PostScript: Speaker Boehner and leadership

March 14, 2013
Boehner lays it out. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)
Speaker John Boehner makes his case. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

Speaker of the House John Boehner is with us today to repudiate the idea that President Obama’s “charm offensive” of taking Congressionals out for nice dinners and schmoozing them on the phone is going to make the compromise happen on a budget deal. Instead, he says, what he’s looking for from Obama is leadership and recognition that the deficit is the biggest problem Congress and the president should be working on now. Boehner wants Obama to offer significant cuts to entitlements and work toward a balanced budget, and, he says, neither Obama nor the Democrats seem to want to play along. While it sounded last week like the charm offensive was cracking a little of the ice on Capitol Hill, we misheard. It was the sound of knuckles cracking ominously, limbering for a fight. Or a biiiiig round of typing.

fightforroses comes right out and summarizes what PostScript sees elsewhere in the comments (and in reports from the hallowed halls of government):

The detachment from reality that the posts below this one demonstrate is absolutely chilling. It really does seem like there are two entirely different forms of reality in this country.

Well, yes. There do seem to be two sides to reality in these discussions, and never the twain do meet. For example, Boehner defines leadership here as the ability of Obama to persuade his side to give up some things they think are important, like keeping entitlements more or less as they are. “For all of Washington’s focus on the president’s outreach to Republicans, it’s his engagement with members of his own party that will determine whether we succeed in dealing with the challenges facing our economy,” he writes. “The problem, in large part, is that Democrats refuse to make the tough choices necessary to solve our long-term debt crisis.” But, for Boehner to provide leadership, then, by his own definition, would mean to convince his side to give up some things they think are important. Which doesn’t seem to be Boehner’s goal, at least in this op-ed. But that’s just what PostScript’s reality looks like. There are plenty more to choose among.

gardelito just outright rejects Boehner’s reality that cutting the deficit should be job No. 1 right now:

Balancing the budget is neither urgent nor necessary. The long term objective should be control debt as a percentage of GDP and that can be achieved by having a deficit that grows slower than the economy.

BallGame1 has a suggestion for a new job No. 1:

Rep. Boehner and the Republicans remain fixated on reducing the deficit, but the correct goal is to reduce unemployment.

cjd260 cites polls that support spending cuts and tax increases to argue that people — that’s The People, PostScript guesses — want more leadership to compromise from him and Obama:

Speaker Boehner, you need to exert some “leadership” over your own party before it drives completely over a cliff. A majority of Americans – including a majority of Republicans – favor a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to just spending cuts (Americans overall: 76-19; Republicans: 56-42). And even 70% of Tea Party supporters opposed cutting Medicare.

And then an amazing thing happens. The two realities, THE TWAIN … meet. Over at the corner of “stop arguing with the President if you don’t need to” lane and “just do the things you say are so important to do already” alley.

kitchendragon50

For heaven’s sake, stop trying to negotiate with the President. Return to regular order. Pass legislation and send to the Senate. Put the onus on Reid and the Democrats to act. Negotiate in reconciliation. If the President wants to offer opinions, that is his prerogative. If the Senate “gridlocks”, advertise as such. The American people will replace them in 2014.

freddie11

Agree. What better press conference than a display of all the bipartisan House bills that Reid has tabled over the past four years, refusing to allow to the floor of the Senate for debate or vote? Stop talking, visual aids, lots of them, Reid is the obstruction, time to get the message out loud and clear.

truthwillout

Well, you got that dead right, Kitchen. First rule of negotiations – don’t include anyone at the table that doesn’t need to be there. The budget belongs to congress and that’s where the negotiations belong. If Boehner and Reid can strike a deal and get something passed, there is nothing that has happened in the last 5 years that suggests Obama won’t sign it. He’ll pretty much yield to anything that Senate leaders say they need. But of course, Boehner is negotiating with Obama because he knows that the Senate is a much heavier lift. He wants Obama to do his negotiating with the Senate. Now, who’s not showing leadership again?

Is anyone but PostScript surprised at how wonkish and civil and constructive today’s missive has been? It’s like we were led here. Goosebumps.

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Jonathan Capehart | March 14, 2013