In spite of Majority Leader Reid essentially flipping him the middle digit yesterday, Republican Speaker John Boehner still didn't get the message.
He insisted on getting his 'Plan B' passed by the House, a rehash of former Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plan from last May - tax increases on gross incomes of $1 million and up, no mention of spending or the debt ceiling.
His idea was that this was somehow going to force President Obama and the Democrats to deal.
But to his surprise, the Republican caucus refused to go along:
At a quarter to 8 p.m. on Thursday night, House Republicans gathered in the Capitol basement for an urgent, closed-door conference meeting. The scene was hushed and confused. Instead of huddling in a windowless room, members thought they’d spend the evening on the House floor, voting on “Plan B,” Speaker John Boehner’s fiscal-cliff proposal. But as they took their seats and looked at Boehner’s face, the reason for the gathering became clear: The speaker didn’t have the votes. The whipping was over. “Plan B” was dead.
Boehner’s speech to the group was short and curt: He said his plan didn’t have enough support, and that the House would adjourn until after Christmas, perhaps even later. But it was Boehner’s tone and body language that caught most Republicans off guard. The speaker looked defeated, unhappy, and exhausted after hours of wrangling. He didn’t want to fight. There was no name-calling. As a devout Roman Catholic, Boehner wanted to pray. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,” he told the crowd, according to attendees.
The Serenity Prayer is about all Boehner has left.
He and his friends in the GOP establishment have spent the last few weeks dissing the Tea party and conservatives in general, kicking members associated with those movements off committee seats, and threatening suspected dissidents with similar retaliation.
Did Boehner think that would go unnoticed? Is he really that clueless?
Plan B was a stunningly futile and bad idea anyway. Most of the GOP caucus obviously didn't like the idea of going home and explaining it to the constituents who elected them.
Harry Reid has said he's not going to consider any plan that comes out of the House and already sent the Senate home for Christmas, and the president is already preparing for his $4 million Hawaiian vacay at the taxpayer's expense, so even if it had passed it would have been meaningless.
And the Plan itself was ridiculous.
Boehner and anyone else that thinks like him need to get a clue - President Obama and the Democrats have no intention of negotiating anything. Why should they?
Taxes are going to go up, there will be no meaningful spending cuts and our defense budget is going to be scaled back to pre WWI levels. That's what this president and the Democrats wanted all along, and they'll get it, either by doing nothing and letting sequestration take effect or by making Boehner and the House cave on everything they want. And the men who put them in this comfortable position were none other than Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
He champions them now, but President Obama has constantly demonized the Bush tax cuts since 2008, something no Republican of any stature has had the stones to remark on publicly. They were supposed to sunset on January 1st, 2012, but they were extended for an additional year because of the ridiculous deal Boehner and McConnell made with the president last year in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and giving the president a higher credit card limit.They could have refused to increase the debt limit and forced the president to live within a 2.3 trillion dollar budget. Instead, they expected the president to negotiate with them in good faith a year down the road to pass meaningful spending cuts.
Now, how bad a deal that was is finally starting to become readily apparent to them.I use the word 'starting' advisedly, based on Boehner's recent antics.Having been screwed once, he's apparently anxious for a repeat performance.
Again some simple truth. This president and his minions were always going to raise taxes and strangle the defense budget. The Bush Era Tax Cuts are going up on people making more than $250K, and that number will be go south fairly quickly, using the AMT calculation, bogus stimulus programs, and more 'reforms' in Congress to $100,000 and lower. It's open season on the Kulaks, because elections do matter. And as the American people are going to discover, who is labelled as 'the rich is going to be a lot more elastic and inclusive then they imagined.
What Boehner could do, providing he gets someone to help him find his lost testicles is to use the power of the House to prevent the worst of the excesses. Congress holds the purse strings.There's nothing stopping them from simply refusing to raise the debt ceiling past its already obscene limits.If that involves shutting the government down, fine.
There's nothing stopping them from refusing to fund President Obama's agenda and making it clear that any spending he does will come with a price tag of spending cuts attached.There's nothing stopping them from addressing the country and explaining clearly and eloquently that this poresident has no intention of negotiasting anything in good faith, exactly why President Obama's fiscal policies are leading us to ruin, and why they oppose them. And there's nothing stopping them from attacking this president and his policies forcefully.
They're going to be demonized either way by the president and his media lackeys, but at least they're providing an honest, principled alternative, and one more and more people will understand as the Obama economy unravels.
Will they do it? I doubt it. Especially with John Boehner in charge.
But it needs to be done, and if the Republicans can't or won't, someone else will. Depend on it.