Every speech Boehner gives about the debt posits that nothing has come before. Each one lays out entirely new lies, entirely new justifications for playing chicken with financial apocalypse. And each and every speech fails to say what this is *really* about: Winning the 2012 election with a field of terrible candidates against a still well-liked Obama.
The three huge sticking points are never mentioned on TV, never revealed by Boener or Cantor or any of the other GOP members, but they are well known nonetheless.
1. To raise the debt ceiling just enough so that they can have this fight again just before the 2012 election and grandstand on it.
2. To either repeal the Affordable Care Act or to get the Democrats on the record voting to end Medicare like the Republicans did.
3. To prevent the closing of tax loopholes that benefit the super-rich (i.e., the Carried Interest loophole, the corporate jet loophole, etc.)
And Obama and Harry Reid seem fine giving away everything else in the proposal, except the first two of these items. That should make it pretty clear that this has nothing, really, to do with debt or spending or sound governance and is all about subtle maneuvering for the 2012 election.
Which, sure, I get it. They're politicians who want to get re-elected and to have their hands on the steering wheel, but speaking as one of the thirty million unemployed or underemployed Americans, it makes me furious. All this time and money and attention is being given over to tiny squabbles for positioning and strategy for the 2012 races while no one is doing anything to create jobs. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Republican budget plan calls for laying off up to 700,000 MORE workers. Because that clearly is what our economy needs. More unemployed people.
And yes, in the end it's the Republicans fault. They made the deficit. They turned a routine vote into a hostage-taking situation with the fate of our economy at stake. And they are the ones who are refusing to spend money on job creation.
I just wish Obama would say this.
Obama fights full-tilt Tea Party crazy - Debt ceiling - Salon.com
I intended to write about President Obama's prime-time address on the debt ceiling, but House Speaker John Boehner's performance turned out to be the big news. Last seen Friday evening complaining that the president added new last-minute conditions in their debt-ceiling negotiations, Boehner now seems to have no memory of those negotiations, which by both parties' account left them about $400 billion apart. That's not chump change, but against the backdrop of an attempted $4 trillion deal, it didn't have to be a deal-breaker either.
But if you listened to Boehner Monday night, you'd think he and Obama never discussed a deal. In fact you'd believe the president never wanted any kind of deficit-reduction deal at all. In an impressive display of mendacity, Boehner told the American people the president wants "a blank check" to keep on spending, and the House GOP is serving "the American people" by resisting. Instead of talking about how he and Obama might close the gap they faced only three days ago, Boehner went full-tilt Tea Party crazy and presented his own plan, which requires not only brutal spending cuts but a balanced budget amendment -- as well as another congressional vote to hike the debt ceiling again at the height of the 2012 election season.
Can there be any doubt that the Republicans' only interest here is making Obama fail? Let's review all the ways they moved the goalposts since the 2010 elections gave them new power. In December Boehner told the New Yorker that raising the debt ceiling would be the new House majority’s "first really big adult moment," adding, "We’ll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we didn’t do it." For his part Obama said he expected a clean up or down vote, just like President Reagan got 18 times and George W. Bush got another seven times. But after Boehner negotiated his program-cuts-for-continuing-government deal, in April he began to make threats. "The president says I want you to send me a clean bill. Well guess what, Mr. President: Not a chance you’re going to get a clean bill," he told a GOP fundraiser. "There will not be an increase in the debt limit without something really, really big attached to it."
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