WASHINGTON -- Democratic leaders may be mounting a full-court press to head off the impending start of sequestration cuts, but their congressional campaign outfit also sees a silver lining: The public so far blames the GOP.
In a memo sent Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee argued that "Tea Party House Republicans are determined to drive the country over the sequester cliff, and their rigid ideology will not only kill more than a million jobs, but will do even more damage to an already imperiled Republican brand."
The memo from Jesse Ferguson, the DCCC's communications director and deputy executive director, goes on to say that the "Republican Congress created a manufactured crisis with this sequester that will damage the middle class." The GOP, for its part, has steadfastly blamed President Barack Obama for the sequester, which mandates that the government start cutting some $85 billion in spending starting March 1.
"Now they are refusing to solve the crisis -- by continuing to protect their tax breaks for millionaires and corporate special interests," the memo declares. "The result: Tea Party House Republicans may well be manufacturing record disapproval and backlash for their own Republican Congress."
The DCCC backed up its argument with citations from prominent political observer Stuart Rothenberg, conservative columnist Byron York and others. York opined that the position taken by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) makes "Obama seem reasonable in comparison."
Of course, the DCCC has seen a campaign opportunity in all this. On Thursday, it began running web ads targeting GOP House members.
Republicans have been doing their best to turn the argument, by branding the sequester an Obama creation.
Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, was unimpressed with her opponent's claims. "They say denial is the first stage of grief, so obviously Democrats are having a hard time accepting the consequences of Obama's sequester," Bozek said.
Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been making similar assertions aimed at blaming the president, although recently some members of their party have been trying a different tack, arguing the sequester is not so bad because its cuts are not that deep.