Paul Kane at WaPo:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called Tuesday for the mass firing of the Obama administration’s economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House adviser Larry Summers, arguing that November’s midterm elections are shaping up as a referendum on sustained unemployment across the nation and saying the “writing is on the wall.”
Boehner said President Obama‘s team lacks “real-world, hands-on experience” in creating jobs that are needed for a full economic recovery. The Republican lawmaker cited reports that some senior aides complained of “exhaustion,” including the recently departed budget chief Peter Orszag.
“President Obama should ask for – and accept – the resignations of the remaining members of his economic team, starting with Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council,” Boehner said in the morning speech to business leaders at the City Club of Cleveland. The mass dismissal, he added, would be “no substitute for a referendum on the president’s job-killing agenda. That question will be put before the American people in due time. But we do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing ‘stimulus’ policies.”
Vice President Biden lashed back at Boehner, called his “so-called” economic plan nothing but a list of what Republicans are against and devoid of innovative new ideas that can help move the country forward.
In a sarcastic tone, Biden thanked Boehner for the suggestion that the president fire his top economic advisers.
“Very constructive advice and we thank the leader for that,” Biden said.
Andrew Malcolm at Los Angeles Times:
But then Boehner’s communications staff springs the trap. Having drawn their DNC opponents into helping to publicize the Republican speech, just before he speaks and in time for the morning news shows they leak the fairly dramatic news that the GOP leader’s remarks will call for the mass firing of Obama’s entire economic time for, in effect, engineering the prolonged period of unemployment. Which gets the debate back onto the economy where the GOP wants it.)
Everyone involved and watching knows it’s a pedestrian game. Which is a large part of the reason that only 19% of Americans say they approve of the job the Democratic Congress is doing. Among Republicans that approval rate is only 5%. Even among Democrats, however, congressional approval stands at only 38%, down from 55% one year ago.
Such predictable sparring is what the parties do, though. Why? Because despite what voters tell pollsters, it works. Americans in recent elections have re-elected about 80% of incumbent senators and 90% of House representatives.
We’ll see come the night of Nov. 2 if 2010’s voters remain as hypocritical as they’re so quick to say pols are. Or if this era of fear and frustration spurs a real change in ballot box retribution — and, thus, perhaps even an end to predictable pathetic prebuttals.
Boehner’s call for mass firings makes for good sound bite material, but it surely doesn’t accomplish anything substantive. After all, Boehner knows that even if Obama fired his entire economic staff today, they’d be replaced by people who largely agree with the Geithner/Summers ideas. Certainly, Obama isn’t going to be appointing free-market conservatives to run his economic policy.
Moreover, Boehner’s demand inevitably brings up the question of who you bring in to replace them and, as Slate’s David Weigel noted this morning on Twitter the traditional GOP practice of looking to the business and financial community for such people hasn’t exactly worked out well in the past:
I like the suggestion of putting a “business leader” in charge. Like, err, Paul O’Neill, John Snow, or Hank Paulsen!
All of whom, of course, didn’t see the 2008 economic crisis coming, or at least didn’t do anything to try to stop it if they did.
In fact, Boehner may have given Obama the best political advice he could get. Firing the team that failed to deliver the growth Obama promised would at least show that Obama understands that his policies aren’t working. If he waits until the day after the midterms, it’s not going to do him or his party much good.
This morning, in Cleveland, OH, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) slammed President Obama’s economic policies and called for the resignation of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. Here’s the video, and here are his prepared remarks. He railed against “job-killing tax hikes,” stimulus spending that “has gotten us nowhere,” and “government run amok.” Boehner is right on about ending economic uncertainty, particularly about future tax rates and unsupportable levels of future public debt. However, he sounded as if all of our problems began when President Obama was sworn in as president on January 20, 2009. Our current suffering mostly arose from the Iraq War, Medicare Part D, and the very lax regulatory environment that allowed the financial crisis and the Gulf oil spill to occur, all courtesy of President George W. Bush and the Republicans. In my opinion, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and Ben Bernanke are all to be commended for their Herculean efforts to keep us from falling into a Depression. Today, the Congressional Budget Office estimated how much worse off we would have been without the stimulus bill. Mr. Boehner also forgot the mention that his tax and spending policies would make the rich a lot richer and the rest of us worse off. The main advantage of being in the minority is that you get to blame the majority for everything that is wrong in the world.
Derek Thompson at The Atlantic:
Rep. John Boehner in a speech today: “When Congress returns, we should force Washington to cut non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels – before the ‘stimulus’ was put into place. This would show Washington is ready to get serious about bringing down the deficits that threaten our economy.”
Rep. John Boehner’s spokesperson in January when President Obama proposed freezing non-defense discretionary spending in 2010 for three years, which would have brought it in line with 2008 levels:
“Given Washington Democrats’ unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you’re going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest.”
There is a lot of buzz around Rep. John Boehner’s policy speech and Democrats — from Vice President Biden to little-known operatives — have scurried to slam it. Bush-bashing veterans, on the lookout for a new GOP demon, are hoping to make Boehner a campaign issue. Yet as Jake Sherman of Politico notes, that strategy seems to be a bit flat, “despite Democratic efforts.”
As Boehner basked in the spotlight today, even he acknowledged that November has little to do with him. “Eighty or 90 percent of this election is going to be about them,” the House minority leader told reporters. “But that 10 or 20 percent of the election that’s about us, my goal has been, for 20 months, is to maximize that portion of the election that’s about us.”