Profiles in Ineptitude: a Timeline of the Boehner Debacle

Can someone send a copy of Negotiating for Dummies to Speaker Boehner? Please consider the Speaker’s feckless statements and actions over the last several months — after being handed his position by a huge groundswell of conservative support known as the Tea Party movement.

1/7/2011: Boehner Doubles Down On Promise To Cut $100 Billion: “Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) yesterday doubled down on $100 billion in cuts. ‘No ifs, ands or buts about it,’ he said.”

2/20/2011: House Approves $61 Billion Spending Cuts, Raising Risk of Federal Shutdown: “Senate Democrats already have said they won’t accept the cuts in the $1.2 trillion spending bill, and Obama’s budget office has threatened a presidential veto. ”

3/2/2011: Boehner: Compromise Will Trim GOP’s $61 Billion Budget Cuts: “Responding to a question Tuesday about whether he foresees the House ultimately budging from the $61 billion figure, the Ohio Republican did not say that the chamber would hold firm when the Senate returns their proposal, which will likely include less than a $61 billion reduction in spending levels.”

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3/10/2011: Tea Party pressures Boehner in budget battle: “Complaints by Tea Party Republicans have already forced Boehner to almost double the amount of spending cuts proposed this year from $32 billion.”

4/4/2011: Boehner says $33 billion in cuts is not enough: “I’ve made clear that their $33 billion is not enough and many of the cuts that the White House and Senate Democrats are talking about are full of smoke and mirrors. That’s unacceptable,” the Speaker said.

4/7/2011: Interviewed on ABC News, Speaker Boehner vows not to shut down the government over a 2011 “continuing resolution” budget impasse: “I’ve said that 1,000 times since the first of the year. I do not want to shut the government down. I think that is irresponsible.” [Ed: As an aside, the government has been shut down numerous times in recent years including a 21-day impasse during the Clinton administration.]

4/12/2011: Boehner touts fact that ”Budget Agreement Eliminates Funding for Obama Czars’ as a reason to support the continuing resolution budget deal.

4/14/2011: Boehner: I’m standing by the $38 billion number: Boehner stands by the $38 billion in cuts, saying that this was really “$78.5 billion less than what the president wanted to spend… [and that he was] very disappointed in [Obama’s] speech yesterday,”

4/15/2011: CBO Says Spending Cuts Aren’t As Advertised: “The Congressional Budget Office reports that the $38 billion in cuts to the budget for the current fiscal year will actually reduce this year’s deficit by only about $352 million.”

4/16/2011: Boehner’s office is not surprised Obama found a way to circumvent Congress, according to a staffer. A spokesman for Boehner said that the Speaker was not surprised that Obama has chosen to ignore the budget rider eliminating funding for the “Czars”.

In other words, Boehner held the trump card — a partial shutdown of the government — in his hands and threw it away. Without leverage, he was unable to live up to anything resembling his promises. Promises that the American people support and demand.

As Paul Ryan put it after witnessing the president’s hyper-partisan campaign speech on Wednesday, “the gauntlet has been thrown down” by Obama. He’s gone all in. The big entitlement programs and the American economic system itself are headed for collapse. That’s not what I say. That’s what Peter Orszag, Obama’s former economic adviser, says: ‘If policymakers will not act before we have a fiscal crisis at the federal level, a fiscal crisis we will ultimately have.’

We need a new Speaker of the House. Someone who understands that we’re up against true sixties radicals. These are people who want to see the whole society burn down. Because that’s where we’re headed without a major course correction.

We need a fighter and a competent negotiator. Boehner has proven that he ain’t it.

How does Speaker of the House Allen West sound?

Related: “Obama: Yeah, I know Democrats Agreed to the 2011 Spending Deal, But the Speaker’s an Idiot for Believing We’d Abide By It


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