At what point do stubborn blindness, knee-jerk resistance and blanket refusal to negotiate cross the line from ideological opposition to subversion of government?
In what has now become coded language for “The Tea party won’t let me,” House Speaker John Boehner, after lauding tax cuts and less regulation as the answers to job creation he learned working in his grandfather’s tavern, concludes that solutions “will require everyone coming to the table with their best ideas first and leaving politics at the door, with the courage to listen to each other’s critiques and questions.
“It means ending the name-calling, the yelling, and the questioning of others' motives. Leadership is about ending that nonsense, buckling down, and getting to work...
“Getting it done will require a serious effort by both parties. There are some in both parties who would rather do nothing.
“They’d prefer to sit this one out, waiting to be dealt a better hand down the road, after the next election.”
Surely Boehner can’t be talking about Barack Obama and the battered Democrats who were brought to the brink of default and saw the nation’s credit rating lowered by the obstinacy (pace Michele Bachmann) of his own Tea Party Caucus.
Surely Boehner must have in mind the Grand Bargain that he and the President had fashioned in early July as the beginning of a long-term deficit solution, only to have it sabotaged by his own deputy, Eric Cantor, leading the House freshman in opposition.
Surely Boehner doesn’t mean by those “waiting to be dealt a better hand” in 2012 Democrats facing disaster in opinion polling about the White House and Congress.
If his plea for a “serious effort” on the jobs bill is more than empty rhetoric, he will have to teach Tea Party fanatics that negotiation isn’t surrender and that making government totally impotent is more treasonous that anything they are accusing the President of doing.
Update: Boehner and Cantor have sent the President a letter, making a Chinese menu of the jobs bill, agreeing to appetizers that can be served with Tea, but not the harder-to-swallow items.
“It is our hope,” they write, “that Majority Leader Reid, the Democratic Majority in the Senate and President Obama will realize that while an all or nothing approach might make sense to some political advisors and communicators, it comes at the expense of making progress for millions of unemployed Americans--and that is a tradeoff none of us should make.”
Pass the fortune cookies.