Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I say this with regret, because I actually think that GOP House Speaker John Boehner is, in his own way, a dedicated public servant.
But it's apparent that he has no idea whom he's dealing with in negotiations with this president and the Democrats, and even less courage. It's like watching someone take a stroll in New York's Central Park at 2 AM and seeing him react with surprise and shock when he gets mugged and beaten to a bloody pulp.
In the latest from the saga of the fiscal cliff, Boehner advanced what he thought was at least a reasonable starting point - he took any talk of a debt ceiling limit off the table and essentially endorsed the exact proposal Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put out back in May of this year, for tax hikes on gross incomes over $1 million.
No sooner did he do that when the Democrats (laughing hysterically among themselves I'm sure) responded that it simply wasn't good enough, and that it was all just a 'political ploy' anyway by Pelosi.
The White House quickly agreed, saying it doesn't go far enough and wouldn't pass the Democrat majority Senate anyway.
The truth is that President Obama and the Democrats don't need or want a deal. The President has no problem with raising taxes on everyone or with the drastic sequestration cuts that will come mostly at the expense of the military.
Last year, when Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell made a last minute deal with President Obama to raise his credit card limit (AKA, the debt ceiling) and Boehner quickly endorsed it and rammed it through the House, I predicted this would happen.
The way this was set up it's a win-win for the president.
If a desperate Boehner completely caves, President Obama need only agree if he gets everything he wants with no concessions.At best, there will be some smoke and mirrors nonsense that means nothing to make the surrender compatible, like there was last year.
If there is no deal, the president gets the tax hikes and cuts in the defense budget he wants anyway, and will just sing the same old song about 'obstructionist Republicans, trying to protect the wealthy' while his media lackeys sing backup.That's what he's holding over Boehner's head and why Boehner is behaving so cravenly trying to stave off the inevitable.
The only way to deal with this kind of blackmail is for the Republicans to go public. It should have happened last year. They need to find someone ( NOT Boehner)to speak to the nation, inform them simply and directly of exactly why the president's policies are leading the country to fiscal ruin. And explain that since President Obama is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, the Republicans are going to let him do what he wants, but that every Republican legislator will vote 'present' in protest.
It would then become Obama's economy and Obama's policies, with no Republican fingerprints on it. When the house of cards collapses, President Obama will no longer have someone else to blame.
At this point, I think Rep. Boehner has to look back on his tenure as Speaker and simply admit that he failed, utterly. The decent thing for him to do would be to resign as Speaker, but with a little over a month left in his term the least he should do is announce that he will not be a candidate for Speaker in the next Congress, to give someone more able a chance to begin campaigning for the job.
Tiempo passado, y también los hombres.