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Time Gives Boehner ‘New Stature’ Award

From the former news magazine, Time:

Budget Showdown: Five Things Obama Learned about John Boehner

By Jay Newton-Small [sic] Tue Apr 12, 2011

On the night that Republicans won control of the House, the White House Press Office came to a startling realization: They had no contact information for Speaker-to-be John Boehner. In President Obama’s first two years in office, he’d reached out to House Republicans so little that they had no reason to get to know – or even get phone numbers or e-mails for – Boehner’s staff. Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse was asked to call his fishing buddy, Nick Shaper, who was Boehner’s new media director at the time. Shaper gave the appropriate names and numbers to Woodhouse, who then relayed them to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Oh, how the times have changed.

We have seen it reported elsewhere that the two men had talked exactly two times before last week. So much for Mr. Obama’s bi-partisanship, huh?

Obama may not exactly have Boehner on speed dial, but the two have certainly talked – and learned about each other – more in the last week than ever before. Their partnership yielded a budget deal that not only kept the government running, but was also (mostly) praised by Democrats and Republicans as a victory for both men. They aren’t as close as Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill were – as Reagan famously put it, they were "friends after 6pm" – but the relationship is increasing cordial.

Messers Reagan and O’Neill were never friends. Mr. O’Neill often referred to President Reagan as "an amiable dunce" – and worse.

Obama isn’t the first Democrat Boehner has reached across the aisle to work with. As chairman of the Education and Work Force Committee, Boehner formed a friendship with Ted Kennedy, who sat on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Their partnership not only produced the landmark No Child Left Behind education bill and a massive overhaul of the nation’s pension laws, but also a collaborative charity for DC Catholic schools – a project Boehner fought for amid recent government cuts.

Mind you, Time thinks we will respect Mr. Boehner for being friends with Ted Kennedy and imposing the ‘No Child Left Behind’ nonsense on us.

I can’t get inside Obama’s head, but listed below are five things I’m guessing he learned about Boehner during last week’s budget negotiations. These lessons are particularly important as both leaders turn from cutting billions of dollars to cutting trillions of dollars as they tackle long-term deficit reduction and the debt ceiling in the coming months.

So it is official. Boehner lost in these negotiations. And Time wants to make sure he continues to lose in the negotiations ahead.

1. Brinksmanship. Boehner plays the line. As Kennedy learned, it’s not worth showing Boehner your hand until the last round because everything leading up to the deadline is just rhetoric. Congress always works better on a desperate deadline and Boehner plays this right to the edge, as he did last week, consenting to a deal with Democrats only 90 minutes before funding for the federal government was set to run out.

Mr. Boehner got the Democrats to go from $30 billion in (pretend) cuts to $38.5 billion. Big deal.

2. Nothing’s settled until everything’s settled. That was a phrase heard often in the No Child Left Behind and pension negotiations. Those eager beavers, who prematurely rushed out of the room to announce a deal before one was finalized, learned not to cite final numbers until all the I’s were dotted and T’s crossed – it only made them look dumb when they had to change those figures…

This is really a reference to Joe Biden, who made a fool of himself, as usual, by announcing that the deal had been reached at $33 billion. Which cost the Democrats a whopping $3.5 billion in (faux) cuts.

3. Patience. Boehner started with a two-week by two-week strategy on the 2011 budget and, even at the end, he was prepared to drag the process out for another week. He wanted another short-term extension that Obama and the Democrats rejected. He’s not about quick solutions and doesn’t fire from the hip

Translation – he wore the Tea Party Republicans down.

4. Pragmatism. The long lead-time on the 2011 omnibus spending bill (Republicans call it a continuing resolution, but it’s really an omnibus, they just think that sounds big) helped Boehner school his freshmen in political pragmatism. The Speaker leveraged abortion and other wedge issues he never truly hoped to win in order to get more cuts. He’s not above using the cloak of ideology to get what he wants, which, in this case, was the largest amount of cuts possible.

Abortion didn’t get the Republicans any further cuts. All it did was cloud the issue and fire up the Democrat base.

If anything, Mr. Boehner taught the Republican freshmen how to cave. And now Time wants to show them the rewards of caving. You get nice write-ups that people waiting for their dental appointment might read.

5. He doesn’t deal in half-measures when it comes to protecting the party line. In 2006, when GOP Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona was crusading against earmarks, then-Leader Boehner pressured him to stop embarrassing fellow Republicans and booted him off the Judiciary Committee when he refused to do so. In 2010, when the official position on pork had changed, Boehner sent a letter to Republicans warning that they would lose committee assignments if they requested earmarks.

In other words, he has no core principles. Our news media love Republicans like that. They are far easier to bend to their will.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

23 Responses to “Time Gives Boehner ‘New Stature’ Award”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    TIME is still in existence? Wow. I haven’t read an issue in over ten years.

  2. proreason says:

    Got a hunch the Donald would have got a better deal.

    His starting position wouldn’t have been a shave either.

    btw, I don’t remember if it has been reported at S&L by anyone, but some people are saying the “great victory” that Boner won was over the Tea Party….the rino’s real enemy. Makes sense to me.

    • tranquil.night says:

      I’m more convinced than ever that this was the basics of the deal from the beginning, if not going back to the 2010 lame-duck, then from the first moments Boehner/Obama met to discuss it. ‘I’ll give you whatever you want, Mr. President. Tell me how I can fool these rubes long enough to get them to think I’m fighting for them. Then together we will break them and push them right into Trump, 3rd party. Heh Heh. We look forward to working with you in your second term.’

      Scams and lies are all at what these people seem to demonstrate any competence.

    • proreason says:

      The more I read about this, the more surreal it becomes.

      They added one trillion in new annual spending and we got 3.8% back?? maybe, but probably not!! At the end of the day, they probably INCREASED spending.

      And Boner is being hailed as a genius????

      Nothing like this has happened since the Lousisiana Purchase or the purchase of Alaska.

      How stupid do the rinos think we are?

      I said out of the box that Boner has to go. After 2 days of listening to this crap, I think he needs to be impeached.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Rush said it plainly that (paraphrasing), “The republicans were worried that the media would Monday-morning this thing against them if the government shut down…and here we are, Monday morning, and they lost the PR war anyway.” Only they lost it while engaging in ‘compromise’ (AKA ‘losing’) and bastardizing the message so that nobody could make any sense of it anyway.

      But the media, after claiming a loss for the national socialists are now slamming the republicans, their favorite whipping boys. And, for us tea-party strongholds, insult-to-injury comes in the form of deafening silence from Boner and the rest of the elitists.

      Roman times. Roman ways. Roman results.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Ace has seen the light, and is NOT happy: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/314667.php

      He joins a near unified chorus from the grassroots at this point. The Republican apparatchiks aren’t fooling anyone.

  3. heykev says:

    While I agree with you that Boehner has to go, believe that we should start by calling the Republican Reps in the House and demanding that he be removed.

    I enough of us do that…there is a possibility that we could get someone with stones/spine/cojones to be Speaker of the House.

    • proreason says:

      Took your advice. Called my rep.

      For the first time EVER, I got though to a live person.

      Said I wanted my rep to be the champion for replacing Boner with somebody who will stick up for the people and not roll over on budget issues.

    • tranquil.night says:

      “Said I wanted my rep to be the champion for replacing Boner with somebody who will stick up for the people and not roll over on budget issues.”

      No not Eric Cantor. We want Paul Ryan, OR Michele Bachmann.

      Whenever I think about that searing “1/2 of 1/3” nonsense now, the overwhelming sense is “My GOD man, you are 3rd in line to the Presidency behind a rogue executive and his court jester!”

    • proreason says:

      Trump picked up 8% in a Sat/Sunday poll. He’s now tied for the lead. Bachmann entered with 5%. Their increases are probably bigger today, after people have had time to think about Friday’s sell-out.


      Disgust is turning to anger.

      Republicans would be smart to replace Boehner this week, before it gets out of hand. The GOP may be on the ropes as a political force.

    • tranquil.night says:

      No joke Pro, they were amply warned too. They’re messing with forces they don’t understand that they can’t control. Likewise, good Trump post. If the Conservatives are going to blunt the backlash and whatever unintended consequences to follow, our candidates and leaders are going to have to get ahead and channel it.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Someone better take “point” quick on this one. I know some pissed off Americans with nothing to lose!

  4. proreason says:

    Mark Levin is coming out more strongly against Trump, predictably so.


    I knew this would happen. All of the talk radio guys will follow. They are getting worried. Even Rush will probably say something in the next few days if he hasn’t already done so today.

    I understand where they are coming from, Trump as an independent will hand the election to the Moron.

    But the warnings are mis-directed. Levin and the guys should be telling the Republicans to get their act together, get rid of Boehner, and start acting like conservatives. That will hold the Trump phenomenon down. The Donald will still be a contendor, but the way things stand today, he is on the verge of a populist tsunami.

    The Republicans only hope now may be to hide behind Paul Ryan. It shouldn’t have come to this, but if you are a pack of congenital liars, when the country is teetering on the brink, people are going to look for a lifeline whereever they can find it.

    • GetBackJack says:

      Pro – I see it as truly there is only One Party, the Party of Power. Like the NFL which fields the NFC and the AFC the Party of Power is the Franchisor and fields two divisions … the Evil Party and the Stupid Party. And, like the NFL these two divisions duke it out to keep us occupied and running in circles.

      It sounds trite and cliched but really, after 40+ years of this it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Or, as my highly placed cop buddy says, “Jack they don’t allow anyone into office past the level of Dog Catcher until they have enough on you to keep you in line. The last thing either Party can stand is an independent minded rugged individual. Or, didn’t you get that Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut was a documentary and not a first run feature film?”

      Or, put another way, 25 years of Rush Limbaugfh and every other Conservative Constitutionally determined talk radio dyed in the wool Patriot …. not a damn thing has improved and has only gotten worse. Even Ronald Reagan was mobbed up to his eyeballs. We keep voting them in and they keep flipping on us.
      Sherlock Holmes said …

      Once is happenstance
      Twice is coincidence
      Three times is enemy action

      What we’re doing isn’t working. And the only thing that will work is unprintable here. But you know what it is just as well as me.

  5. Rip Cord says:

    Donald Trump is Barack Hussein Obama’s trump card. Trump will NEVER win the Republican nomination. He’s given so much money and gotten so many favors from Democrats he’s unelectable as a Republican. He ALREADY has said he’s going 3rd party! The issues he’s running on, Birth Certificate and a Laughing China are a joke. He’s been sent out by Rhaim Emmanual and the boys, who’s he’s in bed with NOW, to deflect attention from the recent budget negotiations and debt ceiling vote. So far he’s one for one. Donald Trump is a buffoon and a clown sent out to deflect energy and attention to what’s really going on in Washington DC. I would look for Goldman Sachs to collapse the New York stock market to get the Republicans to cave on the debt ceiling vote.

    • proreason says:

      Actually, if you listen to the WSJ interview, Trump’s reply to the independent question is a lot more complex than “yes”. It’s also kind of muddled, which is unusual for him, so it is probably one question he is nervous about answering. Among other things, he said:

      – I’m thinking about it
      – I know it would hurt the Republicans
      – If I do it and don’t win, it will hand the election to Obamy
      – Obamy has to be defeated for the good of the country
      – I won’t run as an independant unless I can win

      The theory that he is an Obamy stalking-horse doesn’t wash. He’s not a Marxist. I also don’t believe he is doing this for publicity. He’s already a multi-billionaire and one of the most famous people in the world. He doesn’t need this to get attention.

      He is certainly among the leaders for the Republican nomination. With so many in the field, they are all longshots at this stage. He has a better chance than most of them to be nominated.

      In my view, if Obamy could win in 2008, Trump can win in 2012. It isn’t any more unrealistic.

      Remember that 70% of the people in the country aren’t very ideological and don’t follow politics that closely. If they did, Obamy could never have been elected. Trump’s views align with the majority in the country far far better than Obamy’s views. Of course, Obamy lies continually, so he would never clearly state what his views are. But Trump is probably speaking honestly. I’ll bet at least 40% of Americans (including a lot of minorities) agree with his positions on China and oil in the Middle East, and a similar percentage with what he says about the birth certificate.

    • tranquil.night says:

      I think Donald is quickly starting to get a feel for what the political landscape really is like right now. These aren’t populist times yet. There is a very determined and very focussed political effort established and dedicated to restoring this country. We’re looking for leaders who embrace it, not who want to ruse or co-opt it.

      I’m willing to give the D a lot more leeway on much of his previous history if during this process he is legitimately willing to understand for what we’re looking and are trying to do, which isn’t any sort of ‘third way.’ It depends on if this run really is all about him, or if he can really work on a team. We’ll see, I’m looking forward to his return to Rush.

    • Rip Cord says:

      Donald Trump has NEVER been involved in the political process unless it was to line the pockets of Democrats to grease his business deals or to seek preferable Tax Concessions from them. If he were TRULY HONEST, he would run against Barack Hussein Obama in a Democratic Primary like Ted Kennedy did against President Jimmy Carter in 1980. What has Donald Trump done for the Republican Party, The Conservative Movement, The Tea Party or even MODERATE Republicans? NOTHING. NOW he wants to lead ALL Republicans? It doesn’t make any sense unless you figure he’s a tool for the Democrats who he is STILL in bed with. He donated HUGE sums of money to Rhaim Emmanual to be elected Mayor of Chicago! That’s like donating money to the North Korean President for his re-election. What was the point? If Rhaim didn’t win it he was going to be appointed anyway. THAT’S who we want as PRESIDENT?

    • proreason says:

      “Donald Trump has NEVER been involved in the political process” good

      “line the pockets of Democrats to grease his business deals or to seek preferable Tax Concessions from them.” yep. That’s what a sane businessman has to do in NY and many other states. Would you have preferred he get out of business?

      “If he were TRULY HONEST” good luck finding that truly honest person you are looking for.

      “THAT’S who we want as PRESIDENT?” well, if he is the only guy who can beat the boy king, yes.

      But I’m not looking for an argument about him. I’m just pointing out that he has some interesting attributes; ones that are lacking in the rest of the field. That doesn’t per se make him the best choice, but it does make him an interesting player.

      As I’ve said many time, I have many criteria, most of which probably align perfectly with Rip Cord’s, but they all pale before the ability to win. The person has to be able to win. Period. I’ll compromise on everything else, seriously.

      Because with four more years of the crown prince, there won’t be any more opportunities to make a choice, seriously. inho, four more years of obama will mean the end of the US republic.

      And I’m not saying Trump can win either. But I think he has a better chance than at least half the contenders.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Let me add this. If John Boehner showed the level of confidence in himself and his position (which is based in real substance) as Donald, the political dynamic would be totally different right now, regardless of who controls what part of government.

      That is the basis of our criticism of the current Republican leadership. The judge is still out on whether they’re full-fledged big government RINOs, for I believe it when others say ‘they’re good guys.’

      But it is precisely because we have so few real legislative opportunities in this current Congress to hold the Marxists feet to the fire and accomplish anything substantial that every such moment must be addressed with the utmost level of urgency, seriousness of mind and demands, as well as competence.

      We were always concerned about this leadership from the start. Their pledge was marginal but we rallied to it for the sake of election unity and because it was a realistic goal even for this bunch. We brushed aside the internal committee fights, but what really alarmed us was month after month of CR, the second after which we rallied our representatives to say no more and to push for the (already compromised) 61 billion passed, and to push riders for further leverage.

      Long story short, after sensing Boehner was compromising again for 32 billion, we said no deal and as a result WE put the Senate Democrats and Obama in a losing PR corner. What’d we get? A lie. A scam. A failure. Honestly, I’d probably give John more credit if he’d come out and said it’s all gimmicked instead of sending the beltway spin machine into overdrive.

      We have every right to hold our leadership accountable when there’s been such an unacceptable outcome. This deal wasn’t some small potatoes issue. It’s relevant to the debt fight, it’s relevant to the Ryan budget, it’s relevant to defeating Liberalism in 2012.

      Boehner will be on Hannity in 10 or so. We’ll see what he has to say.

  6. artboyusa says:

    Boehner doesn’t “fire from the hip”, it says. Too bad. According to Messrs Sykes and Fairbairn, who invented modern close combat fighting and taught their skills to the British commandos durring WWII, a quick, no fancy stance or grips, point and shoot pistol technique is the most effective way to bring down your opponent at short ranges. I’ve tried it (sort of, on targets, not on a person!) and yeah, my accuracey actually improved. Anyway, the fact that Time is suddenly saying good things about Boner is just another reason for us to dislike and distrust him even more.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      He may not “fire from the hip” but it hasn’t stopped him from “shooting himself in the foot”.

      And GBJ, “Evil Party” and “Stupid Party” is probably the best way to sum it all up.

    • GetBackJack says:

      (Elvis says) Thank you, thank you very much

      (ain’t my original. dammit)

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