Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Boehner's to blame

Opinion

As speaker, he has a higher responsibility

Comments (20)

Blame this man for the government shutdown.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

There's a way out. Will he take it?

The government of the United States of America is closed for business today, courtesy of the Republican Party. It’s a national embarrassment, like a scene from the Marx Brothers’ classic 1933 satire “Duck Soup,” only without the anarchic humor.
Hail Freedonia!
Who produced today’s farce? Was it the Tea Party hotheads, 50 or so House Republicans who love ideological combat but hate governing? Or was it Sen. Ted Cruz, perhaps the most cunning demagogue America has produced since Joe McCarthy?
All played their discreditable parts. But the man in the director’s chair is John Boehner, who is bidding for the title of worst House speaker in U.S. history.
Why Boehner? Because he knows better, and could have prevented the shut-down. And because, as America’s third-ranking constitutional officer, after the President and vice president, he is supposed to serve America’s interests — not the febrile demands of his party’s most rabid partisans. That’s Eric Cantor’s job.
Boehner is by all accounts a decent and patriotic man. He was there in the mid-1990s when the Gingrich Republicans shut the government down. He knows that the GOP’s tantrum rejuvenated Bill Clinton and set him on course to a surprisingly easy reelection.
So what explains Boehner’s abject subservience to his party’s most extreme and hateful voices? One possibility is that he likes being speaker, even if that means putting his manhood in a blind trust. Or maybe Boehner has drunk deeply of the Tea Party Kool-Aid, and actually believes that Obamacare is about to crush the life out of the U.S. economy.
But wait: Aren’t speakers also party leaders? Yes, and like Nancy Pelosi and Tip O’Neill, they can be tough partisans, too. But the great speakers recognize that, when the crunch comes, their first duty is to country, not party. And the crunch has come.
It’s one thing to vote your principles. But shutting down the U.S. government and threatening its “full faith and credit” go way beyond the normal bounds of acceptable political conflict. They are threats to the integrity of our nation and economy, and the wellbeing of our people.
The front page of the NY Daily News on October 1, 2013.

The front page of the NY Daily News on October 1, 2013.

Boehner’s office complains that it’s President Obama who is being recalcitrant and refusing to negotiate. This is disingenuous. Had the speaker proposed a negotiation over the federal budget, the White House would be at the table. After all, the budget impasse is why we need a continuing resolution to fund the government.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/boehner-blame-article-1.1472528#ixzz2gUKlkcP4
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