Speaker of the House John Boehner (R/OH) is losing it. He's stuck between the knowledge that the country's economy might well rest on his shoulders and the fact that he can't convince his own caucus to act. He understands that bad things will happen if the sequester (an economic crisis manufactured on purpose by his party) is allowed to hit--that unemployment will spike again, that we might be thrown back into recession. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed he wrote recently, Boehner--while pretending it was all the president's idea, and the fact that he and his fellow congressional Republicans were holding the global economy hostage had nothing to do with it, and conveniently forgetting the fact that he got massive spending cuts thanks to his hostage-taking--said, "A week from now, a dramatic new federal policy is set to go into effect that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more."
The thrust of Boehner's op-ed is blatantly deceptive--it was the Republicans who created this financial crisis, as well as every other one we've faced so regularly of late. But his description of the potentially calamitous effects of the sequester is pretty accurate.
Photo via Salon.com
But he's losing it now, because he knows the country needs him to act, and he can't. Today he said, "We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something."
That's not remotely true, and one has to hope the Speaker of the House knows it. Bills don't carry over from one Congress to the next. What the previous Congress did is entirely immaterial. The bills the House considered are meaningless now. And Senate and House Democrats--surely he knows this too--have put forth proposals, which Boehner refuses to even discuss, much less bring to the floor for a vote. Finally, according to our constitution, revenue and appropriations bills must begin in the House, not the Senate.
Maybe Boehner doesn't know these simple truths about how Congress works. Given that the Republicans in his caucus don't accept evolution or climate change or the overwhelming judgment of economists, they don't seem to be very keen on reality. So it's possible that Boehner really is their leader, and he denies reality just as effectively as the others do. He might genuinely believe that this Congress has acted on the sequester, or that the actions of last Congress have any bearing on this one. He might just be that big an idiot.
But if he knows better--if he understands the workings of the body he purportedly leads--then he's just lying to us.
Which is worse?