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December 22, 2012

Confirmed: John Boehner Is In Over His Head. Way Over His Head

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating look inside the fiscal cliff negotiations.

I think it's supposed to be a pro-Boehner piece that shows he was willing to go the extra mile at every turn only to run into an immovable object...Barack Obama. That much is true but the image of Boehner either not realizing or not caring that he was trying to "negotiate" with someone who was only interested in accepting nis surrender is depressing.

Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn't reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.

At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, "I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?"

"You get nothing," the president said. "I get that for free."

After the election, Boehner aides tried to shape the debate by offering early concessions, including that the GOP would agree to raise new tax revenue. A speech Mr. Boehner planned to give was rewritten 18 times and included input from top Republican leaders.

So after being told his initial concession was a gift that Obama had no intent on reciprocating Boehner then prepares....ANOTHER CONCESSION? What world is this guy living in?

On Dec. 13, Mr. Boehner went to the White House at the president's request, joking he was going to the woodshed.

The president told him he could choose one of two doors. The first represented a big deal. If Mr. Boehner chose it, the president said, the country and financial markets would cheer. Door No. 2 represented a spike in interest rates and a global recession.

Mr. Boehner said he wanted a deal along the lines of what the two men had negotiated in the summer of 2011 in a fight over raising the debt ceiling. "You missed your opportunity on that," the president told him.

That night, the speaker and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) decided to make the biggest concession so far.

Two problems here.

First, once again Boehner is given an ultimatum by Obama and Boehner's (and Cantor's, don't forget that) reaction is to offer "the biggest concession" to date.

Look, I loathe Barack Obama but why would he put anything on the table if all he has to do is wait for Boehner and Cantor to cook up another unilateral concession? Obama is a lying SOB but he's not an idiot.

The bigger problem to me is the idea that Boehner "joked" (because this is soooo funny!) that he was going to "the woodshed".

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is a constitutional officer just like the President. Boehner heads one of the co-equal branches of government. If he is psychologically unprepared to meet the challenge of fulfilling his constitutional obligation to serve as a check and balance on the Executive, he needs to go.

This isn't the first time Boehner has shown he's simply not up to the task of dealing with the President.

Obviously Boehner or anyone in his spot is playing a very, very weak hand. Boehner however is playing it like he has no hand and is just giving Obama his chips a couple at a time.

What could Boehner do? Change the rules, play a different game. Not so much to win everything but to minimize his (our) loses.

He could start by ignoring Obama and dragging the Senate Democrats into this.

Pass the GOP's bottom line offer and when the Senate doesn't take it up, pass something else sightly less attractive to the Democrats. Rinse, lather, repeat. Make it clear not agreeing with them only makes things worse, not better.

And yes, the DMM will be on Obama's side. So make them cover things on your terms.

Make a stupid West Wing PR gesture and have Boehner walk over to the Senate and try and negotiate with Harry Reid in public. Brietbart one of his pressers if you have to.

Do something. And do it publicly. If people can't see it, it won't count because of the DMM.

When you're weak you have to try something different because by the accepted rules, you're weak.

Would something like that have worked? Who knows but it couldn't be any worse from a policy or PR position than we are now and this position was entirely foreseeable.

Added: I propose we start using "Boehner" as a verb: "To utterly and publicly screw up".

Andy has a great example.

The Jets really Boehnered that contract with Sanchez.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 12:36 PM

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