Steve Benen was alarmed by John Boehner’s press conference yesterday — especially because he read from prepared remarks. He says, “it occurred to me that I not only disagree with Boehner, I’m convinced the Speaker — or whomever is writing his speeches — is deeply confused about the basics of the fiscal debate.”
Benen responds to some of Boehner’s off-the-wall statements:
|“The number one priority for the American people is creating jobs and getting our spending under control.”|
|Boehner doesn’t seem to understand that (a) spending cuts have already kept unemployment high; (b) more spending cuts will clearly undermine the strength of the fragile recovery; and (c) our spending is already under control.|
|“[T]he president and Senate Democrats have done almost nothing to address our long-term debt problems.”|
|Again, it seems as if Boehner has no idea that the president and Senate Democrats have already approved nearly $2.5 trillion in long-term debt reduction. How could he not know that?|
|“Republicans have twice voted to replace the president’s ‘sequester’ with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national defense.”|
|Perhaps Boehner missed this in Civics 101, but those votes were in the last Congress, and no longer apply. If the House intends to replace the sequester with an alternative package, that’s fine, but the Speaker will have to bring it to the floor and have the chamber vote on it — because as of now, this House hasn’t done literally anything on the issue at all.|
|“Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes.”|
|First, he shouldn’t speak for the American public, since the American mainstream disagrees with him on nearly everything. Second, Democrats aren’t proposing tax hikes; they’re proposing closing tax loopholes — a position Boehner himself agreed with as recently as last month. Has Boehner forgotten his own positions from a month ago?|
|“Listen, the president doesn’t believe we have a spending problem. He genuinely believes that government spending causes economic growth.”|
|Obama believes this because (a) we don’t have a spending problem; and (b) government spending causes economic growth. That’s not even in the realm of opinion, and if Boehner can explain in complete sentences why he disagrees, he’s welcome to explain himself (John, really, call me anytime day or night.)Boehner added that he knows government spending doesn’t promote growth because “the unemployment rate is still nearly eight percent.” It’s as if the Speaker of the House is a child who finds current events confusing, so he doesn’t bother to keep up with the details. In his mind, spending has soared, and unemployment is high, ergo, spending caused higher unemployment. He doesn’t have the foggiest idea that spending isn’t up and that’s contributed to higher unemployment.|
|“Americans know that another tax hike isn’t going to help them,”|
|Who’s proposing another tax hike? I don’t know. Neither does the Speaker.|
Is Boehner truly confused? Is he still trying to win Ohio for Romney? Or is he counting on the perpetual confusion of the hardcore voting base — the extremists who applaud political games above everything else? To those people, it doesn’t matter that we face the sequester hitting full force in 3 weeks and that such cuts will undermine any gains made to our economy; or that Republicans could be offering alternatives like Democrats have been doing — but they aren’t.
There are only three things that are important to those few people whom Boehner appears to be addressing: 1) it’s all Obama’s fault, 2) Republicans are the victims, and 3) being reassured that what they, the fringe, believe is what mainstream America also believes. This may be the Fox formula for its loyal viewers as well.