Green Room

Profiles in Ineptitude: a Timeline of the Boehner Debacle

posted at 6:33 pm on April 17, 2011 by

Can someone send a copy of Negotiating for Dummies to Speaker Boehner? Please consider the Speaker’s feckless statements and actions over the last several months — after being handed his position by a huge groundswell of conservative support known as the Tea Party movement.

1/7/2011: Boehner Doubles Down On Promise To Cut $100 Billion: “Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) yesterday doubled down on $100 billion in cuts. ‘No ifs, ands or buts about it,’ he said.”

2/20/2011: House Approves $61 Billion Spending Cuts, Raising Risk of Federal Shutdown: “Senate Democrats already have said they won’t accept the cuts in the $1.2 trillion spending bill, and Obama’s budget office has threatened a presidential veto. ”

3/2/2011: Boehner: Compromise Will Trim GOP’s $61 Billion Budget Cuts: “Responding to a question Tuesday about whether he foresees the House ultimately budging from the $61 billion figure, the Ohio Republican did not say that the chamber would hold firm when the Senate returns their proposal, which will likely include less than a $61 billion reduction in spending levels.”

3/10/2011: Tea Party pressures Boehner in budget battle: “Complaints by Tea Party Republicans have already forced Boehner to almost double the amount of spending cuts proposed this year from $32 billion.”

4/4/2011: Boehner says $33 billion in cuts is not enough: “I’ve made clear that their $33 billion is not enough and many of the cuts that the White House and Senate Democrats are talking about are full of smoke and mirrors. That’s unacceptable,” the Speaker said.

4/7/2011: Interviewed on ABC News, Speaker Boehner vows not to shut down the government over a 2011 “continuing resolution” budget impasse: “I’ve said that 1,000 times since the first of the year. I do not want to shut the government down. I think that is irresponsible.” [Ed: As an aside, the government has been shut down numerous times in recent years including a 21-day impasse during the Clinton administration.]

4/12/2011: Boehner touts fact that ”Budget Agreement Eliminates Funding for Obama Czars’ as a reason to support the continuing resolution budget deal.

4/14/2011: Boehner: I’m standing by the $38 billion number: Boehner stands by the $38 billion in cuts, saying that this was really “$78.5 billion less than what the president wanted to spend… [and that he was] very disappointed in [Obama’s] speech yesterday,”

4/15/2011: CBO Says Spending Cuts Aren’t As Advertised: “The Congressional Budget Office reports that the $38 billion in cuts to the budget for the current fiscal year will actually reduce this year’s deficit by only about $352 million.”

4/16/2011: Boehner’s office is not surprised Obama found a way to circumvent Congress, according to a staffer. A spokesman for Boehner said that the Speaker was not surprised that Obama has chosen to ignore the budget rider eliminating funding for the “Czars”.

In other words, Boehner held the trump card — a partial shutdown of the government — in his hands and threw it away. Without leverage, he was unable to live up to anything resembling his promises. Promises that the American people support and demand.

As Paul Ryan put it after witnessing the president’s hyper-partisan campaign speech on Wednesday, “the gauntlet has been thrown down” by Obama. He’s gone all in. The big entitlement programs and the American economic system itself are headed for collapse. That’s not what I say. That’s what Peter Orszag, Obama’s former economic adviser, says: ‘If policymakers will not act before we have a fiscal crisis at the federal level, a fiscal crisis we will ultimately have.’

We need a new Speaker of the House. Someone who understands that we’re up against true sixties radicals. These are people who want to see the whole society burn down. Because that’s where we’re headed without a major course correction.

We need a fighter and a competent negotiator. Boehner has proven that he ain’t it.

How does Speaker of the House Allen West sound?

Related: “Obama: Yeah, I know Democrats Agreed to the 2011 Spending Deal, But the Speaker’s an Idiot for Believing We’d Abide By It


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How does Speaker of the House Allen West sound?

Better and better with each passing legislative debacle.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 7:38 PM

You do good work, Directorblue.

rrpjr on April 17, 2011 at 7:41 PM

The lesson of the 1995 shutdown was the Republicans will lose the public relations battle, if they make no concerted and across the board effort to explain their reasons for wanting to control government spending. Gingrich just left the situation hanging out ther to the point that he allowed the big media and the Democrats to link the shutdown to his whine about Clinton not allowing him to fly up front in Air Force One.

That’s the position Boehner is starting from. He’s basically kicking the can down the road as long as possible, because he thinks the GOP already has lost the debate on the shutdown, to the point that preventing a shutdown under his watch is more important than getting a favorable budget deal.

Once you start from that position, you’re never going to get a favorable deal, because you allow the Democrats and Obama to think they can hold out for almost anything and eventually, you’ll cave. Boehner will have a chance to redeem himself with the upcoming debt ceiling battle, but I would expect more can-kicking here; however, if he does the same thing this fall with the FY 2012 budget, he can only do it by throwing Paul Ryan under the bus. It’s hard to see Boehner not facing a vote of ‘no confidence’ as Speaker from his own caucus if he decides that’s the way to build a winning 2012 strategy.

jon1979 on April 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM

It’s hard to see Boehner not facing a vote of ‘no confidence’ as Speaker from his own caucus if he decides that’s the way to build a winning 2012 strategy.

jon1979 on April 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM

It’s hard for me to envision a scenario in which he doesn’t go that way in 2012.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 8:16 PM

It’s hard for me to envision a scenario in which he doesn’t go that way in 2012.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 8:16 PM

If he throws Ryan under the bus on the FY 2012 budget (due under law by Oct. 1, Nancy Pelosi to the contrary) in order to avoid a shutdown, Boehner doesn’t even make it to 1/1/12 as Speaker — in fact, most of the GOP presidential hopefuls will be running against Boehner in the run-up to Iowa and New Hampshire as much as they’re running against Obama.

jon1979 on April 17, 2011 at 8:49 PM

All this capitulation isn’t helpful to say the least.

SouthernGent on April 17, 2011 at 10:25 PM

All this capitulation isn’t helpful to say the least.

SouthernGent on April 17, 2011 at 10:25 PM

That’s what I’ve been saying for days. And I’ve gotten very little support and a large amount of mocking for my trouble.

gryphon202 on April 17, 2011 at 11:01 PM

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