Saturday, July 09, 2011

Boehner on a Bucking Bronco

As the “Grand Bargain” unfolds, both the President and the Speaker are taking heat from their true believers, but there is both irony and justice in John Boehner’s plight.

A year and a half ago, he chose to wild-ride the Tea Party bronco all the way to November 2012 without getting the creature under control. Now, after stirring up all that dust about the debt limit, Boehner has to corral enough votes to avoid going over a cliff.

"While some think that we can go past August 2nd,” he says, with no embarrassment over having caused the crisis in the first place, “I frankly think it puts us in an awful lot of jeopardy and puts our economy in jeopardy risking even more jobs."

But Boehner is riding at the head of a 21st century Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight.

Michele Bachmann, playing Calamity Jane to his Wild Bill Hickcock, is riding off in the other direction, vowing in TV ads to vote “no” on any deal.

His shifty sidekick Eric Cantor, perhaps hoping eventually to unhorse his chief, is also veering off the path by having a spokesperson tell reporters that “the big deal as described by the president included $1.4 to $1.7 trillion in tax hikes and he doesn't support that and the House wouldn't support that.”

With friends like those, the old saying goes, you don’t need enemies.

Meanwhile, the President is getting static from his supporters as well. But being Democrats, there are no ultimatums and threats, just a letter urging him to stand firm on cutting entitlement benefits.

If and when Obama and Boehner finally get the debt ceiling bull into the barn, they will still be pursued by Tea Party vigilantes trying to burn it down.

Update: Boehner shouldn't "bet his majority on Mr. Obama's promises," says the Wall Street Journal, warning that "the only way he can avoid being taken for a ride by Democrats is if all parts of any deal are negotiated, voted on and then implemented immediately. Two men, one deal, once. Promises of future action aren't credible."

That kind of talk won't help the beleaguered Speaker.

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