House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hosted a lively press conference with Capitol Hill reporters yesterday – the “boner” joke won’t be forgotten anytime soon – but there was something in his opening statement that was so audacious, I’m surprised it was largely ignored.
“You know, back in 2012 the president chose politics over governing. He took the year off, got little done, and this year I’m beginning to see the same pattern of behavior. We’ve seen more and more that the president has no interest in doing the big things that he got elected to do.”
Boehner added that President Obama intends to “pack it in for the year” and “just wait for the election.”
There’s hypocritical rhetoric. There’s breathtaking hypocritical rhetoric. Then there’s rhetoric so hypocritical that it ruptures the space-time continuum.
Reasonable people can debate the merits of competing proposals or policy strategies, but for Speaker Boehner to suggest President Obama is uninterested in governing, lacks ambition, and intends to do nothing for the rest of the 2014 is so head-spinning that it’s genuinely alarming Boehner was able to say the words out loud without laughing hysterically.
Let’s briefly review reality in case it still matters. John Boehner claimed the Speaker’s gavel three years ago, and since that time, he’s racked up zero major legislative accomplishments. While Obama has at times been desperate to get something, anything, done with this Congress, Boehner has tried and failed to lead House Republicans towards anything resembling governing.
The result has been the least productive Congress since clerks started keeping track several generations ago. Thanks to Boehner’s “leadership,” Capitol Hill is establishing new benchmarks for ineptitude, giving the “do-nothing Congress” phrase an updated definition to reflect levels of ineffectiveness few thought possible before 2011.
And yet the Speaker wants to complain that Obama “got little done” after Republicans took control of the House majority.
As for the president having “no interest” in doing “big things,” this is the exact opposite of our version of reality. Obama is appears preoccupied with doing big things – the Speaker should have listened a little closer to the State of the Union address being delivered a few feet in front of him – while Boehner has said it’s time for Americans to start expecting less. Indeed, House Republicans leaders have been quite explicit on this point, saying the GOP does not like and does not want big policy breakthroughs.
Finally, the very idea that the president intends to coast through the rest of 2014 without doing any actual work buries the needle on the Irony-o-meter because it’s House Republicans who’ve already announced, more than once, that they intend to coast through the rest of 2014 without doing any actual work.
We’ve become all too familiar with the GOP’s reliance on the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” game, but this is ridiculous.
I have no idea whether Boehner actually believes what he said yesterday. But whether the rest of us should believe his comments is clear.