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The Daily Beast's John Avlon digs up this slide from a July 31, 2011 PowerPoint presentation distributed by the office of House Speaker John Boehner to his fellow Republicans:

House Speaker John Boehner pushes sequester to his GOP colleagues
So back in July of 2011, Boehner was sufficiently enthusiastic about the sequester that he was willing to push it to his House Republican colleagues. But now that it's about to kick in, he blames it all on President Obama. His latest effort at the blame game: writing a Wall Street Journal op-ed with the headline "The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created" and blaming the president for having "invented" sequestration. Follow me below the fold to examine Boehner's latest installment of the blame game.

Boehner says President Obama insisted on sequestration instead of risking the possibility of another debt limit crisis during an election year. According to him, that means Obama bears sole responsibility for the sequester, even though Congress voted for it.

During the summer of 2011, as Washington worked toward a plan to reduce the deficit to allow for an increase in the federal debt limit, President Obama and I very nearly came to a historic agreement. Unfortunately our deal fell apart at the last minute when the president demanded an extra $400 billion in new tax revenue—50% more than we had shaken hands on just days before.

It was a disappointing decision by the president, but with just days until a breach of the debt limit, a solution was still required—and fast. I immediately got together with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to forge a bipartisan congressional plan. It would be called the Budget Control Act.

The plan called for immediate caps on discretionary spending (to save $917 billion) and the creation of a special House-Senate "super committee" to find an additional $1.2 trillion in savings. The deal also included a simple but powerful mechanism to ensure that the committee met its deficit-reduction target: If it didn't, the debt limit would not be increased again in a few months.

But President Obama was determined not to face another debt-limit increase before his re-election campaign. Having just blown up one deal, the president scuttled this bipartisan, bicameral agreement. His solution? A sequester.

With the debt limit set to be hit in a matter of hours, Republicans and Democrats in Congress reluctantly accepted the president's demand for the sequester, and a revised version of the Budget Control Act was passed on a bipartisan basis.

But even if the sequester was Obama's approach to solving the debt limit crisis, that hardly exonerates Boehner—and not just because he supported the sequester. Remember, the reason the debt limit became a crisis was that House Republicans demanded deficit reduction in exchange for raising the debt limit but at the same time refused to negotiate over revenue.

President Obama made the mistake of chasing the unobtainable Grand Bargain instead of making Republicans pay for their hostage crisis, but the bulk of the blame for creating the debt limit crisis in the first place falls on GOP shoulders. If Republicans didn't want the sequester, they shouldn't have made the only alternative be yet another fight over the debt limit or even more draconian cuts.

Obviously, there's plenty of blame to go around. And it's truly pathetic that Washington, D.C. is more focused on playing the blame game than simply getting rid of a policy that nobody thinks is good. But at least Democrats and the president have offered a short-term way out of the mess—a compromise that would raise revenue and cut spending to offset the sequester through the end of the year. Republicans are simply pointing fingers.

At this point, everybody seems believe to the sequester will begin to kick in on March 1 because Republicans won't agree to compromise on revenue. Unless that changes, that means the the next opportunity to do anything about the sequester will be in November 2014 when the entire House and one-third of the Senate are up for reelection. Maybe voters will have forgotten all about the sequester by then, but if they haven't—and if they wan't to get rid of it—voting for Democrats will be the only rational option.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So which Dem talking heads are writing a push- (9+ / 0-)

    back piece against Boehner's op-ed?


    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:52:25 AM PST

  •  Wow, when did W ever "rage"? (6+ / 0-)

    Is Boehner sure Obama is raging?  Perhaps he is rioting, or thuggishly threatening?  At least he isn't being lazy now...

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:55:00 AM PST

    •  Looting too... (0+ / 0-)

      Even if he isn't doing anything actively, he sure looks suspicious doesn't he?

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

      by dankester on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:34:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stop and frisk!!! (0+ / 0-)

        I can't wait for Obama to start looting and a wolf pack, no doubt!

        Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:38:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This guy is what........third in the line of (11+ / 0-)


  •  Besides the (11+ / 0-)

    "I got 98% of what I wanted" thingy, I thought the reason the deal fell apart between Boehner and Obama is because Boehner couldn't sell it to his raving lunatic caucus.  

    It was pretty universally thought by sane people that Boehner and the nutjobs in his party were the cause of Standard & Poor's downgrade because of their supposed "brinkmanship."  Brinkmanship depends on shrewdness and awareness of consequences.  It doesn not mean "man takes ship to the brink because of recklessness."

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 08:57:52 AM PST

    •  That was my memory as well - an entire caucus of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bewareofme, gchaucer2, MKinTN

      tea-stained, single-term congressional suicide bombers over which Boehner and his lil' buddy Eric had absolutely no control.

    •  The story is Boehner agreed to $800 Billion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in new revenue and thought he and Obama had a deal.  Then, Obama demands another $400 billion in revenue, and Boehner wouldn't even return his calls after that.

      According to Bob Woodward

      But at one critical juncture, with an agreement tantalizingly close, Obama pressed Boehner for additional taxes as part of a final deal -- a miscalculation, in retrospect, given how far the House speaker felt he'd already gone.

      The president called three times to speak with Boehner about his latest offer, according to Woodward. But the speaker didn't return the president's phone call for most of an agonizing day, in what Woodward calls a "monumental communications lapse" between two of the most powerful men in the country.

       When Boehner finally did call back, he jettisoned the entire deal. Obama lost his famous cool, according to Woodward, with a "flash of pure fury" coming from the president; one staffer in the room said Obama gripped the phone so tightly he thought he would break it.

      "He was spewing coals," Boehner told Woodward, in what is described as a borderline "presidential tirade."

      "He was pissed…. He wasn't going to get a damn dime more out of me. He knew how far out on a limb I was. But he was hot. It was clear to me that coming to an agreement with him was not going to happen, and that I had to go to Plan B."

  •  I'm heartened by the GOP's messaging strategy (19+ / 0-)

    On a day Obama is doing local TV interviews in 8 markets to be heavily affected by sequestration, Boehner as spokesman for the party of personal responsibility is peddling an "it's not my fault!" narrative in an organ of the rightwing echo chamber.

    While the House GOP is holding press conferences with itself headlined with ridiculous and childish hash tag obamaquester nonsense, Obama is holding press conferences with real people likely to be personally affected by sequestration.

    Boehner is a freaking loser.

    •  98% of what he wanted (11+ / 0-)

      We need to hang them with that rope.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:02:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The House are the keepers of the purse...yada yada (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, a2nite, Bon Temps


    •  Repubs' valiant fight to bring their poll numbers (0+ / 0-)

      down to zero. Just like the little red train that could, "I think we can, I think we can."

      Um...please forgive me, adorable little red train...

    •  Correct (0+ / 0-)

      "While the House GOP is holding press conferences with itself headlined with ridiculous and childish hash tag obamaquester nonsense, Obama is holding press conferences with real people likely to be personally affected by sequestration."

      And the national media is crying (panties in a bunch) that they get no access to Obama.

      As somebody else said, Obama should give the national media guys nicknames like GWB.  I suggest, Republican Tool # 1 (RT1), Republican Tool # 2 (RT2), and so on.

      Republicans - they measure our national success by corporate profit margin, not the well being of the citizens.

      by egarratt on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:41:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I kind of had a lightbulb moment today (0+ / 0-)

        First of all, no matter how legitimate a point may be and how illegitimate the opposing point may be, the MSM will always frame it as he-said she-said gossiping in which everyone's motives are equally legit.

        Second, the mainstream or traditional press has fallen in a big way in terms of its share of info dissemination, especially with younger audiences.

        So, Obama shuns traditional outlets in favor of markets that have a more diverse base of consumers than old white people and that will actually give him a fair hearing rather than consistently take him down to the level of the bomb throwers. Meanwhile, the GOP clings to the MSM which will always elevate them to the level of legitimate actors no matter how bullshit their position is. They think that their massive failure with young voters and other diverse constituencies is because they aren't wrapping their BS in a shiny enough package, when in reality the media bubble they live in - both Fox News and MSM - ascribes to them a nobility of purpose that voters aren't buying, and largely aren't even watching (or reading).

        The mainstream media has made itself irrelevant by turning everything into a gossip match in which all motives are considered equal. Obama is right to brush them off, because they are of no use to him nor to the public at large.

  •  The GOP is now... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Womantrust, shoeless, a2nite

    Trying to make it sound 'reasonable' when they say 'No.'

    Who is to blame?  Well, it is fair to say that Obama is at least 50% responsible for sequester.  But who really cares?  Where is the GOP plan to replace it?

    'Guns don't kill people, video games do - paraphrased from Lamar Alexander (Sen-R-TN)'

    by RichM on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:02:54 AM PST

  •  It's Not My Fault !! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's Clinton's Obama's fault !! I'm an innocent victim.

    The man has  is an inoperable cranial rectal inversion.

    I think that Republicanism is revealing itself as a personality disorder, not so much an ideology." -- Naomi Klein

    by AllanTBG on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:04:24 AM PST

  •  The VSPs will say "both sides are to blame," (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, a2nite, RichM, MKinTN

    and leave it at that. Benefits will be cut so the wealthy can keep their yachts.

  •  The GOP seems determined to take us to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Womantrust, a2nite, MKinTN

    Sequester land.  I don't think many people, including their supporters in the business community, are going to be too supportive.  It seems that Norquist and his brethrern in Congress are insisting on some kind of Waterloo like standoff partly out of desperation to validate their 'revolution' which is all but over.  I guess they are going to see if they can get Obama to blink because Obama will want to protect the economy.  However, Obama didn't mind the cut in defense spending in Q4 last year when he was running for reelection.  Why would he blink now?

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:05:28 AM PST

  •  A recent installment of Frontline on PBS,,, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Loge, Mogolori

    In a  recent installment of Frontline on PBS called "Cliffhanger", it was stated by the narrator that the idea of the sequester came from McConnell in the senate.

    Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

    by olo on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:05:36 AM PST

    •  Here is the transcript: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD, RichM
      NARRATOR: On July 31st, 2011, just two days before the deadline expired, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached his own deal with Vice President Biden.

      JOSHUA GREEN: At the last minute, McConnell stepped in, cut a deal with the White House that allowed Republicans to save face, allowed Washington to kind of kick the can down the road ‘til after the election and give Republicans a chance to defeat Barack Obama.

      NARRATOR: The deal would create what would become known as the fiscal cliff

      Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

      by olo on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:08:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jack Lew, then the Director of OMB (0+ / 0-)

      is the father of the sequester. It was an Obama administration idea. More details in coffeetalk's comment below.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:24:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is crazy! If it wasn't for House Republicans (6+ / 0-)

    threatening to blow up the US economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling in 2011, sequester would not even be in our lexicon right now.

    It's as simple as that.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:10:18 AM PST

  •  Yes, of course, because the Republicans of the (6+ / 0-)

    last Congress gave President Obama everything he asked for, every time he asked for something, so obviously they had no choice but to let the President write this whole sequester thing-y. Because that is what Republicans do when they lose elections; they follow the lead of the person who was elected. Therefore, any vote they might cast is not really their responsibility because it is the responsibility of the Democrats, at least if it is a stupid vote because Republicans are the party of personal responsibility as long as the personal responsibility is someone else's.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:11:07 AM PST

  •  Boehner's bullshit is like a Tom & Jerry cartoon.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, I love OCD

    he (Boehner - aka Tom) is always trying to catch Jerry(Obama).  It never works out and he gets shown up every time.
    Congress = clowns

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:12:09 AM PST

  •  Making Republicans pay for hostage taking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Means letting things like the sequester happen.  There is no painless way to stand up to that sort of strategy.

  •  And that's why you never write things down (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but seriously, this was not actually a fact in dispute, except in certain right wing precincts.  The only way Boehner could get his caucus to go along with raising the debt ceiling was to pretend to cut spending and punt everything till after the election, which results Boehner seems to have difficulty recognizing.

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:14:14 AM PST

  •  oh sure... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So now the GOP is saying they went along with the sequester because Obama proposed it...And here i was thinking that THE GOP scoffed at any thing Obama proposed. Remember the Gingrich line that anything the prez puts out will be rejected...

  •  They wouldn't be flailing so (0+ / 0-)

    loudly if they didn't know they'll take the blame for this.

    The sequester was praised here, IIRC, because no one could imagine the Republicans allowing deep defense cuts.  Decades of data prove otherwise.  The fact that their Tea Party experiment is imploding also wasn't a consideration then.  Progressives saw them, generally, as a genuine threat after 2010.  

    They're losing the public perception game which gives me hope for 2014.  Let's not blow the midterms again, this is our best shot at moving the whole country leftward.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:27:17 AM PST

  •  Boehner is upset that his strategy of creating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD

    the sequester is failing: that strategy being the bipartisan creation of the uberpainful sequester in the firm belief that the GOP could later bully the Dems into giving in to all their demands on social spending cuts, yet preserving defense spending.

    It's clear-cut abusive behavior, & the Dems are doing a little better at standing up to it.  And yet there is only so much they--We--can do about it.

    Is it fall of 2014 yet?


  •  Gives new life to term, "apologetics." n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Boehner Voted For It, So Did Cantor, Ryan & Issa.. (0+ / 0-)

    179 Republicans voted for it.  I suppose Obama forced them to.  I suppose that mean old Obama made them.

    Now they're all trying to welch on the deal.  

  •  Obama should take ownership of the sequester. (0+ / 0-)

    As in :

    "Look, if people aren't going to act in good faith, the sequester will get them scrambling while we use executive action to protect those least able to  withstand additional hardships.

    Then we'll see acting in good faith.
    Then, I hope, we can get some good work done.

    If not, we'll work day and night to keep the country going until 2014. Then you can elect people who remember that they're here to represent you, not the lobbyists.

    And we'll cheer louder than anybody."

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:38:15 AM PST

  •  I isolated the "I got 98% of what I wanted" quote (0+ / 0-)

    so it will be easier to pass around - until CBS probably has it pulled.  

    Keystone XL Pipeline - Canada gets the money, Asia gets the oil, America gets the toxic refinery pollution and potential for a pipeline leak ecological disaster.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:41:50 AM PST

  •  The Blame Game Jujutsu... (0+ / 0-)

    It's all about the blame game now (imo).

    I commented that the Senate should vote on a bill identical to the one offered in the house to repeal the sequester as well as the one referenced in this article.

    Give the House a choice between two bills.

    Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. - Albert Einstein

    by TriangleNC on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:45:09 AM PST

  •  This is the President's sequester (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep, VClib

    Yes, Republicans agreed to it. But this was a proposal from the White House, specifically Sperling and Lew, it was then sold to the Congress.  The President can't rewrite history -- he (through Sperling and Lew) came up with the idea and it was their proposal.

    What you leave out is that this happened on July 31, which was AFTER the White House proposed the sequester in a meeting on July 12 where Sperling proposed it but Boehner was "nervous" about the idea, after July 26 where Lew and Nabors went to Sen. Reid to convince him to buy in on the sequester, after McConnell agreed to it in the talks with Biden, and after Boehner got his first look at the solid proposal on July 30.  

    Then came the powerpoint in the diary.

    Time line is here.

    Now, it's clear that the sequester was a bluff -- that the President was proposing something he thought the Republicans would never let happen (the defense cuts).  But it was his proposal.  And it was a complete miscalculation by the White House, because the Republicans called his bluff, and here we are.

    Yes, Republicans share the blame for agreeing to the President's proposal.  But it WAS the President's proposal.    

    •  No it isn't (0+ / 0-)

      It was passed by a Republican controlled house, and was taken ownership by the Republicans when Boehner made his "98%" statement.

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:35:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What difference does it make (0+ / 0-)

      Everyone remembers that the this was the ransom the Republicans agreed to to "free" the debt limit.  Looking for "proof" is just ridiculous.  This occurred less than two years ago; and was subject to round the clock press coverage.   Only those who rely on Fox for their news believe Obama is responsible for the sequester.

  •  Rational (0+ / 0-)

    voters is an oxymoron.

  •  It should be called the Teaquester (0+ / 0-)

    The Tea Party was who Boehner catered to when he claimed the Teaquester was part of getting 98% of what he wanted.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:22:10 AM PST

  •  dems/obama need to blame limbaugh. it was (0+ / 0-)

    limbaugh and the other talkers who played a huge part in convincing the teabaggers to push all the way to the debt ceiling deadline. limbaugh spent weeks up to the deadline telling them default was no big deal and would force obama to make cuts they want.

    limbaugh's part was major - look at it this way: if limbaugh had told his audience that defaulting on the debt would be bad for america we wouldn't be where we are now on this (same with, iraq, global warming denial, etc)

    dems have an opportunity to remind the right of limbaugh's part - GOP has 1000 radio stations and can use them all the way to 2014 to distort and deflect blame and it will work on a lot of people.

    dems/obama can ask this: was limbaugh really stupid enough to think default would not be an economic disaster, or was he lying in order to push us into what is now this sequester bullshit?

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 02:15:54 PM PST

  •  The most unbelievable component of Boehners... (0+ / 0-)

    assertion is that the GOP congress would have ever done anything that they thought would increase the chances of Obama getting re-elected.  They made it quite clear that the return of the preseidency to GOP hands was their top (and perhaps only) priority.

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