With Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B(as in Bad) having gone down in flames last night now is the time to look back on Boehner’s negotiating ability, or more to the point the lack thereof.
First up we have the Pledge to America Boehner and crew crafted in the 2010 election cycle. In the Pledge Boehner and the boys promised to cut $100 billion in federal spending in the first year. By the time Boehner had finished his first round of budget cutting negotiations with Harry Reid he had managed to cut a whopping $100 million dollars. Round one for Boehner ends in #EpicFail.
Boehner’s next turn at negotiating to be examined here is the 2011 debt limit battle. In this fight Obama and the Democrats wanted to raise the nation’s debt limit without any strings attached let alone any spending restraints. Boehner on the other hand wanted to have the Dem’s sign off on the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act which would have cut $100 billion in spending right away, capped federal spending at a percentage of GDP, and required Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment. Of course Obama and his fellow Utopian Statist Democrats wanted nothing to do with this so Boehner negotiated the Super Committee deal after having walked away from talks with Obama after the President upped his revenue demands from $800 billion(which Boehner was willing to agree to) to $1.2 trillion. In the Super Committee deal 12 members of Congress were supposed to find a little over a trillion dollars in deficit reduction if they couldn’t then sequestration would kick in bringing cuts to the military and Medicare. As we all know the committee couldn’t even agree whether the sky was blue let alone to find any spending cuts and so we got stuck with sequestration.
Which brings us to the fiscal cliff debacle. First Boehner was willing to give Obama $800 billion in new revenue from closing tax loopholes and deductions. Then came Plan B where Boehner was willing to raise tax rates on people who earn more than a million dollars a year while keeping existing rates(which expire January 1st for everyone) the same for people who earn less than that. Now keep in mind that NO Republican lead House of Representatives has ever approved raising marginal income tax rates since the 16th Amendment was ratified. Earlier in the week President Obama balked at this offer from Boehner and last night so to did the Republican members of the House(or at least enough of them) causing Boehner to pull Plan B from being voted on at all.
Washington Times-GOP controlled House has never raised taxes
When you look at each of these examples of Boehner negotiating, in many cases with himself, it becomes very clear that John Boehner couldn’t negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag let alone into a deal that would be good for the country or the GOP(or both).
If John Boehner really wanted to cut $100 billion in spending right out of the gate following the Republican takeover of the House in 2010 he would have backed Michele Bachmann’s effort to deny over $100 billion in administrative and implementation funding for Obamacare. If he really wanted to get Washington’s fiscal house in order during the debt limit showdown last year he would have gotten the House to vote for Cut, Cap, and Balance and then left town forcing Obama and Harry Reid’s hands. And if he really wanted to avoid this fiscal cliff, which he helped to create via his bad negotiating in the past, he would have gotten the House to vote for either a permanent extension of all current tax rates or for a package of actual rate cuts for the lower tax brackets while keeping higher tax rates the same(as Mark Levin has suggested) and then left town for the holidays while cutting a CBO estimated $2.6 trillion in spending by defunding(if not repealing) Obamacare.
Of course for John Boehner to have done any or all of those things would require some balls, some conviction, some adherence to conservative principals, some guts, and a backbone on his part; none of which he has, not to mention at least a little bit of negotiating skills(of which he clear lacks any).
The Republican members of the 113th Congress need to do themselves a favor when the new Congress starts in a few weeks and that is to vote themselves a new Speaker of the House, because John Boehner isn’t up to the job, and I suggest the GOP make Allen West Speaker of the House instead of Boehner. (Acceptable alternatives to Allen West would be Sarah Palin, Rep. Louie Gohmert(R-TX), Rep. Michele Bachmann(R-MI), Rep. Jim Jordan(R-OH), and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker)