Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 26, 2011

THE UNNECESSARY (AND UNWARRANTED) CONDESCENSION.... House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talked to ABC News yesterday, and struck a tone that I've heard him use before. In every instance, it rankles.

The topic was the bipartisan deficit commission, which was appointed by the president and issued a controversial report late last year recommending tough spending cuts, tax reforms and reforming Medicare and Social Security.

"While I didn't agree with everything they did, there was a lot in their proposal that was worth of consideration. And what did the president do? He took exactly none of his own deficit reduction commission's ideas. Not one. Come on! It's time to grow up and get serious about the problems that face our country," Boehner said.

Substantively, Boehner, who's never been much of a policy guy, is just wrong. Obama didn't endorse the Simpson-Bowles plan, but he did borrow from it. Indeed, the leaders of the bipartisan deficit commission that Boehner is suddenly interested in had positive reviews of the president's debt-reduction plan -- which is more than we can say about their take on the House Republican proposal.

But the Speaker's confusion over details is routine. What's troublesome here is Boehner's condescending attitude. He's not just urging the president to agree with the GOP's misguided agenda; Boehner is also suggesting that Obama needs to "grow up."

And that's stupid to the point of being offensive.

About a year ago, the American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein, not exactly a raging leftist, said John Boehner and his team "are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious."

The criticism was well grounded at the time, and it's even more appropriate now. What has Boehner been spending his time on lately? Leading a caucus that has wasted time on health care bills they know they can't pass, abortion bills they know they can't pass, climate bills they know they can't pass, and budget bills they know they can't pass. Boehner's caucus has also invested considerable energy in recklessly accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty and going after NPR.

He's also found time to nearly force a government shutdown and hold the debt limit hostage.

Sure, John, lecture us some more about the need to "get serious about the problems that face our country."

I won't speculate about why, exactly, the Speaker feels the need to be so condescending towards the president, but I find it pretty offensive to see Obama try to clean up the mess Boehner and his party created, only to have Boehner talk about the president as if he were some sort of child -- as if the easily confused Speaker is the grown up, and the president who actually knows what he's talking about needs a stern talking to.

It's ridiculous. I don't expect Boehner to have nice things to say about President Obama, but "grow up" should probably be dropped from the talking points.

Steve Benen 1:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

It is NOT condescending to speak bluntly to and about the uppity n1gger!

Everyone knows that even an intellectually challenged white man like Boehner is intellectually superior to any and all black men.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on April 26, 2011 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Blackity black black. Black blackity blackity black. Come on! It's time to grow up and get serious." - Your Speaker, J. Boehner

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on April 26, 2011 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

You're telling me that "Weepin' John Boner," the man who cries at the drop of a hat, is telling President Obama to grow up?

FTW?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 26, 2011 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The hashtag we're using on twitter for this is kinda thing is #TypicalRacistBullshit

Posted by: September on April 26, 2011 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

And there was the corporate media, yet again, serving in their role as a MEGAPHONE for the corporate/media agenda .. which of course is WHY he was not challenged whatsoever ...... this is exactly how the corporate media serves to 'catapult' the corporate propaganda to the 'low information' voter, i.e. imbeciles, so that they can have their agenda become the reality that they want ...

Posted by: stormskies on April 26, 2011 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

He says "grow up" because they can't get away with saying "boy" any more.

Posted by: Redshift on April 26, 2011 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Speaker,

WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Signed,
America

Btw, this question should be asked by Democrats several times a day, every day that congress is in session. Four months of dicking around on abortion, DOMA, fruitless repeals of the AFA but not even a whisper of a jobs bill.

Posted by: Roger the Cabin Boy on April 26, 2011 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

I believe Boehner's puerile "grow up" slap at Obama stems from the January 2009 watershed, when the new president announced, "The adults are now in charge."

It was his allusion to Republicans' having lived in the moment for eight destructive years -- like kids turned loose for a spending binge at the mall.

It stung Boehner then, and the hurt lingers. Hence the speaker's
natural but juvenile claim that it is Obama who acts like a child.

Posted by: Jerry Elsea on April 26, 2011 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

When addressing comments at the local newspaper it has become more common for the right wing response to be "Bobby, Bobby, Bobby blah, blah, blah. The attempt to minimize your information by inferring that you still haven't grown up is as common as insinuating that you are a "socialist". These guys stick to the message from top to bottom no doubt about it.

Posted by: bobatkinson on April 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"What has Boehner been spending his time on lately? Leading a caucus that has wasted time on health care bills they know they can't pass, abortion bills they know they can't pass, climate bills they know they can't pass, and budget bills they know they can't pass. Boehner's caucus has also invested considerable energy in recklessly accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty and going after NPR.

He's also found time to nearly force a government shutdown and hold the debt limit hostage."

Excellent rundown of how 'Orange Julius' has been wasting taxpayers' time and money, Benen!

Posted by: June on April 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Approximately 110% of this type of behavior can be attributed to projection. In fact, I have yet in my lifetime to hear an accusation made by a conservative that was not almsot entirely based in projection. That really must take an overwhelming level of pathology to accomplish.

Posted by: jsacto on April 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Bonerspeak: Grow Up = Stupid Darkie

Posted by: T2 on April 26, 2011 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why aren't callings it like it is, Steve? It's fucking racism. Enough with all these clean words already.

Posted by: impik on April 26, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Remember one of the GOP's favorite methods of winning elections - voter suppression.

Sometimes, it's deliberate and obvious, like the way they ran ACORN out of town. But really, one of their tried and true tactics is just plain ol' confusing the low-info voter who's not aligned with any one party with left-said-right-said tactics. To wit, Republicans, for quite some time, have not governed responsibly. hey've acted like children, standing in the way of all they don't like and only offering "solutions" they know will never fly with no ground for compromise beyond the left's total capitulation. So they're accused of being juvenile, needing to "grow up." Therefore, anything the President does - if he bends over to help a sick child tie a shoelace - is attacked by the right as being not-serious. Juvenile. Grow up, Mr. President. Mushy middle America, not knowing who to believe or who to trust, stays home on Election Day. And that's how the right wins.

When the left starts actively courting this type of voter, not by coddling them, not by preaching but by teaching: "THIS is what we need to do, and we're going to keep telling you this until it sinks in." When the let does that, they'll never be out of power again.

While I'm at it, may as well wish to win the lottery.

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 26, 2011 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

He's an alpha male upset that he's not in the big seat. Like most repugs, he knows he's full of it and doesn't care.

Posted by: anon on April 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

ABC News and John Boehner both seemed to miss the fact that the "bipartisan deficit commission" did NOT issue a report. A couple of the members did, but they were unable to get a majority vote. So both of them are talking about something that doesn't exist.

Posted by: martin on April 26, 2011 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think most grownups know that budget deficits are a function of both expenditures and revenues. Maybe
the grownups that hit the bars at 5pm every day don't see the complete picture.

Posted by: MuddyLee on April 26, 2011 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

"stupid to the point of being offensive"

Well, that is the point, isn't it? Being offensive? As slappy magoo noted, one of the GOP's favorite methods for winning elections is voter suppression. Another top technique is to make the Democrats & libruls crazy.

The thing about current American librulism (aka "progressivism") is its obsession with facts, logic, reason, understanding, and analysis. All this can be easily short-circuited by emotion. Rage works. Dumbfounded disbelief, followed by anger.

Good methods: Lying. Insults. And, of course, saying stuff that's REALLY STUPID.

Posted by: zandru on April 26, 2011 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Any response from the White House?
Them cowardly bullies won't stop until you punch 'em.

Posted by: Skip on April 26, 2011 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Steve - Boehner isn't confused, and you give him (and Cantor, and most other Repug pols) way too much credit by continuing to use that word. He's a goddam liar, he knows it, and he doesn't care because he knows from experience he can get away with it.

Posted by: DavidNOE on April 26, 2011 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Posted by: barkleyg on April 26, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

DavidNOE is correct: while many (most?) members of congress appear to be incredibly stupid, -which may be true!- they are consummate liars, which takes skill, if not brains.

Posted by: DAY on April 26, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

This needs to be said often, as it has before me.

the easily confused Speaker

Steve, he's not confused.

He's a

GOD.

DAMNED.

LIAR.

Posted by: Death Panel Truck on April 26, 2011 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Posted by: rob on April 26, 2011 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"There you go again . . ."

It isn't a new thing, people, patronizing and belittling liberals and Democrats has been a staple of Republican rhetoric for thirty years. You just didn't notice because Beohner is so un-charismatic and clumsy about doing it, and because there are no "grown-up" conservatives left to provide cover for him.

If you can stomach it, sit through any given data set of Republican media appearances over the last couple of decades. Republicans do not "debate" Demcrats in public. They belittle them, ignore them, and talk past them.

Posted by: Midland on April 26, 2011 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

A male who has not grown up is a "boy." And this one, in particular, is unqualified, unAmerican, and uppity. Hey! It's macaca! But root-canal Republicans can get away with starving the beasts because IOKIYAR and anyway, they can't be racists, since, after all, they led the civil rights struggle in the 1960s. Truth really IS the first casualty, even in class war.

Posted by: Tomm Undergod on April 26, 2011 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

The conversation needs to evolve from defining the options as the 3 media sanctioned budget plans to include the plan of the Progressive Caucus. Starting and ending with discussions about Ryan's plan, Obama's plan and Simpson-Bowles are effective ways to maintain the mess we are in. Even more critical, it is a way to keep corporations and irresponsible right wingers in control of the direction of the country. Lets talk up the Progressive plan - we all know what Boehner is about, but that isn't going to change. The conversation has to be refocused.

Posted by: Diane Rodriguez on April 26, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Aside of the relentless condescension slathered by rabid Repugnicons since this President was elected, what rankles me is talk like "his own deficit reduction commission's ideas", or the more common his own deficit reduction commission's plan.

To be clear, there is no such thing. The deficit commission did not release a plan or a set of ideas. The plan they are referring to couldn't get enough votes.

We really need to find a way to roll up all their lies like an old newspaper and use them to smack these miscreants in the nose.

Posted by: Fr33d0m on April 26, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

But isn't it, on the facts, much worse that you maintain? Did any of the House Republicans support the final report? And wouldn't it have had legislative force (an element like the base-closings) if all the House Republicans had supported it and it had enough votes for this?

Posted by: davidt on April 26, 2011 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

So true it bears repeating: what Midland said:

"Republicans do not "debate" Democrats in public. They belittle them, ignore them, and talk past them."

Remember how Bush the Lesser couldn't even look at Al Gore during the debates? And Bush was an incompetent. The Repub strategy has been to not even acknowledge Democrats. To not even give them that small dignity. As if they were the janitor, coming to sweep around the podium while the debate goes on. Like the cleaning lady, emptying the waste baskets during the interview. Or the busboy, collecting dirty plates. Dehumanizing. Putting Dems "in their place." Condescension.

The audience may not pick it up consciously, but it makes an impression. And Democrats, particularly in DC, have learned to live with it, expecting nothing better.

Good catch, Midland!

Posted by: zandru on April 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner is a Bozo! The tragedy before us is that this clown has the power of the gavel and agenda in the lower chamber of our national legislature.

Boehner and his fellow Republican congressional and gubernatorial leadership are impediments to our nation's future as they try to keep everything profitable for the status quo!

The very real environmental issues we are facing - severe climate change, deterioration of our nation's infrastructure, depletion of resources such as copper, and the need for new non-fossil fuel energy sources - will offer us new economic opportunities only when we recognize them for what they are, and work to rid ourselves of vested interests that are currently profiting off the status quo!

Will that time arrive in my lifetime?

If I'm lucky, I'll live to see the last copper mining operation close out, the onset of radioactive oceans, T-shirt San Diego weather year round in Canada, and flammable tap water near fracking sites throughout North America!

Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy! With the help of 112th Congressional Republicans, I'll be as lucky as the first American to kiss the Blarney Stone first thing in the morning after the Irish have been peeing on it all night long! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

The bunch of comments above calling Boehner a liar are right. (Warning: Stop reading here if you have read previous similar comments from me).

But not a common everyday pathological liar. Everything Boehner has said since becoming Speaker (when I started paying attention) seems to be soundbites crafted by a group of publicist/advertising people/politicos designed to be picked up by the teevee/internet media or at least affect other politicians. I think he probably has only vague, relatively contentless, feelings based actual thoughts. He's more like a walking TV commercial or print ad than a human. He sees his job as being a machine designed to win elections and forward the agenda of his corporate backers.

Obama on the other hand has real serious concepts and convictions and ideas behind what he says, although of course he has learned over a lifetime as a fatherless half black guy in a series of very varying environments to succeed by being inoffensive and compromising with everyone at all times.

Posted by: emjayay on April 26, 2011 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

kevo: The very real environmental issues we are facing - severe climate change, deterioration of our nation's infrastructure, depletion of resources such as copper, and the need for new non-fossil fuel energy sources - will offer us new economic opportunities only when we recognize them for what they are, and work to rid ourselves of vested interests that are currently profiting off the status quo!

Will that time arrive in my lifetime?

It is entirely possible for the Democratic Party to retain the Presidency, take back the House, and win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in 2012.

Fantasy, you say? Just imagine what the four years after could be like, and work like hell to get there.

BTW, luv u, kevo!

Posted by: chi res on April 26, 2011 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the kevo person always has something interesting to say. If only he would stop redundantly including the extremely annoying
"-kevo".

I would also like to request that FRP warn me at the top who the post is from.

Posted by: emjayay on April 26, 2011 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Diane Rodriguez has it correct. Both the Obama plan and Ryan's plan are to the right of Simpson-Bowles.

If paying off the country's debt is such a horrendous problem, then Obama and every Democrat should be endorsing the Progessive Caucus's budget proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy instead of taking it out of 90% of the citizen's decreasing incomes.

Posted by: Doug N on April 27, 2011 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Hola,

la respuesta Excelente, felicito
http://www.elcoru.com/
Ilias

Posted by: Ilias on April 29, 2011 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK
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