Will the Cuts Hurt?

Travel delays, firefighter layoffs and young kids getting kicked out of school—those are just some of the dire consequences President Obama has warned could happen when the sequester cuts go into effect Friday. In fact, in the partisan political game that has emerged over government spending, he’s hedging his bets that Americans will be outraged after the sequester hits and demand a deficit approach that includes raising new revenues. But what if the abrupt and wide-ranging cuts to government aren’t as bad as the president claims? That could present a major problem to Obama and Democrats, and represent a big victory for Republicans. Said John H. Makin, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute: “It would be a big problem for the White House if the sequester came and went and nobody really noticed anything. Then people will start saying, ‘Well, maybe we can cut spending.’ ” (Read more)

State of Denial: How secretive was the White House’s targeted drone strike program that was only recently brought to light? Secretive enough that former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told MSNBC on Sunday morning that when he was going through the process of becoming press secretary, he was told not just to deny the program even existed, but to not even discuss it. “Here’s what’s inherently crazy about that proposition. You’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists. So you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program — pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” Gibbs said. (Read more)

Equality Plea: As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a case involving the Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration is urging the justices to strike down a key part of the 1996 federal law. The administration filed a brief with the high court Friday asking it to strike down Section 3 of DOMA, the portion of the law that essentially allows the government to discriminate against same-sex married couples by denying them federal benefits. The administration argues that denying such benefits violates the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law. (Read more)

In the Red: Sen. Ted Cruz is reiterating comments he made in a speech three years ago that there were at least 12 Communist professors at Harvard Law when he attended in the early 1990s and they “believed in the overthrow of the U.S. government.” The Texas Republican — who has already been accused by colleagues of being the new Joseph McCarthy — does not deny he made these allegations and insisted, through his spokeswoman Catherine Frazier, that he was “absolutely correct.” Cruz also questioned the timing of The New Yorker covering the 2010 speech long after the fact, although as the magazine’s Jane Mayer noted, “Cruz’s hostile questioning of Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and insinuations about Hagel’s loyalties had provided a fresh context for looking more closely at the nature of the accusations he has leveled at political opponents.” (Read more)

Corporations Are People 2: As if they didn’t have enough power over us already—one lawmaker wants to give corporations the power to vote in elections. Montana state Rep. Steve Lavin introduced a bill that would give a corporation the right to vote in municipal elections so long as it meets the provisions set forth in the Republican lawmaker’s legislation. Given that it would allow nonresident land owners to vote, the implications are significant. As Policymic pointed out, the legislation could pave the way for a corporation like Walmart to have a vote in local elections. The bill, thankfully, has been tabled—at least for now. (Read more)

Video of the Day: In honor of the first lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Michelle Obama got her grove on with late night television host Jimmy Fallon in an effort to encourage parents everywhere to get off the couch and get moving with their children. The “Evolution of Mom Dancing” features the FLOTUS and Fallon doing dances like the “Just the Hands Part of Single Ladies,” the “Pulp Fiction,” the “Out of Sync Electric Slide” and, of course, Obama going solo on the “Dougie.”

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