Why the sequester is like ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’

February 26, 2013

We've spent the last week or so trying to figure out the best way to not only explain the sequester -- a complicated budgeting term for a somewhat complicated series of automatic spending cuts --  to non-nerds and also to understand it ourselves.


The sequester is a lot like "My Best Friend's Wedding." (Tristar-Tristar/ABC)

Then, it finally it came to us: The sequester is like a marriage pact.

Here's why.

When you and your childhood friend/love interest -- we all have one...for the Fix it was Cari Salisbury -- talk about the future, you inevitably make a pledge that if neither of you is married by age 30 (or so), you will marry each other. (Heck, Hollywood made a whole movie about this -- "My Best Friend's Wedding.")

Neither of you think it will ever happen but it gives you something to talk about.  And, in theory, not wanting to marry the person with whom you have entered the marriage pact helps drive you to find that Mr. or Mrs. Right.

That's the logic behind the sequester. While Congressional Republicans and President Obama were never close friends to start with, the motivation behind the sequester was to put something in place far in the future that no one wanted. By so doing, they would ensure themselves that a deal would be struck that would keep them away from making good on the pact.

Then they both turned 30 -- symbolically speaking -- and, especially on the Republican side, realized that the sequester was the best they were going to do.  And so, the thing they never thought would happen -- and that they constructed so as to be so unappealing as to never happen -- is, well, happening.

The only question now is what President Obama and congressional Republicans will do with a (political) marriage that neither of them wanted.  And remember that happy endings usually only happen in Hollywood.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Chris Cillizza | February 26, 2013