Boehner Pops His Head Up Again-- Blue America Responds
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It was early morning and Boehner was sober when he got to the City Club of Cleveland to give voters a sneak peak at what he hopes will one day be Speaker John Boehner. I'm sure the corporate interests that have invested millions of dollars in his political career to date were happy with the performance. Like I said, he wasn't drunk, although he seemed to start off by making excuses for his alcoholism by blaming his father for making him work in a bar. And he got most of their talking points across: extension of tax cuts for millionaires and clamping down on all discretionary spending that isn't for Big Business. The theme of the speech was that it was time for the grownups to take over the economy. That should have signaled him walking off the stage. As Steve Benen pointed out at the Washington Monthly, "In the early 1990s, John Boehner (R-Ohio) was absolutely convinced that President Clinton's economic agenda would be a disaster. He was wrong. Early on in the last decade, Boehner couldn't have been more certain that President Bush's economic agenda would generate incredible prosperity. And last year, Boehner just knew that President Obama's recovery efforts wouldn't help the economy at all. Boehner, in other words, is one of those rare officials with an uninterrupted track record of complete and total failure."
Boehner's vision is absurd; his credibility is non-existent; and his policy prescription is a joke. I realize that he's trying to position himself as a future Speaker of the House -- today represents an audition of sorts-- and even had the audacity to include this in his speech: "It's time to put grown-ups in charge. It's time for people willing to accept responsibility."
But that's crazy. Boehner should be begging for forgiveness, not power. If he's willing to "accept responsibility," he can start by acknowledging that his ideal economic agenda-- those tried from 2001 to 2008-- was an abysmal failure. Indeed, the centerpiece of what Boehner calls a "fresh start" is an extension of the Bush-era tax policies that led to weak growth, a stunted job market, and a massive deficit.
This "fresh start" is literally just the Bush/Cheney agenda-- Bush's tax rates, Bush's regulatory structure, Bush's domestic policies-- coupled with a vague promise to cut spending somewhere, at some time, affecting someone.
As for putting "grown-ups in charge," maybe now would be a good time to point out that the American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein recently described Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor as "the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious."
Boehner genuinely seems to believe that if we just go back to the policies that got us into this mess, maybe they'll work this time. That agenda already failed once, and it doesn't make a lick of sense, but that's no reason not to give it another shot, right? Boehner hopes, in other words, that a national amnesia has swept the land.
Vice President Biden was the first Adminstration official to respond to Boehner's audition. His immediate reaction was that Boehner's "major economic address" wasn't very constructive.
Let's just review a little history here: For eight years before we arrived, Mr. Boehner and his party ran this economy and the middle class into the ground.
They took the $237 billion surplus they inherited from the Clinton Administration and left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and, in the process, quadrupled the national debt-- all before we had turned on the lights in the West Wing.
They gave free rein to the special interests to write their own rules at the expense of everybody else.
And the sum total of it was the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression-- a crisis that wreaked havoc on families and businesses across this country-- a crisis from which we are still digging out.
The head of their campaign committee, Representative Pete Sessions, said that if they were to take control of Congress this fall-- which, by the way, they won't-- that they would go back to "the exact same agenda" they were pushing before President Obama took office.
They think the policies they had in place during the Bush years-- the ones Mr. Boehner helped craft and sell-- were the right ones. Well, let me tell you, there are millions and millions of Americans who saw their paychecks shrink or their jobs, houses, and savings vanish. Mr. Boehner is nostalgic for those good old days…the American people are not.
They don't want to go back. They want to move forward.
Now let me respond to a few specific points Mr. Boehner raised: On taxes, let's be clear on what this debate is all about: the big tax cuts of the last decade are scheduled to expire. This President says the middle class can't afford higher taxes in the midst of this recession. They've borne the brunt of it.
So the President proposes we extend the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans.
What Mr. Boehner wants to do is extend the tax cut to the other two percent. That means we’re going to have to borrow $700 billion we don’t have to give a $100,000 a year tax cut to millionaires.
This is a tax cut they don’t need, and they won’t use to create jobs or economic growth.
So to justify that, he has created this myth that a tax cut for millionaires is actually a tax cut for small business.
There aren't three percent of small businesses in America that would qualify for that tax cut. It's a Wall Street tax cut, not a Main Street tax cut. At the same time, they’re blocking the genuine $12 billion tax cut for small businesses we proposed.
Also, he wants to give U.S. companies that shift jobs and profits overseas a tax credit for taxes they don’t even pay.
We've seen this movie before, Mr. Boehner. We know how it turns out. And the American people deserve something different and something better.
The rest of his so-called plan doesn’t offer any real economic agenda, it merely is a list of things he thinks the President shouldn’t do.
So after all of this buildup and hype, all we know is what John Boehner and his Republican colleagues are against. We still haven’t heard what they’re for.
So let’s be clear about the kind of change this administration supports.
Today, Secretary Duncan will make an announcement about Race to the Top, which is our plan to reward states that are willing to take bold steps and change the way we educate our children.
It’s striking that Mr. Boehner’s economic address was devoid of any proposal to improve America’s schools.
And another key to our economic future that Mr. Boehner ignored is what we’re here to discuss: innovation.
Let me tell you basic formula: Government plants the seeds, the private sector makes them grow, and we launch entire industries, create hundreds of thousands jobs, and spark new forms of commerce that were once unimaginable, allowing us to dominate the 21st century like we did in the 20th.
...When we passed the Recovery Act, our goals were three-fold:• To rescue a rapidly deteriorating economy;
• To put the country on a path to recovery by getting Americans back to work quickly; and
• To reinvest in the country’s long-term economic future.
On the first two counts, we’re making progress: We’ve created 3 million jobs, and we’re adding jobs every month. The economy has been growing for a full year.
In the last six months of the Bush Administration, we lost 3 million private sector jobs. In the first seven months of this year, we created 630,000 private sector jobs.
We’re turning this around.
Now, it’s not happening as fast as any of us would like, and certainly not fast enough for the millions of folks who are still out of work. But there isn’t any doubt-- we’re moving in the right direction.
Think Progress fact-checked Boehner's speech. Short version: Boehner lied his ass off. His address was filled with falsehoods and distortions, top to bottom. As they explained, he "relies on tired, false arguments to push the standard GOP agenda of tax cuts for the rich and corporations and fewer regulations that protect workers and consumers"... an "attempt to bamboozle people with his economic double-talk." Even though the speech wasn't serious, right wing corporate media will treat it as such so it's worth going through, point by point, all his misleading drivel.
Meanwhile, the DNC and DCCC solicit money to use to help keep reactionary, anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-healthcare, pro-Wall Street, pro-War Blue Dogs in office-- who vote with Boehner-- by demonizing Boehner. Notice this DNC ad below, which I like a lot. They used it yesterday-- while Justin Coussoule was racking up endorsements from Tim Ryan (D-OH), Steve Filner (D-CA) and the Congressional Progressive Caucus-- to ask for money: "Boehner's horrible; he's going to eat your children; send us your money." But not a world about Boehner having an opponent. But he does; it's Justin Coussoule and you can donate towards electing him and defeating Boehner right here. Remember, when Boehner is shrieking "Where are the jobs, Mr. President," it isn't the DCCC or DNC telling voters in southwestern Ohio that it was Boehner who engineered the 2008 no-strings-attached Wall Street bailout; it's Justin Coussoule. And it isn't the DNC or the DCCC telling voters in Ohio that the trade policies, like NAFTA, that Boehner has been pushing for two decades explains where the jobs are; it's Justin Coussoule. Let's help him.
Justin Coussoule Responds To Boehner's Backward Approach
This just came in from the Coussoule campaign:
While Rep. John Boehner points fingers at Democrats and Obama’s financial team on his latest soapbox whistle stop of the “Boehner for Speaker” Tour, citizens in Southwest Ohio are wondering when Mr. Boehner will come pay his respects to the dying economy of his home district. His opponent, veteran Justin Coussoule (pronounced kuh-SOO-lee), is urging all of Boehner’s constituents who have lost their jobs on his watch to call Boehner’s office demanding real solutions to Ohio’s struggles.
“It’s simple,” said Coussoule, who is mounting the first significant challenge Boehner has faced since taking office in the early 1990s. “Once again our representative is governing with rhetoric and not real ideas. He enjoys exploiting the myopic view of Ohio’s economy over the last 19 months, but we’ve been struggling here for much longer than that. If you’ve lost your job on Mr. Boehner’s watch-- that’s a 20-year period-- then I urge you to call his office and demand substantive solutions. That’s (202) 543-7590 for his Washington office and (513) 779-5400 for his office in West Chester, Ohio.”
"We've tried 19 months of government-as-community organizer. It hasn't worked,” said Boehner to the exclusive City Club of Cleveland. However jobs in Ohio, manufacturing jobs in particular, have been on a steep decline for much longer than 19 months. Unemployment in the six-county 8th District has been on the rise since 2001. Boehner’s policies helped increase outsourcing practices that began in the mid-1990s and continued during the Bush years, causing unemployment numbers to spike. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between 2000 and 2007, Dayton, OH lost 31.2 percent of its manufacturing jobs and Ohio overall lost 22.6 percent. Where was Boehner during this hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs?
“If the would-be Speaker of the House is frustrated after 19 months,” said Coussoule. “Imagine how those of us left in his home district are feeling after 19 YEARS of Mr. Boehner’s failed representation. Fixing the economy isn’t about firing financial advisors or extending tax cuts to the wealthy-- these are political distractions.Quite frankly, outside of Mr. Boehner’s gated neighborhood, there aren’t that many wealthy Americans left here in the 8th District. This is about finding a way for Americans, and Ohioans in particular, to begin making things again-- manufacturing products, erecting new infrastructure. This is about real leadership and true public service, both of which have been missing here for far too long.”
Coussoule followed up with another plea for the people of the Ohio 8th District to call Boehner for answers.
“If enough people call, maybe he will finally pay attention to his district for the first time,” said Coussoule. “And if not, then at least the people of Ohio will know where they stand with their current representative.”
Washington Post poll on Boehner's speech today