Even after allowing this hostage taking to go right up to the brink of default, Boehner wants us to believe he's really just worried about doing what's right for the country and might still be willing to make a deal with President Obama. If he was
July 24, 2011

Even after allowing this hostage taking to go right up to the brink of default, Boehner wants us to believe he's really just worried about doing what's right for the country and might still be willing to make a deal with President Obama. If he was worried about doing what's right, he'd help get a clean vote passed on the debt ceiling and we wouldn't be wondering if the markets might start reacting to this stuff at any moment.

Steve Benen has a great post up on this same interview -- Boehner claims to be 'worried about the country':

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), as expected, is now fully invested in a temporary debt-ceiling extension. He’ll accept $1 trillion in cuts — with no revenue — now, and then consider another extension next year after additional negotiations over taxes and entitlements.

Democrats want one debt-ceiling vote, seeing no need to put the country through this twice in less than a year. Take note of how Boehner responds to this.

Boehner suggested Sunday that by trying to put the next debt ceiling debate off for so long Obama was trying to gain political advantage.

“I know the president is worried about his next re-election, but, my God, shouldn’t we be worried about the country?” Boehner asked.

It’s entirely possible that the House Speaker really is this dumb. With this in mind, I’m trying to think about how to ask the questions in a way John Boehner can understand. How about this:

1. How would the country benefit from two votes on raising the debt ceiling, instead of one?

2. If Republicans are sincerely concerned about economic “uncertainty,” why tell investors, job creators, and international markets that default is a possibility early next year?

3. If getting one debt-ceiling revision through Congress is necessary but difficult, why make lawmakers go through this twice?

Steve went on to slam Boehner for having the nerve to try to take the high road here when he has allowed this hostage taking in the first place and wondered if Boehner would care to answer his own question. I don't expect we'll see that happen any time soon.

Transcript below the fold.

WALLACE: There is considerable criticism among House Republicans, and I'm sure some of them are going shake their heads watching what you've just said, that you are too eager for this grand bargain. You're too eager to make a deal with Barack Obama.

BOEHNER: What I am eager for is to do the right thing for the country. I didn't come here to be a congressman, I came here to do something on behalf of my country. I didn't want to be a speaker of the House because I needed a big fancy job, I wanted to be speaker so that I could lead an effort to do the right things for our country.

We have a spending problem. And I am going to do everything I can to try to tackle this problem in as big a way as I can because it is the right thing for the country.

WALLACE: Even if it causes heart burn in the House GOP caucus?

BOEHNER: This is about doing the right thing for our country.

WALLACE: You now say that you and the president are from different planets, you have two entirely different views of the world. What made you ever think, what makes you seem to think that even now that you can make a deal with this president with his views on trillions of dollars in spending, entitlements and taxes?

BOEHNER: Well, Chris, I was born with the glass half full. I'm the optimist. And it is about trying to find common ground. Yes, I understand the president feels that we need a bigger government and more spending here in Washington. I believe allowing the American people to keep more of that money is the best way to create jobs and grow our economy.

But having said the fact that we're on -- it is almost like we come from two different planets. My job on behalf the country is to find as much common ground as we can to help move the country ahead.

WALLACE: But Democrats are saying, and you heard this implied by Tim Geithner just before you, that you end up looking bad with voters because you walked out of the talks twice. And you are willing to risk default because you want to cut Medicare and Medicaid and not cut tax for the wealthy.

BOEHNER: I'm not going to get involved in all that political sniping. I am interested in a solution to the problem we face. I don't want to see default. I don't frankly want to get anywhere close to it.

WALLACE: We are close to it now.

BOEHNER: It is bad for our economy and bad for our country. And so I am trying to find a common ground that doable in the time remaining.

WALLACE: Well let me just ask you, and that's the last question, sir. How does disappointed are you, because according to your plan, as we understand it now, and it may change, a trillion in spending cuts in the short term. How disappointed are you that after months of talking, after this urgent deadline, that it seems now that maybe the most that Washington can come up with when you are going to spend $46 trillion over the next decade, is $1 trillion in spending?

BOEHNER: After over six months conversations with the president about doing the big deal, about taking a big step in the right direction, it is pretty clear to me that they are just not willing to do it. That the next election matters more than doing what is right for the country.

I am not worried about the next election. I told the president months ago forget about the next election. If we do the right thing for the country, we'll not have to worry about who is going to get elected and who isn't.

WALLACE: Speaker Boehner, I want to thank you always -- as always for coming in. And we'll see how the world turns this week, sir.

BOEHNER: We sure will.

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