The Iron Triangle Meets the Sequester

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Over at NRO, Robert Costa and Katrina Trinko catch up with Tom DeLay, who makes a point so obvious about the sequester that I’m surprised I hear this so seldom:

Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, who was meeting with a few of his former colleagues on Wednesday at the Capitol, says Boehner’s playbook is “sharp,” since defense spending “can always be replaced during the appropriations process, after the cuts are put into place.”

“You can always put money back in for defense,” DeLay says. “I think Boehner is going to stick with the sequester since the cuts are already happening, and if he needs to do something later, he can. I don’t think the president realizes how Boehner has the upper hand.”

Dave Weigel quotes a Republican “spending hawk” who’s furious about this. “I cannot tell you what a disaster I think it is for Republicans to take a year of cuts and play the same game we’ve been playing,” he says. “It erodes every ounce of credibility on our side.”

Meh. I guess this is possible. But I doubt it. There might be a few genuine deficit hawks in the conservative movement, but they’re few and far between. It’s hardly a secret that of the three options for reducing the deficit—cutting domestic spending, cutting defense spending, and raising taxes—conservatives only favor the first. They’re welfare hawks, not deficit hawks. I doubt that the Republican leadership will lose any points among the base for increasing the defense budget.

The question, then, is whether Democrats can stand up to the pressure to reverse the Pentagon cuts. I don’t think they’re as vulnerable as they once were to appeasement demagoguery, but they’re still vulnerable. I don’t know for sure how this will play out, but DeLay definitely has a point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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