Dionne is as dumbfounded as I am about Democratic obliviousness, as seen on MSNBC and in the liberal-progressive blogosphere.
Republicans are losing the argument but winning the time war.... From their perspective, the more months we fritter away on these dumb, fake emergencies, the better. As Obama’s clout slowly diminishes, so will his opportunities to press his priorities.
If Washington can be kept in a state of partisan paralysis, Republicans stand to gain more.
Of course they do. And in their cloakroom and country clubs they're laughing at Democrats for taking the bait--for spending countless hours on-air and in print identifying the true culprits of sequestration (cue the self-satisfied snickers: "It was really John Boehner and House Republicans! Gotcha!") as they simultaneously, hypocritically insist that the "Who started this?" game is irrelevant.
Yes Republicans are on the ropes, but it's Democrats being sucker-punched, as irretrievable time is squandered on identifying exactly who said precisely what nearly two years ago; and yet more time is frittered on who's responsible for intransigence now. Republicans are happy to take the heat. They were happy to do so yesterday, they're happy today, and they'll be happy tomorrow. Poof, there go three days, forever, out of Obama's 18-month second term.
Once this squabble is exhausted Republicans can move on to "fixing" national security cuts. That should be good for another couple of weeks of partisan recriminations, plus Dems will suffer humiliation in having to vote for defense restorations while leaving discretionary cuts untouched. Subsequently there's the continuing resolution to bicker over, possibly another government shutdown, and then the crown jewel of pseudoconservative imbecility: a debt-ceiling dispute. Which will ring in the summer, with two desolate seasons behind it.
The sequester game is a contest in which [Republicans win] simply by running out the clock, no matter what the score is.
Same for the CR, etc., etc.
[I]f gridlock retains its icy grip on government, the president will ultimately suffer because it is members of his constituency who will be most demoralized by the failure of their votes to change anything.
The upshot being that evolving demoralization depresses future turnout: see 2014.
And finally, from Dionne, comes the real rub:
Obama can’t just score points. He needs to figure out how to end this game so he can play the one he promised us.
Suggestions, anyone? Dionne hasn't any, and neither do I, and neither does Obama. Short of shredding the Constitution, there is no solution except another election: see above.
Yet Democrats and liberals and progressives seem to think they're winning this thing ... as the seconds of Obama's abbreviated term tick uselessly into oblivion and Republicans laugh their intransigent asses off.