Boehner struggles with good news

BOEHNER STRUGGLES WITH GOOD NEWS…. The new employment report shows the strongest job creation in five years, leaving House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with an awkward challenge. Does he take credit for Democrats successfully getting the economy back on track and risk being mocked, or does Boehner downplay good news and look like a leader rooting for failure?

In his press statement this morning, the Speaker leaned towards the latter.

“While any improvement is welcome news, job growth in America is still nowhere close to what it should be. Our economy continues to suffer from the uncertainty being caused for private-sector job creators by the Democrats who run Washington. Over the past month, rather than joining Republicans in focusing on policies that promote long-term economic growth to help balance the federal budget, the Democrats who control Washington have indicated they are planning to increase taxes and allow the government’s spending binge to continue.”

This is kind of sad, but let’s take a moment to unfold the statement anyway.

First, the only “uncertainty” hanging over the economy right now is whether the debt ceiling is going to be extended, or whether there will be a massive catastrophe of Congress’ making. The only people in America responsible for this “uncertainty” is John Boehner and his caucus. (Indeed, this morning’s statement goes on to say, “Congressional Republicans have made clear there will be no debt limit increase unless it is accompanied by significant spending cuts and reforms.” Isn’t this a perfect example of creating uncertainty?)

Second, Democrats don’t “run Washington” anymore. Boehner should realize this — he’s the Speaker of the House.

And third, Republicans aren’t “focusing on policies that promote long-term economic growth,” they’re focusing on abortion rights and austerity measures that undermine economic growth.

Aside from this and assorted other problems — Boehner’s wrong that the GOP plan balanced the budget — the Speaker’s message is just fine. It would be nice if he were capable of applauding good news, though I suppose that’s too much to ask.