Posted by Curt on 2 May, 2013 at 6:42 pm. 2 comments already!


James Taranto @ WSJ:

“The Democrats have lost on sequestration,” Journolist founder Ezra Klein declares flatly in his Washington Post blog. “That’s the simple reality of Friday’s vote to ease the pain for the Federal Aviation Administration. By assenting to it, Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future.”

President Obama and his party had believed “that the actual pain caused by sequestration would be so great that it would, in a matter of months, push the two sides to agree to a deal”–one that included tax increases and cut projected spending even more modestly than sequestration does.

The idea behind furloughing air traffic controllers was to inflict pain on ordinary Americans–or, as Klein calls them, “the politically powerful”–so as to pressure Republicans to raise taxes and to forgo cuts in inessential spending–or, as Klein calls it, “programs that affects [sic] the politically powerless.” Instead it was Democrats who felt pressure. The House vote on the Reducing Flight Delays Act was 361-41, with just 29 Democrats and 12 Republicans in dissent. The Senate didn’t even bother with a vote, passing the bill by unanimous consent.

“Many rank-and-file Democrats are not happy about it,” reports, “saying their party gave in without extracting concessions from Republicans over austerity in other areas, especially programs for the poor.” Among the unhappy rank-and-file Democrats were the editorial board of the New York Times, which predictably (we predicted it!) raged against lawmakers for “catering to the needs of people with money, such as business travelers.”

It occurs to us that the Times editorialists, given the field in which they work, probably have a skewed idea about business travel. The typical business traveler, unlike a traveling journalist, is not jet-setting to interesting places simply because they’re interesting. On a flight from Dallas last week, we met a 60ish woman who telecommutes from St. Louis but is obliged to make periodic appearances at her company’s Texas headquarters. She was traveling in coach on Southwest Airlines (as were we). For the corporation that inflicts Thomas Friedman on the world to vilify someone like her would be comical if it weren’t so–ah, never mind, it is comical.

Reader Harriet Hart is on to something with this observation:

So far I haven’t seen any commentary on the correlation between Mr. Obama’s training as a community organizer and the sequester fiasco. Community organizers’ main efforts are to stir up public sentiment to achieve special goals without implementing any solutions. Solutions are the province of someone else. The present administration has used this tactic endlessly, most noticeably with the White House tour shutdown during spring break and now flight-controller furloughs. This is definitely not an effort to solve problems but rather an attempt to stampede citizens to a desired result. We don’t need a community organizer in the White House. We need an executive, but of course Mr. Obama abhors that category of human endeavor.

Saul Alinsky targeted air travel too. In 1964 in Chicago, he wrote in “Rules for Radicals,” “commitments that were made by the authorities to the Woodlawn ghetto organization were not being met by the city.” The Woodlawners had no recourse through electoral politics–they couldn’t very well support Barry Goldwater’s Republicans–so “O’Hare Airport became the target.”

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