My Phony-O-Meter always starts beeping loudly whenever John Boehner comes on the tube. And last night in his response to President Obama's debt-ceiling speech, it was shrieking.
If there was anything remarkable about the speech, it was Boehner's ability to keep a straight face while accusing Obama of behavior that accurately describes Republicans, such as refusing to "take yes for an answer" and changing his demands.
But perhaps the most galling aspect of Boehner's speech was his assertion that Obama "created" the "crisis atmosphere" that has the U.S. on the brink of default. The reality is that the president inherited a projected deficit of more than $1 trillion, and the recent surge in debt is mostly the result of the fruitless Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As John already noted, it's been demonstrated that all these Republicans voted for the big drivers in creating the massive debt in the first place. Just like they voted to increase the debt ceiling with nary a twinge nine times during George W. Bush's presidency. As Finkelstein observes:
Meanwhile, the immediate crisis is that the nation might default on its debt; that can be solved in a matter of minutes with a simple vote to raise the debt ceiling. But congressional Republicans are still refusing to do that unless they get a debt-reduction package that weakens the social safety net and requires no compromise on their part. If Boehner is wants to assign blame for creating a "crisis atmosphere," he should take a hard look in the mirror.
Nah. It's much, much more satisfying to just project your own blackened psyche onto President Obama and claim that it's his intransigence that's causing the problem. Right. The only people who believe that are out sipping tea with the Mad Hatters and March Hares.
Meanwhile, it's looking like Boehner doesn't even have the votes for his own plan. The Phony-O-Meter keeps going off.
Where do you guys get the balls to lecture Democrats about deficit spending and the state of the economy?
The previous Democratic president -- a guy named Bill Clinton, who Republicans hounded with a meaningless sex scandal -- handed off to his Republican successor a $46 billion federal surplus after having erased the deficit for three successive years.
That surplus disappeared the first year George W. Bush was in office, even before the 9/11 attacks happened, in no small part because Bush began slashing taxes for the wealthy immediately upon taking office. And then he and his Republican allies running the Congress proceeded to ring up the deficit to unheard-of heights, thanks largely to a needless invasion of another nation under false pretenses.
Where were all these Republicans in the years 2001-2006, when they were setting new records for federal deficits and destroying the economy along the way?