PRESIDENT, DNC KEEP HEAT ON BOEHNER…. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) handed Democrats another opportunity this week, arguing that sweeping Wall Street reform efforts are simply unnecessary. An unregulated financial industry nearly destroyed the global economy, but as far as Boehner is concerned, Democratic policymakers are “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” Even Boehner’s press office had trouble spinning this one away.
Dems are trying to capitalize on the Minority Leader accidentally saying what he really believes, since it fits so nicely into Democrats’ larger campaign themes. CNN noted that “Boehner’s comments couldn’t come at a better time for Democrats, who are on the eve of passing the financial reform bill with little-to-none GOP support and are eager to portray Republicans as out of step with Main Street America.”
To that end, the DNC has a new web video mocking Boehner, and more importantly, President Obama intends to emphasize the point at a town-hall event in Wisconsin this afternoon. According to the prepared text:
“As we speak, we’re on the verge of passing the most comprehensive financial reform since the Great Depression — reform that will prevent a crisis like this from happening again. It’s reform that will protect our economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility of a few. Reform that will protect consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. Reform that ensures taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes.
“But most of our friends in the other party are planning on voting against this reform. In fact, just yesterday, I was stunned to hear the leader of the Republicans in the House say that financial reform was like using a nuclear weapon to target an ant. That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant. The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives savings.
“Well if the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant. He should ask the men and women who’ve been out of work for months at a time. He should ask the Americans who send me letters every night that talk about how they’re barely hanging on.
“These Americans don’t believe the financial crisis was an ant. They know that it’s what led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. And they expect their leaders in Washington to do whatever it takes to make sure a crisis like this never happens again. The Republican leader might want to maintain a status quo on Wall Street. But we want to move America forward.”
Presidential remarks like these will likely take the Boehner quote — it’s not a “gaffe”; he actually believed what he was saying — to a new level. At a minimum, it will keep the story alive for another day, and likely put Republicans on the defensive, at least a little.
Will this have the staying power as Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) apology to BP (another item Obama is scheduled to emphasize today) or John McCain’s “fundamentals of the economy are strong” line? I rather doubt it. But as Democrats continue to push the theme that Republicans are on the wrong side of every issue that matters, Boehner’s candor certainly helps.
Also note, by the way, that the campaign mode Team Obama entered recently is clearly in full swing now.