The Daily Banter Mail Bag! Sequester! Romney at CPAC! Oscars!


Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the sequester, Mitt Romney at CPAC and Oscar predictions.

The questions:

1) If nobody likes the sequester why was it ever proposed, why is it being fought over now, and couldn't someone come up with a better word for spending cuts than "sequester?"
-- Taylor

Chez: It was agreed upon because if it hadn't been, the U.S. government would've defaulted and the country very likely would've descended into economic chaos -- all because the Republicans decided to take the debt ceiling hostage in 2011. Both sides hated it from be beginning because it was designed that way -- the idea being that it would encourage the Democrats and Republicans to work out a deal that would avoid it. It's called the sequester because that's a legal term. It also allowed House Republicans to come up with the supposedly clever word "Obamaquester," which they're now trying to make into a thing in an effort to hang the looming budget-cutting nightmare around the neck of the president. Because they're fucking babies.

Bob: I hate just about everything to do with this issue. Yes, it was a measure designed to get beyond the debt ceiling and now everyone's paying the price for the Republican brinksmanship. The only upside is that if it happens -- and it will suck if it does -- the American people will mostly blame the Republicans because they've been the ones who've been beating the slash-and-burn drums.

Ben: This whole debt ceiling nonsense drives me completely crazy. The sequester (or automatic spending cuts) was basically a deal both parties cut to avert a crisis engineered entirely by the Republicans. We're still dealing with it now and I'll put money on them coming up with another deal to prolong it again given how goddamn childish the Republicans are when it comes to negotiating. It goes something like this: Republicans demand Obama enact spending cuts. Obama says no. Republicans then threaten to blow the economy up by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Obama calls their bluff, and Republicans realize they'll be pinned with destroying the economy. Republicans start to backtrack. However, Republicans then realize they can't negotiate because half of their party is insane and won't let them. Both parties then agree to kick the can down the road and do it all over again. And on it goes.

2) Did you guys see that Mitt Romney's coming out of his hole to appear at CPAC? What do you think the response will be to him and if he sees his shadow how many more years of Republican craziness does that mean?
-- Lisa L.

Bob: I think his speech will be fire-and-brimstone conservatism because he always plays to the room and to the moment. So he'll give the hoards something they want to hear. From there, it's the speaking circuit, a few books and obscurity.

Ben: I can't say I'll be watching Romney at CPAC. I found him so dreadfully boring during the 2012 campaign that I almost jacked in my career as a political commentator (or whatever it is that I do). I'm sure Romney will regurgitate the same horse shit he came out with on the campaign - 'a full-throated defense of conservatism' or whatever. Romney is a party hack so he'll do his bit for the head honchos. It will be a perfunctory performance and it will get a perfunctory reception - polite clapping, an awkward standing ovation, and a lot of uncomfortable moments.

Chez: I think at best he's going to get a polite welcome. At worst he's going to get table centerpieces thrown at him. He's the walking embodiment of conservatives' inability to succeed at the national level these days and they'd rather lash out at the loser than point the finger at themselves And shadow or not, the Republican craziness isn't going anywhere.

3) Oscar predictions?
-- Joe

Chez: I'll be drunk halfway through MacFarlane's opening monologue.

Bob:Argo will win best picture. Daniel Day-Lewis will win best actor. And if there's any justice in this world, Janek Sirrs ought to win for Best Visual Effects for The Avengers.

Ben: Don't know, don't care. I have no idea who most of the actors nominated are or the films they have been in so it's about as interesting to me as an Ayn Rand novel. I did see Zero Dark Thirty and The Hobbit though, and thought both were visually really great. Maybe The Hobbit wins something? Sorry...


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