Boehner’s bumbling IMF blather

BOEHNER’S BUMBLING IMF BLATHER…. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is leading his caucus in opposition to funding for U.S. troops this week, based on money in the spending bill for the International Monetary Fund. To fund the IMF, the GOP leader says, is to support a “global bailout.”

It’s interesting, then, to take a closer look at Boehner’s record on the issue.

That wasn’t Boehner’s tune in 1998, when the Clinton administration requested $18 billion in IMF funding to ameliorate the effects of the Asian financial crisis.

“I have been as critical about the IMF as many, but given the crisis we have around the world, the U.S. needs to provide leadership,” the Ohio Republican told the [Newark, N.J.] Star Ledger in Oct. 1998. “The only real avenue is the IMF.”

His comments were in keeping with the rest of the House GOP leadership at the time, including then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said the US had “an obligation to work with” the fund.

A Boehner spokesman responded that the “world of 2009 is very different from the world of 1998.” That’s true — the IMF investment is more important now.

Indeed, let’s not brush past that too quickly. Yes, it’s ridiculous to see the House Republican vote against funding the troops during two wars. And sure, it’s great to contrast his opposition to IMF funding now with his enthusiastic support for IMF funding a decade ago.

But Boehner’s argument, in addition to being hypocritical and dishonest, is also wildly wrong and irresponsible. As Matt Yglesias explained earlier, “It now looks like [the global economy] might start getting better. But it’s possible that some “other shoe” or two may drop — most likely the meltdown of an Eastern European country — and the IMF exists to stop that kind of thing from happening.”

Boehner’s failure works on several levels.