Boehner’s pitch to his caucus

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said President Obama “wants a $2.4 trillion blank check that lets him continue his spending binge through the next election.”

Putting aside the fact that the “blank check” argument is nonsensical garbage, I have to admit, Boehner’s line did bring a smile to my face. After all, if the check is for $2.4 trillion, it isn’t, you know, blank. In reality, there is no check, and the Speaker is just lying shamelessly, but even at face value, Boehner’s talking point is incoherent.

But that’s not all the Speaker is saying. Boehner’s office explained what he’s telling his caucus, in trying to get them to support his budget proposal.

“There are only three possible outcomes in this battle: President Obama gets his blank check; America defaults; or we call the president’s bluff by coming together and passing a bill that cuts spending and can pass in the United States Senate,” Boehner told the rank and file, according to aides to the speaker. “There is no other option.”

None of this is even remotely true, and the fact that Boehner is using this as his principal pitch suggests the Speaker doesn’t think highly of his own caucus’ intellect.

First, Obama isn’t seeking and wouldn’t get a “blank check.” Indeed, the very idea doesn’t make any sense at any level.

Second, Boehner thinks his right-wing plan “can pass in the United States Senate.” I can prove otherwise.

And third, the Speaker is arguing that the only other option is default, but that’s plainly crazy. There are plenty of other options, including a clean bill, Harry Reid’s overly-generous compromise offer, and some kind of hybrid model with $1 trillion in cuts now and empowering the White House, ala the McConnell plan, to raise the ceiling on its own in the next round.

I know Boehner is desperate to persuade his caucus, but shouldn’t House Republicans mind that their Speaker is lying to them and treating them like fools?

As for the success of Boehner’s outreach, The Hill counts 22 House Republican opponents of the Speaker’s plan. If 24 House Republicans vote against it, the plan will fail.

In other words, it’s going to be close.