Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Boehner in a Box, Obama in a Rage

The Tea Party can’t take yes for an answer. Even as the President caves in to their debt-ceiling demands, the Speaker of the House comes out like a ventriloquist’s dummy and demolishes the deal they were making.

“I have decided,” John Boehner harrumphs, “to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward...

“The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.”

The Speaker’s lips are moving, but clearly Eric Cantor is pulling the strings for the House’s class of 2009, which has put Boehner into a box with no room for negotiation of any kind.

Barack Obama shows his anger: “Can they say yes to anything?...I have been left at the altar a couple of times now.”

The word “insatiable” comes to mind. We are well beyond politics here in a Kafkaesque game of raw power for its own sake.

The President has summoned Congressional leaders to the White House again tomorrow morning. Will they show up or just send a recorded message?

Update: In his Weekly Address, the President is back in Never-Never Land, urging “serious cuts, balanced by some new revenues,” which he describes as “the position of every Democratic and Republican leader who has worked to reduce the deficit, from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan.

“In fact, earlier this week, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, Tom Coburn, announced his support for a balanced, bipartisan plan that shows promise. And then a funny thing happened. He received a round of applause--from a group of Republican and Democratic senators. That’s a rare event in Washington.”

When Tom Coburn is held up as the voice of reason, we are in deep, deep trouble.

Saturday Update: The White House meeting lasts less than an hour, and the picture of Obama and Boehner tells it all--a glum couple not looking at each other. You could see more warmth in any divorce lawyer’s office.

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