The PJ Tatler

With All Due Respect, Speaker Boehner, Press Statements Aren't Going to Cut it

House Speaker John Boehner is playing right into President Obama and the Democrats’ hands. At a time when Republicans need a ruthless leader, a Napoleon, to outwit and outfight his enemies, we instead have something closer to Napoleon Dynamite.  Actually, that’s unfair to Napoleon Dynamite. Pedro did win the election thanks to a save from Napoleon’s dance moves, after all. Boehner is proving unlikely to win anything from negotiating with Obama and I don’t see him going Gangnam Style to save the Republic. Alan Simpson already tried that.

Instead of taking the fiscal cliff fight to President Obama effectively and putting him on the defensive, Boehner has engaged in a civil war within the House GOP caucus and against conservatives in his own caucus. To what end? To no good end. Now he is weakened when he needs to be stronger, and his caucus is divided when it needs to be united. There is now a growing threat that Boehner could lose his speakership, and few Republicans would miss him if it came to that.

Today, Speaker Boehner offered yet another press statement in which he slammed the president for failing to negotiate and for his stubborn insistence on raising taxes for no good economic purpose. Boeher’s statement struck the right notes — Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem — but how effective does he expect a one-minute press statement to be? How effective can it be? He delivered the statement at about 11 am Eastern time. Most Americans are at work, and even in Washington they’re were not yet hitting email or Drudge to check headlines when he was speaking.

Boehner may deserve to go for the conservative purge alone, but as long as he is speaker, he needs to lead. He needs to understand that he is not negotiating with a Scoop Jackson Democrat. He is negotiating with a Jesse Jackson Democrat, a career shakedown artist who despises private enterprise and wants to raise taxes for the purpose of redistributing wealth. It’s not about economics. It’s about power. Obama is consolidating his, and at the same time Boehner is wasting his.