It's come to this: Sequestration forces cancellation of ... White House tours

I was prepared to laugh it off but then I found out they’re canceling tours at Joe Biden’s home too. Obviously it’s serious.

No, really, though, our president’s a joke:

The White House announced Tuesday that it was canceling all public tours of the president’s home because of the sequester spending cuts.

“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours,” the White House said in an email.

The Daily Caller’s right, of course, that this is a particularly ham-handed demonstration of the “Fireman First” approach to budget cuts — so ham-handed that I wonder if it’ll backfire on O. It’s an invitation to his critics to riff on what the executive branch could do without in lieu of torpedoing tours for the public. The most popular one on Twitter as I write this is cutting Air Force One’s expenses by having His Highness take a break from jetting around the country to campaign against the sequester. One less hour in the air means an extra $180,000 for tour guides. I prefer Jim Geraghty’s idea to furlough the White House chefs instead and let The One subsist on baloney sandwiches for awhile. The Tea Party Patriots have a thoughtful suggestion too: Instead of paying $50 million for new TSA uniforms, how about making airport security “stretch” the clothes they’ve got for another year just like so many American families have had to do during the golden age of Obamanomics?

There’s a problem with each of those options, though: They impose no pain on the public, which is the whole point of Obama’s sequester strategy. That’s why he rejected the GOP’s offer to grant him extra flexibility in deciding what to cut, that’s why Janet Napolitano decided to save money by easing off on immigration-law enforcement (with more to come!), that’s why not even something as petty as White House tours can be spared. If the public doesn’t end up suffering, in ways great or small, to remind them that the feds must never, ever cut spending unless Democrats approve, then he’s lost. Says Conn Carroll:

For perhaps the first time in the history of the United States, it is in the political interest of a president to inflict maximum pain on the American people. Obama could have spent the last 16 months preparing to mitigate sequestration’s impact on the American people, as any responsible manager would have. Instead, he has done the opposite, explicitly ordering government agencies not to prepare for the worst. And he has refused all Republican efforts to pass legislation that would minimize the sequester’s pain.

“The president understands that to get anything done, he needs a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Steve Israel,D-N.Y., told The Post “To have a legacy in 2016, he will need a House majority in 2014, and that work has to start now.”

Bearing that in mind, go read the e-mail at the Washington Times that an Agriculture Department got from higher up the chain when he asked what he could do to mitigate the effect of cuts. Exit quotation: “[I]t is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

Update: Brutal: