White House photo
Someone's going to have to explain this one to me.
Fox News Host Eric Bolling on Thursday offered to pay for one week's worth of White House tours after the administration temporarily suspended them due to cutbacks under sequestration. "If I can get the White House doors open, I will pick up the tab," Bolling said on the Fox show "The Five."
Soon after, Fox News' Sean Hannity offered to also "pay for a week" of White House tours out of his own pocket.
If this seems familiar, it's because the offers come on the heels of Republican outrage over the decision to scrap White House tours as a consequence of sequestration budget cuts. Apparently, the president and his team had a choice: cancel the tours or start Secret Service furloughs. They chose the former.
And the right apparently can't stop talking about it, to the point that Fox personalities want to open their wallets to keep the tours going. By some accounts, Fox News has been more than a little preoccupied with the issue.
There may be some deeper symbolic meaning that eludes me -- if there is, I'm all ears -- or perhaps conservatives are vastly more attached to White House tours than I ever realized. Either way, I can't help but wonder about the right's priorities.
Jed Lewison noted today, for example, that the Army was forced to suspend a tuition-assistance program as a result of the sequester, but Bolling and Hannity aren't offering to pick up the tab on this one.
Of all things for Republicans to be going nuts about, losing the White House tours is the last one. Sequestration is causing real harm to real people, whether it's unemployed workers, children and mothers who need Head Start, or soldiers looking to enroll in the Army's tuition assistance program.
They could make all these problems go away -- including the loss of their precious tours -- with the blink of an eye. All they have to do is repeal sequestration. If they just repealed the damn thing, they wouldn't even have to raise taxes.
And if they want an equivalent amount of deficit reduction, they can get that too by replacing sequester with a combination of revenue and spending cuts. As President Obama has said more times than anybody cares to remember, his offer is still on the table. Republicans are the ones saying no, and even if White House tours are the only thing that pisses them off, they still have the option of doing something about it.
I have to admit, watching news events unfold, it's sometimes easy to find myself saying, "Well, I bet Fox will have a field day with this one."
But White House tours? When sequestration is causing real hardship on real people? I'm at a bit of a loss on this one.