NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 23, 2013

Looking ahead one week -- and beyond

Big Freddy was hunched over his morning newspaper when I arrived for our midweek get-together.

“Is it that interesting?” I asked.

“Better than that,” he said as I shoved my way into my side of the booth.

“That being what?” I asked.

“Seeds of the blame game over who’s responsible for the misery that’s just beginning to take root,” Freddy said.

“Fear of the sequester,” I said.

“Fancy name for spending cuts,” Freddy said.

“If they really happen,” I said. “Republicans could fold if the heat back home gets hot enough.”

“A few will, but not enough,” Freddy said. “Boehner’s going for broke on this because it offsets his losing to Obama on a tax deal back in 2011. He believed he and Obama had settled for some $400 billion debt limit in more tax revenues, but Obama doubled down on it at the last minute.

“Leaving Boehner high and dry,” I said.

“You have to look at where they were and why,” Freddy said. “No. 1, Obama is doing all he can to get the House back from the Republicans two years from now. That will give him four years for Democrat control in both branches if they can keep the Senate, instead of two if the Republicans keep the House.

“If the Republicans keep the House and get the Senate back, Obama’s presidency gets a lot of time to play golf.

“No. 1 for Boehner is getting what he can not only by way of budget cuts, but not giving away so much his right-wingers in the House will shoot it down. He claims the two of them had settled for revenue increases of $400 million, but at the last minute Obama goes for $800 million, which there was no way Boehner could get that from the House.”

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