A ‘respectful’ boycott

President Obama hosted a meeting at the White House this morning with several leading congressional Republicans, for the purpose of exploring debt-reduction ideas. The discussion coincides with an ongoing GOP hostage strategy — Republicans have said they’ll use the debt ceiling to cause a recession on purpose unless Obama agrees to drastic cuts, including cuts to Medicare.

One of the invited members apparently decided to boycott the White House talks.

A freshman GOP lawmaker rejected an invitation to the White House on Wednesday, saying he didn’t want to be “lectured” by President Obama.

“I have respectfully declined the president’s invitation to the White House today,” Rep. Jeff Landry (La.) said in a statement. “I don’t intend to spend my morning being lectured to by a president whose failed policies have put our children and grandchildren in a huge burden of debt.”

I don’t mean to sound picky, but I’m not sure if Rep. Landry fully appreciates the meaning of the word “respectfully.” If the president of the United States invites a lawmaker to the White House for a policy discussion, and that lawmaker refuses to attend because he doesn’t want to be “lectured” by a president whose policies he thinks have “failed,” he’s not being especially “respectful.”

But putting niceties aside, Landry also seems confused about the rationale for his little tantrum. As the right-wing Louisianan sees it, Obama is responsible for “a huge burden of debt.” I’m reminded of the recent analysis done by Chad Stone, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ chief economist, who posted this item showing the actual drivers of U.S. debt over a two-decade span. Stone explained:

The complementary chart … shows that the Bush-era tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — including their associated interest costs — account for almost half of the projected public debt in 2019 (measured as a share of the economy) if we continue current policies.

Altogether, the economic downturn, the measures enacted to combat it (including the 2009 Recovery Act), and the financial rescue legislation play a smaller role in the projected debt increase over the next decade.

Here’s the image:

I’d “respectfully” suggest Jeff Landry turn off Fox News long enough to recognize reality and stop saying stupid things.