Wednesday, August 04, 2010

FORE! Boehner Is Lying Again... Lying About Taxes, Lying About The Deficit, Lying About Discrimination Against Women, Lying About Golf


The first Blue America billboard went up this week along the I-75 not far from John Boehner's gated golfing community in West Chester. Boehner reacted immediately, whining and equivocating to the Cincinnati Enquirer-- which promptly demolished his absurd excuses for golfing away the days. He's trying to claim there's a difference between "golf events" paid for with lobbyist cash and the fact that he spent one day out of three on the links. No one's falling for that-- not any more than they fell for his bogus claims earlier this week that he was ignorant that his support for Bush's tax cuts for multimillionaires would lead to an explosion of the deficit. David Stockman, Reagan's Office of Budget and Management chief, wrote Sunday that this argument is blatantly, even willfully, deceptive, and we'll be getting more into Stockman's analysis later today. Speaker Pelosi called Boehner out on his obfuscation last week as well.
In a meeting at the White House with President Obama and Congressional leaders from both parties yesterday, House Republican Leader John Boehner reportedly claimed he didn’t know the deficit-exploding Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans were intentionally designed to kick their enormous cost down the road to the next Administration:
Mr. Obama, who did not join the Senate until 2005, reminded Mr. Boehner and the Senate Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that the tax cuts’ architects purposely left the deficit problem to a future administration, according to aides from both parties.

“I wasn’t there,” Mr. Boehner quickly countered. “I didn’t structure that deal.”

The room briefly went quiet as participants seemed to ponder that statement from a legislator first elected in 1990…

It’s difficult to understand how Mr. Boehner “wasn’t there” as the tax package was crafted with a 10-year sunset to disguise the true cost when he, as Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, was instrumental in designing the education provisions included in the tax cut package, voted in favor of it and witnessed George W. Bush sign the bill into law at the signing ceremony.

Boehner went running to the Cincinnati Enquirer then too, which reported on June 8, 2001, "'This was a very big success for President Bush and the Congress,'" said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, one of several Tristate lawmakers who attended the signing ceremony at the White House." He was as "there" as he has been at the 19th hole for so much of his career.

And not just any 19th hole. According to a January 12, 2006, report in U.S. News & World Report, Boehner has a very serious handicap that has largely been swept under the carpet: his golf club near DC, Burning Tree, doesn't just bar women members, it doesn't even allow women on the premises! They pointed out he has a "girl problem."
He's a member of one of Washington's few places where women still can't go: The Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Md. "I do belong to Burning Tree," he told us unapologetically. And, he kids, "I don't know of a female who would want to go out there with all those old fogies." The country club's rules have sometimes been a problem for the collection of politicians who play there...

Boehner's one of the House's well-known golfers. He claims a 6 handicap. When we first asked his office about the issue, they skipped the spin and put him on the phone in five minutes. During the interview, Boehner explained how he ended up a member of the club some three years ago. First, he was invited to a golf event and then tapped to talk to members when the scheduled speaker backed out. "I guess they liked the job that I did and invited me to become a member," he said. Like other members, Boehner had sponsors, a retired Army general, and the then head of Norfolk & Southern's Washington office. And, he added, "I pay the same fees that everybody else does." That's a $75,000 initiation fee plus monthly dues of $500 a month, according to reports.

Back to the issue at hand. We asked how he'll deal with criticism that he belongs to a sexist club. "I belong to a club in Ohio that is wide open, Wetherington Golf & Country Club, where I play with my neighbors and wife, whatever. My wife doesn't live here, she lives back in Ohio. I don't get out to Burning Tree to play very often. Wish I could, there's just not enough time." So, we ask, "you don't think it's that big of an issue? Boehner: "No, no, no."

Last week, writing for the Washington Monthly, Steve Benen also noticed Boehner's propensity for dishonesty, and went beyond where Speaker Pelosi was willing to venture. If you recall, she left off after the room went quiet at Boehner's assertion of not having been there. But the paragraph didn't actually end that way. It ended with this: "'How long have you been here?,' a Democrat asked Mr. Boehner, and the others broke out in laughter."
They're laughing at you, John, not with you.

It's a telling anecdote. The White House vision is to largely follow the game plan crafted by congressional Republicans less than a decade ago. It was the GOP's idea-- they passed tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy, and set the cuts to expire at the end of 2010. The point was to obscure the cuts' cost, play a dangerous budget game, and make it so that the GOP wouldn't have to pay for their own experiment. We saw the results, which can only fairly be described as "total failure."

Obama is prepared to do part of what Republicans included in their own plan-- letting tax rates for those making more than $250,000 return to the same levels that existed when the economy was strong, as was outlined in the Republican plan of the Bush era. Reminded of whose idea this was in the first place, Boehner, in effect, argued that he has nothing to do with the plan he voted for, and which was crafted by his own caucus.

Indeed, Boehner was, at the time, responsible at the committee level for helping shape the tax-cut package, and was on hand at the White House for the bill-signing ceremony.

No wonder the room broke out in laughter.

As for the substance, Boehner told the president allowing the higher rates to return to pre-Bush levels would be bad for small businesses (small businesses that need some help, which Senate Republicans have blocked). As a policy matter, Boehner's argument is patently ridiculous, but the fact that he's pushing it in a private meeting confirms my suspicions-- Boehner actually believes his own nonsense, and isn't quite sharp enough to realize he doesn't know what he's talking about.

In the meantime, Boehner is also urging Republicans to stop referring to the Bush tax cuts as the Bush tax cuts. GOP members are supposed to fight for the failed former president's tax policy, but avoid using the failed former president's name.

They really do think voters are fools.

Blue America will start running the 30-second ad in Ohio's 8th Congressional District. Can you chip in by donating to the Blue America PAC to help us keep them running?

And now a few immortal words from irreverent golfing expert George Carlin:

UPDATE: NBC-TV Seems To Have Noticed Our Billboard

No wonder Boehner is flipping out. The NBC affiliate goes way beyond the reach of our billboard or even our cable TV ads. This is the kind of coverage we were hoping for. Please help us keep the billboard up and spread it-- and the others-- around the district. You can do it here.

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At 11:31 AM, Anonymous me said...

Does a republican lie? Does a bear shit in the woods?

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The supporting stories Blue America sent suggest that indeed, the 119 golf outings is wrong: he headlined 119 fundraisers, not golf outings." From the Cincinnati Enquirer article you linked to.


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