Police officers often apprehend car thieves in stolen cars, or shoplifters wearing stolen merchandise, and instantly face a barrage of lies and excuses that are so unbelievably bizarre it is almost enough to make one embarrassed for the criminal frantic to avoid arrest. Yesterday, Speaker of the House John Boehner penned an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal that was tantamount to a criminal attempting to lie his way out of trouble after being caught red-handed, and if the subject were not so serious, one might pity Boehner’s peculiar attempt at logic and desperate pack of lies in his screed, but sequestration cuts are serious; Boehner is not. What Americans can take away from Boehner, and Republicans as a group, is that they are aware their rigid obstructionism and hostage-taking are bearing fruit in plain view of the public and their feeble attempt to cast blame on the President portrays them as lost and desperate.
The theme of Boehner’s fantasy-filled essay was “it’s all Obama’s fault,” and that Republicans are well-aware of the sequester’s devastating effects “that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more,” but still the GOP are determined to allow the $1.2 trillion sequester go into effect unless President Obama agrees to an equal amount of entitlement spending cuts. Many Republicans are scoffing at the paltry $85 billion in domestic cuts, but Boehner opined the amount is indeed “deep” and devastating, but unlike Boehner and Republicans, President Obama wants to avoid them making Republicans look unreasonable and deliberately imposing unnecessary damage to national security and the economy.
Boehner, wrote that it was unfortunate the President “has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress,” but the President has proposed a plan that asks both sides to compromise, as have Senate and House Democrats, as well as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but Republicans have offered nothing. Boehner claimed “House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security” and through his spokesman said, “We support replacing the indiscriminate cuts in the sequester with smarter cuts and reforms (of an equal amount). That’s what we did with the sequester replacement bills written by Chairman Ryan that we passed last year.”
Last year was 112th Congress, and any eighth-grader knows bills, replacement or otherwise, passed in one house of Congress in the last session are moot in the current session, but when your only point of argument is fallacy, there’s little reason attend reality, and if Republicans do support replacement cuts: where is their proposal? The GOP is hopelessly clueless and desperate to avoid the blame they know the American people will saddle them with, and in lieu of even giving the appearance of a plan, or care about America, their last-ditch effort is blaming the President. However, even some Republicans understand the gravity of the sequester and that it does not fall under the purview of the President and one spoke up. Justin Amash (R-MI), is no friend of the Obama Administration, but he sees the folly of blaming the President for the sequester. He said, “it’s a mistake on the part of Republicans to try to pin the sequester on Obama, it’s totally disingenuous. The debt ceiling deal in 2011 was agreed to by Republicans and Democrats, you can’t vote for something and, with a straight face, go blame the other guy for its existence in law.” Amash has only been in Congress since 2011, so maybe he missed the memo that part and parcel of being a Republican is “blaming the other guy” for everything; especially Republican economic malfeasance.
The serious nature of the debt ceiling situation in 2011 will go down as a watershed moment for Republican malfeasance because for the first time in American history, every member of the Republican caucus held the debt ceiling hostage and gave President Obama the price for ransoming the credit and good faith of the United States. If the President failed to give Republicans more than $2 trillion in debt reduction, Republicans would crash the economy on purpose leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to boast, “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting, most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming,” and said “he could imagine doing this again.” In fact, he promised that “it set the template for the future. The President will not get the debt ceiling increased without spending cuts in 2013, so we’ll be doing it all over.” Republicans balked at a balanced approach to deficit reduction en masse in the debt limit crisis and during super-committee negotiations that set the course for the sequester to go into effect in eight days.
Republicans own the sequestration cuts and despite Boehner’s accusation it falls on President Obama, they cannot convince anyone it is not their intransigence that will damage national security and the economy. Perhaps Boehner took the time to pen his screed because a 2011 presentation he gave regarding the Republican’s use of the sequester as a strategy surfaced that has his name, literally, all over it. Boehner’s desperation was most evident in blaming the President’s demand for a balance of revenue and cuts to avoid the sequester, and it proves Republicans still cannot accept November’s election results. He said, “The president has repeatedly called for tax revenue, but the American people don’t support trading spending cuts for higher taxes,” and it leads one to wonder if Republicans are even in the same universe as the rest of America. Besides the results of the election, the people have overwhelmingly supported a balanced approach to deficit reduction and especially new revenue Republicans reject out of hand.
Boehner is the worst Speaker of the House since Newt Gingrich, and his inability to work with the President, or control his caucus, cannot possibly come at a more inopportune time. He can attempt to lay blame on the President and Democrats, but they have proposed several options to avoid sequester cuts while Republicans are pointing fingers instead of even attempting to stop certain damage to national security and the economy their sequester will bring. Yesterday the Department of Defense notified Congress it will be furloughing its civilian workforce of 800,000 employees if sequestration goes into effect on March 1, and House Democrats called for Congress to return from their vacation to get to work to prevent the damage the across-the-board sequester brings in eight days. Boehner’s answer is to blame the President and bemoan the “deep and devastating” cuts to national security and the economy, and write a 900-word op/ed full of mendacity that defies reality and demonstrates Republicans are desperate and guilty.