As Time's Michael Crowley writes: "With the sequester scheduled to inflict $46 billion in cuts to the Pentagon budget, President Obama has offered an alternative that would mitigate the cuts, in part, by raising taxes on the wealthy. But Republican leaders won’t swallow any new taxes or accept smaller cuts to the federal budget. And so, defense will get the budget ax. And national security conservatives, long accustomed to being granted virtually every wish by their party, find themselves appalled."
The GOP's national security conservatives have made it clear they believe the sequester is not just bad policy, but extremely dangerous. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona recently called it "outrageous and shameful," saying it "impairs the ability to defend our nation in these very tense times with great challenges to our national security."
By contrast, the antitax wing of the party has lately been arguing that the sequester will be no big deal – and, in fact, doesn't go nearly far enough. Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky, a tea party conservative who tends to be skeptical when it comes to foreign intervention, told CNN this week that the sequester was a mere "pittance," pointing out that it will only slow the rate of growth of spending, while spending overall will continue to increase. The likely impact of the cuts, according to Senator Paul, "will be in some ways a yawn."