Boehner claims imaginary credibility, pretends to be a grown-up

BOEHNER CLAIMS IMAGINARY CREDIBILITY, PRETENDS TO BE A GROWN-UP…. In the early 1990s, John Boehner (R-Ohio) was absolutely convinced that President Clinton’s economic agenda would be a disaster. He was wrong. Early on in the last decade, Boehner couldn’t have been more certain that President Bush’s economic agenda would generate incredible prosperity. Wrong again. And last year, Boehner just knew that President Obama’s recovery efforts wouldn’t help the economy at all. Strike three.

Boehner, in other words, is one of those rare officials with an uninterrupted track record of complete and total failure. It’s reminiscent of the “Seinfeld” episode in which George Costanza realizes that all of his instincts and decisions are entirely backwards, and begins doing the opposite of what he’s inclined to do.

Only George recognized that all of his decisions were wrong. Boehner looks back at his two decades of breathtaking misjudgments, and concludes that he’s not only credible on economic policy, but he’s also in a position to lecture those who are trying to clean up his mess.

Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, was set on Tuesday to call on President Obama to fire his economic advisers as Mr. Boehner tried to lay out an economic case for restoring Congressional Republicans to power in the November elections.

In a speech to be delivered at the City Club of Cleveland, Mr. Boehner planned to unveil a five-point plan that he said would provide a better economic alternative to the Democrats’ current course.

In addition to encouraging Mr. Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts that are set to expire, Mr. Boehner will say the president should seek and accept the resignations of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council.

Reading the text as written for delivery, it seemed like a series of tired talking points, just sewn together. Did you know John Boehner loves tax cuts? And hates cap-and-trade, health care reform, and card-check? Who would have guessed?

Boehner’s vision is absurd; his credibility is non-existent; and his policy prescription is a joke. I realize that he’s trying to position himself as a future Speaker of the House — today represents an audition of sorts — and even had the audacity to include this in his speech: “It’s time to put grown-ups in charge. It’s time for people willing to accept responsibility.”

But that’s crazy. Boehner should be begging for forgiveness, not power. If he’s willing to “accept responsibility,” he can start by acknowledging that his ideal economic agenda — the one tried from 2001 to 2008 — was an abysmal failure. Indeed, the centerpiece of what Boehner calls a “fresh start” is an extension of the Bush-era tax policies that led to weak growth, a stunted job market, and a massive deficit.

This “fresh start” is literally just the Bush/Cheney agenda — Bush’s tax rates, Bush’s regulatory structure, Bush’s domestic policies — coupled with a vague promise to cut spending somewhere, at some time, affecting someone.

As for putting “grown-ups in charge,” maybe now would be a good time to point out that the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein recently described Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor as “the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious.”

Boehner genuinely seems to believe that if we just go back to the policies that got us into this mess, maybe they’ll work this time. That agenda already failed once, and it doesn’t make a lick of sense, but that’s no reason not to give it another shot, right? Boehner hopes, in other words, that a national amnesia has swept the land.

And who knows, maybe it has. But for anyone who has a shred of understanding of recent events, Boehner’s extended whine today is impossible to take seriously.