Bayh, caveat emptor, Conrad, defenders of the rich, extending tax cuts, Face the Nation, GOP, Harry Reid, Joe Lieberman, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Nelson, Obama administration, only option, Senators, Speaker-in waiting, tax reductions, Webb
Speaker-in-waiting (he hopes) John Boehner says a few reasonable sounding words on Face the Nation and the headlines are about a ‘shift in policy,’ a ‘crack in Republican solidarity,’ a ‘victory for the Obama administration,’ and ‘Republicans caving on the tax cut battle.’ Three words of advice:
Don’t buy it.
First, why would anyone believe a word Boehner says? Then look at the entirety of his comments. Yes, he said, “If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for it.” He also added, “But I’m going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans.” One hand giveth, the other taketh away.
Here’s what the Orangeman is doing as I see it. One, he’s taking a campaign issue away from the Democrats. He’s not going to let them beat the GOP over the head with ‘defenders of the rich’ for the next seven weeks, so he appears to show willingness to compromise.
Two, Boehner uses the qualifier “if the only option I have is…” because he knows that’s not the only option he’s going to have. He knows that, like everything else, the battle over extending the tax cuts is going to be in the Senate, not in the House. He knows that there are already 4 Democratic Senators—Bayh, Conrad, Nelson, and Webb—plus Joe Lieberman, who have come out in support of extending all the tax cuts for at least some period of time.
That’s why he also said this during the interview: “I don’t control the agenda on Capitol Hill. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do…”
Here he’s painting the Democrats into somewhat of a corner. He and the Republicans can say, ‘See, it’s not us, it’s them. We’re not the obstructionists here. We’re willing to compromise but the president can’t get members of his own party to go along with him.’
Boehner hasn’t turned reasonable, it’s all a political calculation. Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.