President Obama handed John Boehner the ultimate humiliation today by laughing off Speaker of the House’s threat that the president must negotiate on the debt ceiling or else.
Transcript of Obama on ABC’s This Week:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Speaker Boehner says, “Listen, you just have to sit down and negotiate with me.” Are you still absolutely refusing to talk, in any way, shape or form?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No. No, no. Keep in mind- my position here, George. ‘Cause I’ve- I have been through this a couple times (CHUCKLE) with Speaker Boehner. What I’m- what I’ve said is, with respect to the budget, we’ve presented our budget. And now it’s the job of Congress to come up with a budget that keeps our long-term trends down of- or- or- or our- our current trends of- of reducing the deficit moving forward, but also allows us to invest in the things that we need to grow.
And I’ve told him, and I’ve told the country, what I think we need to do. I’m happy to have a conversation with him about how we can deal with the so-called sequester, which is making across-the-board cuts on stuff that we shouldn’t be cutting, while continuing tax breaks, for example, for companies that are not helping to grow the economy. There are ways of doing this, it’s just that they haven’t been willing to negotiate in a serious way on that. What I haven’t been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling.
Republicans might want to rethink this whole scare Obama into spending cuts with a threat not to raise the debt ceiling plan, because the president isn’t looking scared. The only person who should be scared here is Speaker John Boehner, because Obama clearly has the upper hand.
The president has been around the block more than a few times with Boehner and his House Republicans. He knows how this drama plays out. Despite all of their huffy warnings of doom, everyone knows that the wealthy billionaires who fund many Republican campaigns do not want their party to crash the economy (again).
President Obama was burned by Boehner the first time that he tried to negotiate, and he learned a valuable lesson. Unless Obama will negotiate with them, all Republicans have are empty threats. When Obama waits the House Republicans out, he wins. The president has nothing to lose. The pressure is all on the House Republicans. They are up for reelection next year. Paying the nation’s bills is their constitutional duty. House Republicans will feel the wrath of the voters if they hurt the economy.
The president knows that Boehner’s threats are meaningless. He can laugh them off because they are nothing more than hot air from an empty suit. House Republicans keep trying the same crisis creating tactics and failing. President Obama already knows how the debt ceiling issue is going to end, and whether they’ll admit it or not, Republicans do too.
All John Boehner has accomplished with his threats is to make himself and his party an even bigger punchline.