When historians look back at the Obama administration, I think they will be utterly perplexed by its inability to understand what motivated its opponents. From the NY Times, about the sequester (boldface mine):
That reality also underscores what Republicans, and some Democrats, say was a major miscalculation on the part of President Obama. He agreed to set up the automatic cuts 18 months ago because he believed the threat of sharp reductions in military spending would be enough to force Republicans to agree to a deficit reduction plan that included the tax increases he favored.
“Fiscal questions trump defense in a way they never would have after 9/11,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “But the war in Iraq is over. Troops are coming home from Afghanistan, and we want to secure the cuts.”
It’s even simpler than that: they want to destroy the New Deal and massively reduce most functions of government–this is nothing new, by the way. Even those who realize this would be an economic disaster for their states or districts are riding the tiger and can’t figure out how to jump off. Their base is that crazy–and they have been fed symbolic gestures for so long, they don’t realize that these cuts are really bad. The base certainly doesn’t understand that they, as opposed to all of the others that they fear, will be hurt by this.
Guillotines for everybody.