While critical of Speaker Boehner, I have always been reluctant to call for his ouster — after all, who will replace him? Does the GOP really need additional party disunity right now? However, after the final weekend of the 112th Congress, it has become clear that a change in leadership is necessary. It’s not because he compromised on the deal — it’s how he compromised.
Speaker Boehner not only voted in favor of the bill, which added $4 trillion to the debt and extended a wide range of tax breaks to industries such as Hollywood and NASCAR. He also pushed for it to come up for a floor vote without any deal-breaking spending-cut amendments. In the end, only 84 Republicans joined Boehner and 172 Democrats to pass the bill.
Why? Because he didn’t want House Republicans to look bad. When all was said and done, he refused to bring the Sandy Relief bill to the floor, causing a vocal rebellion from GOP Congressman Peter King, making the House Republican Caucus look heartless.
The day after the the election, Boehner was making concessions, saying he was open to raising more tax revenue to reduce deficits — a key Democratic requirement — but only if it was done through tax reform that lowers income tax rates and in conjunction with entitlement reform.
That’s like walking into an auto dealership and saying “I am willing to pay sticker price if you give me an extra set of floor mats.” Heck, the starting position should be to say you want the discount and the floor mats!
After getting nothing but silence from the White House, Boehner followed up with a formal plan offering $800 billion in revenue increases by closing “loopholes.” Still with no proposal from the president, Boehner offered his “Plan B.” Finally after losing control of his caucus, he left it all up to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was bound to come up with a less than positive solution.
Let’s face it: The guy does not know how to negotiate … and he got played like a fiddle. It seems as though Boehner negotiated against himself more than he negotiated with the president. It’s one thing to lose fighting, but he never attacked the president’s positions, never mentioned that there were already $1 trillion in new taxes starting January first. He never even got in front of the podium yesterday to say, “I can’t vote for this bill because it adds $4 trillion to the deficit.”
Instead of trying to take a stand, from the very onset, Boehner was trying to “prevent the GOP from looking bad.” Guess what, Mr. Speaker: Now hat its all done, the GOP looks very bad.
And then to add more stupidity to his leadership, he refused to bring Hurricane Sandy relief to the floor. Yes it has tons of pork, but he just voted for a fiscal cliff compromise that added $4 trillion to the deficit. By not allowing a vote on the relief plan, he brought back images of Republicans pushing granny off the cliff …. except this time it wasn’t granny: It was all of coastal New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The fiscal cliff “debate” was the first of many conflicts that will take place over the next few months. In order to help this country and cut the crushing debt it faces, we need to have a new strategy — which can only come with a new Republican leadership.
Its time for a change — for the good of the country.
Cross-posted from The Lid.