Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 6, 2011

BOEHNER STRUGGLES WITH GOOD NEWS.... The new employment report shows the strongest job creation in five years, leaving House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with an awkward challenge. Does he take credit for Democrats successfully getting the economy back on track and risk being mocked, or does Boehner downplay good news and look like a leader rooting for failure?

In his press statement this morning, the Speaker leaned towards the latter.

"While any improvement is welcome news, job growth in America is still nowhere close to what it should be. Our economy continues to suffer from the uncertainty being caused for private-sector job creators by the Democrats who run Washington. Over the past month, rather than joining Republicans in focusing on policies that promote long-term economic growth to help balance the federal budget, the Democrats who control Washington have indicated they are planning to increase taxes and allow the government's spending binge to continue."

This is kind of sad, but let's take a moment to unfold the statement anyway.

First, the only "uncertainty" hanging over the economy right now is whether the debt ceiling is going to be extended, or whether there will be a massive catastrophe of Congress' making. The only people in America responsible for this "uncertainty" is John Boehner and his caucus. (Indeed, this morning's statement goes on to say, "Congressional Republicans have made clear there will be no debt limit increase unless it is accompanied by significant spending cuts and reforms." Isn't this a perfect example of creating uncertainty?)

Second, Democrats don't "run Washington" anymore. Boehner should realize this -- he's the Speaker of the House.

And third, Republicans aren't "focusing on policies that promote long-term economic growth," they're focusing on abortion rights and austerity measures that undermine economic growth.

Aside from this and assorted other problems -- Boehner's wrong that the GOP plan balanced the budget -- the Speaker's message is just fine. It would be nice if he were capable of applauding good news, though I suppose that's too much to ask.

Steve Benen 10:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Mouth open: lie exits. The Republican way.

Posted by: Mudge on May 6, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Boner is nothing more than a stumble bum exiting the nearest bar with slurring words

Posted by: stormskies on May 6, 2011 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

It hardly matters. The audience for the 2012 election is people so disengaged that they certainly don't give a flying damn what Boehner says in May 2011. The audience for this particular statement is a media/Washington insider class that isn't going to call him on lack of logic.

Why do i even come here again? I forget.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on May 6, 2011 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Adding to Mudge:

Open mouth, spit lies and acid, gargle with trash, repeat.

The Repugnant Ones doing the one thing they do best!

Posted by: Mark-NC on May 6, 2011 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I admire your almost superhuman ability to continue to parse through the incessant nonsense spewed by today's Republican party. I fear there is something off with you, you may need some kind of counseling.

Posted by: RollaMO on May 6, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Look, if they can't applaud the fact that the military finally got Osama bin Laden because the Commander in Chief at the time it was done was the wrong flavor and color, what would ever lead anyone to think they'd cheer a positive jobs report?

And that Boehner atatement, Steve, are you SURE you didn't accidentally cut and paste that from "The Onion?"

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, Steve...another great shout-out from Rachel Maddow last night. Well-deserved, undeniably!

Posted by: Nana on May 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

How long is the so-called "liberal media" going to continue to pretend that the Republicans act in good faith?

Posted by: Gregory on May 6, 2011 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Steve is right on in what he states: however, too many people are not smart enough to understand and will believe Boehner's lies.

Posted by: captaindan on May 6, 2011 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe some enterprising journalist could, you know, actually ask a follow up questio? Like. "Speaker Boner, exactly how do public sector jobs create uncertainty in the economy?"

What a tool.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on May 6, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Party First, my friends.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on May 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Boner seems to have forgotten that he leads a MAJORITY in the House - yet where are the jobs bills? There are none. He has spent the first part of his "term" trying to ram through terrible bills that would seriously harm the nation, all to please the 23% TeaBag base.
And as of yesterday, the Ryan budget and the Kill Obamacare baloney have been declared dead by his own Party. Half a year wasted by Boner - still waiting for a Jobs bill. It won't come because every time employment goes up, the GOP/TP chances in 2012 go down. People are finally starting to wake up to this B.S.

Posted by: T2 on May 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Private sector job growth, the sector that Boehner says is nervous, was the source of the job growth. Governmment employment dropped. Just imagine if there was still some form of intelligent stimulus occurring: consumption would follow.

Posted by: Andy on May 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, the certainty argument again. The meaning of this is that there will only be "certainty" when there is permanent GOP rule in all branches of government, i.e., the grand Rove vision. Until then, Boehner and his like are determined to create a self-fulfilling prophecy by blocking any measures that might improve the economy, or (as here) downplaying any good economic news that comes along.

Posted by: davidp on May 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

While Boehner is predictably mendacious, it might help to look on the economy not so much as "recovering" as treading water. Paul Krugman tackles this in this morning's Times. Our chattering class is fixated on deficits and now the falling dollar. Why? Because there are two economies, only one of which, the financial sector along with energy, health-care, and military-industrial, that seems to get the attention (and repays the kindness by purchasing our democracy). Let's not fool ourselves that Democrats have turned this nation around. We've taken a bad situation and made it slightly better. And while I'm voting for Obama next year, I'm not under any delusion that Obama's tepid leadership has remade this nation. He's bought us a bit of time before the next crisis coming from the banksters sinks the economy once again.

Posted by: walt on May 6, 2011 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

First, what Mudge said. It's a waste of time to pay attention to anything any professional Republican says, since, on the evidence, nearly all of them would rather lie than tell the truth, about anything.

Second, though, John Boehner did not get to where he is by being as stupid as his many public statements have been. In the "stupid or evil" dichotomy, I have to go with evil when it comes to Boehner. I just cannot believe he is as stupid as he sounds.

Posted by: LL on May 6, 2011 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Come election time the cons will be singing a different tune. The gop theme will sound more it was the bush tax cuts that revived the job front and if Obama lets them expire he will crater the economy.

Posted by: CDW on May 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

John Boehner did not get to where he is by being as stupid as his many public statements have been

Perhaps hasn't always been this stupid. Alcohol in excess does kill brain cells

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK
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