Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 6, 2010

BOEHNER'S BRAND OF 'LEADERSHIP'.... House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had a rather unpleasant stretch last week, with a controversy surrounding his comparison of the financial crisis to "an ant," and scuttlebutt from conservative media figure (and former House colleague) Joe Scarborough that Boehner is lazy.

But to my mind, the most important comments were published over the weekend, after Boehner spoke to the Washington Post's Dan Balz. The reporter asked the would-be House Speaker what voters could expect from a Republican-led chamber.

Beyond saying Republicans would scrub the budget for wasteful spending, a pledge regularly made and ignored by politicians of both parties, he offered no examples of what programs Republicans would actually cut.

Nor did he seem eager to tip his hand on the terms of entitlement reform. In his interview with the Tribune-Review, Boehner volunteered that the Social Security retirement age might need to be raised to 70 for younger workers but he would go no further.

Asked whether partial privatization of Social Security, which Republicans pushed unsuccessfully in 2005, would be part of a GOP agenda, he twice replied, "I have no idea."

Later, he called back to clarify, saying that what he meant to say was that, until Republicans complete their process of soliciting ideas from the American people, there will be no answer to that question. "We're not going to prejudge what's going to come out of this listening project."

Even for Boehner, this is bizarre. Four months before a critical midterm cycle, the top House Republican can't talk at all about what his party would do with power. Boehner wants to replace the Affordable Care Act, but he won't say with what. Boehner wants to cut spending, but he won't say where or how much or why the GOP should be considered credible on the subject after its recent failures. Boehner has pledged to have "an adult conversation" with the country about entitlements, but has "no idea" what kind of Social Security policy his caucus will pursue.

And to top it off with the ultimate cop-out, Boehner concludes that his taxpayer-financed gimmick -- a website in which House Republicans ignore ideas they don't like -- prevents him from sharing his own party's ideas.

This may seem like an odd concept to Boehner, but leadership requires those with vision and creativity to step up and point the way forward. For the leading House Republican to not have an agenda, and to wait for an online social-networking game to tell him what to think, is many things, but it sure isn't "leadership."

Steve Benen 12:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Comments

A bronze heathen idol with feet of clay ...

Posted by: Neil B on July 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

The fact is, though: the Republicans don't really need to do much of anything. All of the motivation to show up is with the enraged tea-tards, beyond the traditional Republican turnout advantage from midterm elections. Maybe if the Democrats stopped hippie-punching and actually served their base and generated some enthusiasm, it would be a different story.

Posted by: Jimmy Jazz on July 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Four months before a critical midterm cycle, the top House Republican can't talk at all about what his party would do with power.

Jimmy Jazz is right. The Tea Party movement is actually about shutting the government down. There's no better way to do that than by putting Republicans in charge of it. For the last 18 months the Republicans have shown EXACTLY what they will do given the majority — they will stop the African-American president from achieving anything.

Republicans don't want the oil cleaned up. They don't want better schools or jobs or anything actually DONE. They just want the black president to be stopped.

Boehner knows this. They all do.

Posted by: chrenson on July 6, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

There agenda is obvious. Destroy the Obama Presidency so a Republican can reclaim the White House in 2012. That's it. Nothing else.

If the eight years of a Bush Presidency (4 with Republicans in complete control of congress) it should have been that Republicans have no interest in actually governing.

What we can expect in 2013 if a Republican sits in the White House is an invasion of Iran, another round of tax cuts for wealthy Americans and further deregulation of the economy into a pure laize-faire capitalist paradise.

Posted by: thorin-1 on July 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the Republicans want to take back Congress this fall. With no agenda, they are better gumming up the works for 2 more years and then try to take Congress and the Presidency in 2012.

The last thing they probably want is to plainly illustrate that they cannot manage power. Michael Steele agrees.

Posted by: jb on July 6, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

It only appears strange to have a party that has defined itself anti American grasp for power over Americans . The most natural thing in the world is the desire to make enemies , for a right wing authoritarian . The scholarly neo cons that sussed out the fact that attacking Iraq was not only good for business , but good for Israel , are adepts at finger painting , and carrying American tax payers pensions along with forty cents out of every available tax dollar . The republicans regain power and memories of Tom Delay and his friends exterminate the non republican residents in America from the dreaded disease of an education and a living wage .
Life is good when you are Kings and king makers . Not being required to respond to desperate little people makes it more fun to carry their money off to an off shore retirement .

Posted by: FRP on July 6, 2010 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Four months before a critical midterm cycle, the top House Republican can't talk at all about what his party would do with power.

Half the electorate wouldn't mind if they were told -- so long as the colored people have to go first, they'll gladly climb into the boxcars.

So there's no point, from one perspective, in talking at all about what one's party would do with power -- it's not going to move any votes, or any votes you don't already have sewn up, enough votes for a low-turnout mid-term election with a surly voter pool.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 6, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner and anyone else thinking he is going to be Speaker is on crack.

Boehner and his brain trust thinking they are actually going get any of this non-sense signed into law by Obama are clearly delusional.

This argument is beyond moot. Who cares, should we discuss me being the King of City Park, because that is far more plausible.

Posted by: ScottW714 on July 6, 2010 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Four months before a critical midterm cycle, the top House Republican can't talk at all about what his party would do with power. "

Well, not if he wants to do well in the election, anyway.

Posted by: mcc on July 6, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

"This may seem like an odd concept to Boehner, but leadership requires those with vision and creativity to step up and point the way forward. For the leading House Republican to not have an agenda, and to wait for an online social-networking game to tell him what to think, is many things, but it sure isn't 'leadership.'"

THEY DON"T WANT TO "LEAD" THEY WANT TO RULE. WITH POWER THEY WILL CONTINUE THE WORK OF REAGAN AND THE BUSHES, CONQUEST ABROAD AND SELL OUT TO THE CORPORATE MONEY AT HOME, WITH BREAD and CIRCUSES and DANCING WITH THE STARS FOR THE MASSES(OTHER THAN THOSE ABROAD DOING THE CONQUERING).

Posted by: robert on July 6, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Not only has no one ever gone broke overestimating the stupidity of the American People, this only shows how profitable it was, is, and will continue to be for monied interests to gin up support among the clueless majority. They don't even have (and haven't had for some years) to put some bogus happy face on their plans to further enrich the already well off at the expense of the rest.

Posted by: jhm on July 6, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Thus we see the value of MC Steele to the Republicans -- a distraction and a scapegoat. Pay no attention to the Smoky Orange Satan, look at that guy doing the Humpty Dance.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 6, 2010 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Blubbering is Leadership.

Posted by: Mark on July 6, 2010 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Surely it's clear that the Smoky Orange Satan is part of the sideshow, too? I doubt he'll be Speaker if the GOP manages to take the House, but even if he is, he won't be anywhere close to running the show. Rove may know who those people are, but nobody plans to tell us.

Posted by: drkrick on July 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

This may seem like an odd concept to Boehner, but leadership requires those with vision and creativity to step up and point the way forward.

A commenter here once correctly called Boehner one of the GOP's "flim-flam men," essentially a clueless functionary who will do and say exactly what he's told. That he doesn't possess even a shred of talent, vision, creativity, skill or anything else required of real leadership doesn't really matter; the GOP's single goal is to get that awful black man out of the Village so they can get back to their main job: raiding the Treasury, destroying the middle-class and moving more and more money ever upward to the wealthy. Actually governing isn't in their plan at all.

Posted by: electrolite on July 6, 2010 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Have you noticed how Boehner looks at President Obama? You can see the RAGE and HATRED in his eyes that he has to be alive while a Black man is President. I am glad he is alive to experience that. He does not have an agenda but to make sure President Obama does not succeed. Is that being an American? Or is he just being a White Republican/Tea Partier? Take that in your pipe and smoke it for the next 2 1/2 years.

Posted by: Patricia on July 12, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

John Boehner reminds me of a cheap shady used car salesman. I've been looking at Republican and tea party websites for months to find out what they are actually for. Just as I thought, they aren't for anything but bowing down Rush Limbaugh and trying to make his dream come true. They want the president to fail which means America fails. That's what they are about. That's all.

Posted by: KayE on July 16, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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