The sequester confrontation has highlighted President Obama’s transfer of the basic activities of his highly effective re-election campaign to the White House. Daily press conferences by the President and much of the administration declaring the most dire circumstances unless Congress and especially House Republicans accepted revenue increases in the sequester process put the campaigner-in-chief strategy bold relief. A willing and mostly sympathetic press corps featured every claim regardless of how staged or unrealistic sounding.
The exercise secured the President’s image as campaigner-in-chief uninterested in meeting with legislators and often out-of town on the campaign trail. Although polls indicated he would win the blame game by a modest percentage, his own rating remains in the low 50-percent range.
Most importantly, he was ignored by both the public, which never really engaged in the confrontation (majority are unable to say if it is a “good” or “bad” thing after it went into effect last Friday, Gallup 2013), and especially Republicans who increasingly saw him as unresponsive and irrelevant. When the deadline passed and mostly nothing happened, the entire administration appeared like a theatrical roadshow that closed after a poor opening.
This was probably the worst performances of the administration since the confusing and weak performances in the 2011 debt ceiling debacle.
The permanent campaign is raising the cynicism of the even sympathetic press corps. The danger is the extravagant effort is taking on the look of pseudo-event and not the real deal.