David Frum

02.08.13

Krauthammer Endorses Sequester

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One of America's leading conservative columnists plainly states sequestration is terrible, but we should go ahead with it anyway:

Of course, the sequester is terrible policy. The domestic cuts will be crude and the Pentagon cuts damaging. This is why the Republican House has twice passed bills offering more rationally allocated cuts. (They curb, for example, entitlement spending as well.)

Naturally, the Democratic Senate, which hasn’t passed a budget since before the iPad, has done nothing. Nor has the president — until his Tuesday plea.

The GOP should reject it out of hand and plainly explain (message No. 2): We are quite prepared to cut elsewhere. But we already raised taxes last month. If the president wants to avoid the sequester — as we do — he must offer a substitute set of cuts.

Otherwise, Mr. President, there is nothing to discuss. Your sequester — Republicans need to reiterate that the sequester was the president’s idea in the first place — will go ahead.

Let that sink in. Krauthammer believes it's more important to extract any cuts than to protect the capability of our Department of Defense to fulfill obligations at home and abroad. The sequester is a blunt object, as it was designed. 

Welcoming it as "better than nothing" or simply blaming the president for the cuts may be effective party politics, but it's an abdication of the responsibility Republicans carry to preserve the strength of our national defense. If the President won't shoulder that burden, we must. Krauthammer seems willing to forgo that tough choice in favor of spending cuts uber alles. That's most lamentable.