Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 22, 2010

BOEHNER TRIES, AND FAILS, TO OFFER POLICY DETAILS.... A couple of weeks ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke to the Washington Post's Dan Balz about what voters could expect from a Republican-led chamber. It didn't go especially well -- Boehner refused to offer any kind of details to back up his platitudes.

Yesterday, at a Christian Science Monitor luncheon, Boehner tried to offer a little more substance, but for anyone who takes policy matters at all seriously, it was a sad display.

In a meeting with several reporters this afternoon, House Minority Leader John Boehner outlined the top three measures he'd pursue if he becomes Speaker of the House next Congress to create new jobs. But, those who thought he'd outline specific programs and how they would create jobs were disappointed with a familiar litany of wish-list items: repeal health care reform, eschew climate legislation, and renew the Bush tax cuts.

In other words, repeal a program that largely hasn't yet taken effect; prevent new legislation that is also not in effect; and keep a current tax structure in place. Step four: profit. Or jobs.

Let's take Boehner's approach to job creation one point at a time.

1. The would-be Speaker thinks the Affordable Care Act is an "impediment for employment," in part because it "will it ruin the best health care system in the world." This is idiotic. There's evidence to suggest the ACA will create millions of jobs, and no evidence of the law discouraging job creation. Indeed, the law has barely even started -- what Boehner wants is the old, dysfunctional system that wasn't doing any favors for the economy.

2. Boehner thinks saying "no cap and trade" will help create jobs. In reality, the Democratic energy/climate proposal would create a lot of jobs in a growing global industry, but there's also the question of logic -- Boehner thinks opposing a policy that does not yet exist will create jobs. In other words, a key part of Boehner's jobs agenda is to ... absolutely nothing.

3. Boehner's convinced that Bush's failed economic policies, if we just leave the tax rates in place, will eventually work. Sure, they failed miserably in the last decade -- worst modern presidency for job creation, massive deficits, weak economic growth -- but why should failure discourage repetition?

I have several concerns when it comes to John Boehner's role as a congressional leader, but near the top of the list is the fact that he doesn't seem to know anything about public policy. He's presumably had time to read up on such things, but he's chosen not to. Worse, Boehner seems to think he knows quite a bit about these issues, despite his apparent bewilderment.

I care that Boehner is wrong about practically everything, but at least one can have a reasonable debate with knowledgeable people with a different perspective. With Boehner, it seems he's just clueless, uninterested and ignorant about the basics of contemporary policy disputes. Can anyone think of a time they've heard John Boehner speak intelligently about any subject? Ever? Can anyone identify an issue where Boehner has demonstrated even the slightest bit of expertise? Or even knowledge?

If he's the best House Republicans have to offer, we're all in very deep trouble.

Steve Benen 1:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

This is the same guy who is an expert on unemployment because 3 of his brothers recently entered the unemployment lines. However, he didn't know if they had found jobs since the layoffs. Brotherly love, if not family values
http://www.womenetcetera.com

Posted by: ejreed on July 22, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Can anyone think of a time they've heard John Boehner speak intelligently about any subject? Ever?

HELL NO WE CAN'T!!

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Posted by: jthzwbw on July 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

It does boggle my mind how many Republican leaders are ignorant and/or stupid. Who would want to go under the knife of a surgeon who didn't seem to know anything about anatomy? Who'd trust their car to a mechanic who didn't know how engines work? I understand there's a wide streak of anti-intellectualism in America, but this is just anti-intelligence.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 22, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Has he talked about golf at all?

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on July 22, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps he picked up some tips about learning about government policy from half-term Gov. $arah Palin.

Posted by: Molly Weasley on July 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner was kinda-sorta antagonistic to Bush on Iraq after he became Minority Leader. In the end it came to nothing, but he did oppose the surge for a little while. I suspect this is why he tries so hard to be ultra-right wing: he knows that hard-core conservatives know he's not one of them, so he's always trying to prove himself. Just like Orrin Hatch. It's sad.

Posted by: Lev on July 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

He's presumably had time to read up on such things...

It's obvious the guy doesn't have a spare minute to read, what with his tanning salon and bar schedule.

Why do you hate stupid orange drunk guys, Benen?

Posted by: cr on July 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

If he's the best House Republicans have to offer, we're all in very deep trouble.

" If " ?

Posted by: bleh on July 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

If he's the best House Republicans have to offer, we're all in very deep trouble.

" If " ?

We?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, he was probably hung over from last night.

Posted by: Joan on July 22, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

From FirstRead:

In her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill today, though, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all but closed the door on the idea [of extending tax cuts for the wealthy]. Pelosi said passionately, "Our position has been that we support middle income tax cuts, the tax cuts at the high end have increased the deficit enormously, and they have not created jobs over the last eight years of the Bush administration. Think of the inconsistency of what the Republicans have said about these tax cuts, they insisted that the unemployment benefits be paid for, but the tax cuts for the wealthiest in the country should not -- $34 billion for unemployment insurance benefits which create jobs, $700 billion dollars for the wealthiest Americans that don't want to pay for it, and they do not create jobs. I think we have a clear distinction here -- if we want to lower taxes for the middle class and reduce the deficit and create jobs, extending the tax cuts at the high end are not conducive to reaching those goals."

Posted by: cr on July 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner doesn't have enough time left in the day to study policy details once he done with (1) fundraising, (2) tanning, (3) golfing, and (4) drinking. Oh yeah ... all that plus making media appearances.

Boehner is a political bagman and an empty suit, and that's OK with the GOP - it is all that Boehner is supposed to be. He fills a role. Everyone knows that the real decisions about policy get made by the GOP's lobbyist friends and by its activist groups.

Besides, there really are no real policy details to the GOP's agenda. Just political details, about what they are planning to destroy (and how) if and when they get back into power.

No wonder the guy drinks.

Posted by: Bokonon on July 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Can the Democratic party please put an end once and for all to the irrelevant and misleading "we've got the best health care system in the world" line of attack? Health care reform was never about "reforming" America's fine doctors and hospitals; it's always been about ensuring access to those fine doctors and hospitals. The Dems (as usual) let that GOP stink bomb hang around during the entire HCR debate, allowing the Republicans to dupe the masses into believing that the Democrats were meddling in private medical care. If the Dems had any political intuition at all, they would not let a day go by without reminding people that Boehner and the GOP want cancer survivors, the disabled, and others with pre-existing conditions to continue to be barred from purchasing private health insurance. Unfortunately, I expect the Dems to continue their political death spiral by letting the GOP control the message on health care and everything else.

Posted by: ameshall on July 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno, I imagine he'd have lots to say on the issue of which tanning salon is best.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on July 22, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Steve -- Sponsor a contest on the site for a slogan for Democrats to capture how the Republicans got nothing. NOTHING!

A clever slogan that captures the truth and hammer it over and over and over.

Posted by: jb on July 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

George Gershwin said it "I got plenty of nuthin'"

Posted by: GC on July 22, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

I second jb's idea, obviously our elected Democrats have failed to come up with a slogan that catches on, I'm thinking. The party of no needs updating and party discipline in the Democratic Party is a sad joke. On Boehner, he's obviously a moron but it doesn't seem to matter. Most folks I know are clueless, disinterested and easily influenced. The press and particularly the White House press corps is, in my opinion,a thin skinned bunch of lemmings. Their questions and focus on Mrs. Sherrod were repetitive in the extreme and, heaven forbid, if Gibbs gently suggest that the press should also be more careful with tape supplied by Breitbart. Speaking of Breitbart, he skates away free with softball interviews from media who buy his bull with no challenge. Wish Rachel could get her hands on him but that won't happen.

Posted by: Kathryn on July 22, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

"it seems he's just clueless, uninterested and ignorant about the basics of contemporary policy disputes."

That seems to be a requirement for GOOPer leadership, no? We have first Dubya showing an amazing lack of interest in what is going on around him. Then we have McCaint not having a clue about the messes in the Middle East. Following that we have Palin totally clueless about the world and current events and she hasn't learned a thing in a year. DeMint and King and he rest of that crew are useless. Romney, Rudy McClellan and Hatch don't make any sense at all. What is with the Republican party? They used to have some very thoughtful people. Even Goldwater was able to present his position in intelligent terms. Now we have a bunch of Alfred E. Neumans. Where did they all go?!

Posted by: Texas Aggie on July 22, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I thought boner was swinging from his wheelhouse when he wrote in defense of the "tanning industry", the tax is “causing all kinds of problems for business owners who provide tanning services.”

Posted by: cwolf on July 22, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

"If he's the best House Republicans have to offer, we're all in very deep trouble."

Doe's this mean you are unsure as to how much trouble we are in? If you need insight into the severity of the situation E-Mail me!!!

Posted by: Fozzy on July 22, 2010 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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