sheer popularity, this has to be done well in advance – so tourists with spring break tour times are not going to be happy. They’ll have to hit the Smithsonian instead.
Do the tours really have to be cut? That’s another question entirely. Given their visibility, it’s quite possible that the administration is just engaging in a variant of the time-honored Washington Monument budget ploy.
That’s named after an apocryphal story of a Parks Service chief offering to close the Washington Monument as a contribution to budget austerity. The point is to highlight the effect of reductions by doing away with the most visible and well-liked government services.
But the Obama administration can’t close the Washington Monument this time around. It’s already shut to visitors due to repairs needed to fix the effects of the 2011 D.C.-area earthquake.