A column House Speaker John Boehner wrote for today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal (HERE) on the subject of impending sequester cuts has stirred considerable controversy on both the left and right of the political spectrum.
Byron York, a writer of impeccable conservative credentials, SAYS Boehner’s piece is “astonishingly bad”:
Boehner describes the upcoming sequester as a policy “that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more.”
Which leads to the question: Why would Republicans support a measure that threatens national security and thousands of jobs? Boehner and the GOP are determined to allow the $1.2 trillion sequester go into effect unless President Obama and Democrats agree to replacement cuts, of an equal amount, that target entitlement spending. If that doesn’t happen — and it seems entirely unlikely — the sequester goes into effect, with the GOP’s blessing.
In addition, Boehner calls the cuts “deep,” when most conservatives emphasize that for the next year they amount to about $85 billion out of a $3,600 billion budget. Which leads to another question: Why would Boehner adopt the Democratic description of the cuts as “deep” when they would touch such a relatively small part of federal spending?
The effect of Boehner’s argument is to make Obama seem reasonable in comparison. After all, the president certainly agrees with Boehner that the sequester cuts threaten national security and jobs. The difference is that Obama wants to avoid them. At the same time, Boehner is contributing to Republican confusion on the question of whether the cuts are in fact “deep” or whether they are relatively minor.
Could the GOP message on the sequester be any more self-defeating?
Meanwhile, on the left, Steve Benen offers a POINT-BY-POINT REBUTTAL of Boehner’s column and concludes with this:
Reading this breathtakingly dishonest op-ed, I can’t help but wonder about the House Speaker’s frame of mind. Either John Boehner actually believes the transparent nonsense he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which would mean the Speaker is alarmingly ignorant about the basics of current events, he’s deliberately trying to deceive the public, counting on Americans to be foolish enough to buy demonstrable falsehoods.
Either way, Boehner’s mendacious piece is a profound disappointment, and beneath the dignity of his office. If the Speaker is still capable of shame, he should be embarrassed to peddle such nonsense.
Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer uses the WHITE HOUSE BLOG to counter what he call’s Boehner’s “amazing act of revisionist history”:
The Speaker claims the sequester was a last minute agreement to resolve the debt limit increase the President wanted. Simply not true. In fact, it was the Speaker who praised the sequester at the time. Following the deal, he said “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.”