Thursday, August 16, 2012

Boehner Dysfunction


Who remembers when Republicans stood up to their own leaders and just said no to Bush's and Treasury Secretary Henry's Paulsen's (i.e., GoldmanSachs') gigantic giveaway to the Wall Street banksters? No, they really did. Listen up. On September 29, 2008, Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, and the rest of the GOP leadership tried to get their party to back the TARP bailout. Boehner wept in the well of the House about how urgent it was to bailout the banksters. But they lost. 133 Republicans voted NO and the bill failed 205-228. Paulsen and Bush became hysterical and they tasked Boehner, Cantor and Ryan with sweetening the bill with enough pork, reintroducing it and passing it. The other day, we looked at Ryan's disgraceful role in this episode. He and the other two thugs threatened, blackmailed and bribed enough of their Members to pass it a few days later. On October 3, only 108 Republicans voted NO; they had turned 25 and Bush's TARP bailout passed 263-171. Ryan, Cantor and Boehner were very well-rewarded by the banksters, who have funneled millions of dollars into their political careers.

Yesterday it was revealed that Boehner is still bitter about the Republicans who refused to go along with him and he referred to them as "knuckle-draggers" (as in stupid cave men). He was on Fox, trying to defend Ryan's decisive role in the bailout. In Boehner's world the "knuckle-draggers" who stood up to Wall Street and Bush were Republicans like Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Steve Chabot (R-OH), John Mica (R-FL), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Tim Johnson (R-IL), GOP Senate candidates Dean Heller (R-NV), Todd Akin (R-MO), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Connie Mack (R-FL), as well as actual knuckledraggers like Bachmann (R-MN), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Steve King (R-IA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Paul Broun (R-GA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Ed Royce (R-CA).

You probably saw that Congress' approval rating-- the Congress run by obstructionists John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan-- is at an all-time historical low. Another poll found that even in his own state (Ohio), only 35% of the voters approve of Boehner's work. It turns out that his is the least productive Congress since 1947-- another time Republicans were dragging their feet and undermining the country in a (failed) attempt to defeat a Democratic president (Truman). It was a tiny bit of a stretch to blame Romney for Congress... until he named Ryan to his ticket.
Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate is a 14-year veteran of Congress and currently chairs the House Budget Committee.

Romney’s decision to pick Ryan to share the national ticket has caused all sorts of ripple effects-- Medicare, anyone?-- not least in giving new life to Democratic attempts to elevate House Republicans in the presidential race.

On Monday in Iowa, Obama described Ryan as “one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way” of passage of the farm bill.

And the president-- currently in the midst of a three-day Iowa campaign swing-- has taken to describing Ryan, as he did during a stop on Tuesday in Oskaloosa, as “the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress.”

None of that is by accident. Obama and his campaign team have been working for months to link Romney to the unpopular policies of congressional Republicans with very limited success, due to the fact that the former Massachusetts governor has never served a day in federal office.

In putting Ryan-- a man who has spent the past 20-plus years of his life in and around conservative circles in Washington-- on the ticket, Romney has breathed new life into Obama’s “Mitt Romney=congressional Republicans” hit.

I'm sure Boehner didn't want to take any flack from the knuckledraggers and knuckleheads in his caucus but he called them all together on a conference call Tuesday evening for a pep talk about the thrashing they're all getting in the media, mostly because of the attention coming their way because of Romney's desperate Ryan selection. Politico reported he was trying to calm them. Many of them-- mostly in swing districts, of course-- realize that stupid vote to kill Medicare is going to end their political careers in November. Republicans in swing districts who haven't made deals with Steve Israel-- either directly or through Wall Street lobbyists who give to both camps-- are sweating.
Ryan had been placed on the ticket, Democrats had been planning a fall campaign assault centered on attacking Republicans on Medicare. The Speaker also explained that Ryan, a 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman and House Budget Committee chairman, presented Republicans with their best defense.

“The pundits are buzzing that with Paul on the ticket, the Democrats are going to attack us on Medicare,” Boehner told members on the call, according to two sources familiar with the Speaker’s remarks. “Well, here’s a news flash: they were gonna do that anyway.”

...Republicans were caught flat-footed in a May 2011 special House election in which Democrats relentlessly tied the GOP candidate to the Ryan budget plan after she expressed her support for it. Democrats carpet-bombed the senior-heavy upstate New York district with TV ads casting the Republican, Jane Corwin, as cold-hearted and determined to slash benefits.

Here are some of the districts (yes, under the new boundaries) that Obama won in 2008 but where Steve Israel is giving out free reelection passes to vulnerable Republicans.
CA-25- Buck McKeon, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
FL-13- Bill Young, Chairman, Subcommittee of Defense (Appropriations Committee)
FL-26- David Rivera, protected by the Fanjul brothers & their top lackey Debbie Wasserman Schultz
MI-04- Dave Camp, Chairman, House Ways and Means
MI-06- Fred Upton, Chairman, House Energy and Commerce
MI-08- Mike Rogers , Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
MI-11- (McCotter/open)- progressive opponent
NY-02- Peter King, crony of Israel's, Chairman, Homeland Security Committee
NY-23- Tom Reed- progressive opponent
PA-16- Joe Pitts, Chairman Energy Subcommittee (Energy and Commerce Committee)
TX-16- [Silvestre Reyes/open]- progressive challenger
VA-10- Frank Wolf- Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce (Appropriations Committee)
WI-01- Paul Ryan- Chairman, Budget Committee

Once again, Steve Israel has a policy of not going after powerful (and destructive) senior Republican leaders. The DCCC made sure Boehner would have no opponent at all and Israel isn't doing squat for the Democrats running against Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan or any of the others.

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