House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) looked pretty small last night, delivering a weak speech that inadvertently bolstered all of President Obama’s arguments about GOP intransigence. But for me, the most striking thing about Boehner’s address wasn’t the weak content and poor delivery; it was his breathtaking dishonesty.
If one were to create a drinking game in which viewers took a shot every time the Speaker lied, the “winner” would be in the hospital this morning with alcohol poisoning.
Let’s take a few minutes to list the top 10 most egregious falsehoods in Boehner’s speech.
10. “Millions are looking for work, have been for some time, and the spending binge going on in Washington is a big part of the reason why.”
Nonsense. There hasn’t been a spending “binge,” and public investments improve job creation.
9. “President Obama came to Congress in January and requested business as usual — yet another routine increase in the national debt limit — we in the House said ‘not so fast.‘”
Making it seem as if Obama is the one requesting a debt-ceiling increase is fundamentally dishonest. Worse, in January, Boehner wanted a routine increase, too.
8. “Here’s what we got for that spending binge: a massive health care bill that most Americans never asked for.”
Actually, the Affordable Care Act saves taxpayers billions of dollars. That’s the opposite of a “spending binge.”
7. “A ‘stimulus’ bill that was more effective in producing material for late-night comedians than it was in producing jobs.”
In reality, the stimulus helped stop the bleeding, while creating growth and millions of jobs.
6. “A national debt that has gotten so out of hand it has sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours.”
The national debt is perfectly manageable at its current size. The unprecedented crisis is from Boehner and his caucus; not the debt itself.
5. “I want you to know I made a sincere effort to work with the president to identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law. I gave it my all. Unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer.”
If Obama completely rejected every aspect of the right-wing CC&B fantasy, then House Republicans weren’t saying “yes.”
4. “The president has often said we need a ‘balanced’ approach — which in Washington means: we spend more, you pay more.”
Actually, Obama has called for trillions in spending cuts.
3. “The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs.”
Boehner’s plan, unveiled yesterday, makes no fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. Obama, meanwhile, has presented several offers that make significant cuts to entitlement programs. That’s not opinion; it’s just reality — which Boehner is no doubt aware of.
2. “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today.”
Obama isn’t asking for a “blank check.” The nation needs a debt-ceiling increase to pay for the things we’ve already bought. Going forward, Congress will maintain its power of the purse — the administration can’t just spend whatever it wants — so as GOP whining goes, this is just gibberish.
1. “If the President signs [the House Republican plan], the ‘crisis’ atmosphere he has created will simply disappear.”
Obama created the crisis environment? The Speaker’s speechwriters really should stop using Orwell as an instruction manual.