In a pre-recorded interview for CBS’ “This Morning,” House Speaker John Boehner called out the president for his incessant campaigning and confirmed that the chief occupant of the White House has lately made no effort whatsoever to work with Congress on any of the key issues that face the country.
Boehner particularly noted the peculiarity of the president’s pivot from an all-consuming focus last summer on arriving at a “Grand Bargain” on the debt and deficit to his present focus on a tax measure that would barely affect the deficit at all.
“I sat for months with the president. He wanted revenue,” said Boehner. “I said, ‘Mr. President, I’ll put revenue on the table that we can achieve out of fixing our tax code. But the only way I’ll do it is if you’re willing to have real, fundamental reform of our entitlement programs.’ And the fact is we have an agreement,” the Speaker said.
“And then two days later, the president decided he wanted $400 billion of more revenue, which was, in effect, a $400 billion tax increase.
“He lost his courage,” Boehner said.
He added that he was “not optimistic” about reaching a new agreement with the president. “The president checked out last Labor Day. All he’s done is campaign full time for the last six months. He’s not been engaged in the legislative process at all. There have been no efforts at trying to work with Democrats and Republicans to address this issue at all. And it’s — it’s shameful.”
In essence, Boehner is saying that the president is not doing his job. It’s not that he’s doing it poorly — it’s that he’s not doing it at all. Even liberals have noted that the president has backed away from hard fights. In her column this week, Ruth Marcus points out that the president — by focusing so much on his reelection and separating the Buffett Rule from broader tax reform proposals — is making Democrats’ job more difficult down the road, when they will want to call for comprehensive tax increases.
It’s worth noting that the lack of ideas from Democrats on major issues doesn’t just suggest that their electoral strategy is to demonize whatever Republicans present. It’s also to obscure whatever their true tax and entitlement reform plans would be — presumably because their ideas wouldn’t be particularly palatable to the American public.