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Collage of pictures of John Boehner crying.
Yeah, that's some victory you've got there Mr. Speaker
Rank-and-file Republicans might be lamenting the economic impact of sequester spending cuts in their home districts, but that isn't stopping House Speaker John Boehner from declaring victory for forcing austerity upon the nation:
House Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that his decision to allow billions in across-the-board budget cuts to take effect is forcing President Obama to recalibrate his approach to taxes and government spending, but he acknowledged that it was a strategy born out of limited options.

“We forged a new tactical plan that focused on using our limited leverage to maximum effect in support of the reforms needed to support economic growth and job creation for all Americans,” Boehner (Ohio) wrote Thursday in an Easter week message to fellow House Republicans.

“Republicans may be the minority party in Washington — but because we forged a plan together and have stuck to it, our actions as a team over the past couple of months have made a difference for all Americans,” Boehner wrote.

So, according to Boehner, the sequester was a big win for Republicans because they used the leverage given to them by the sequester to achieve their policy goals. The only problem with that argument is that Republicans haven't actually achieved anything worth bragging about—unless you count taking ownership of an unpopular austerity program as an achievement.

The only thing Republicans can plausibly point to as a policy success (from their point of view) is that other than the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, there haven't been any tax increases. But even that is a stretch, because Republicans had (and continue to have) the power to block any new revenue simply by saying "no," which they are pretty good at.

Follow below the fold for more on why it doesn't make sense for Boehner to be taking a victory lap.

As Greg Sargent points out, Boehner's real goal with the sequester was to force President Obama to propose replacing the sequester with nothing but cuts to social insurance programs. That hasn't come close to happening—and never will.

The biggest concession Boehner has gotten is President Obama's offer to include the chained CPI Social Security benefit cut in a "Grand Bargain" to replace the sequester, but Obama's offer was contingent on Republicans agreeing to revenue increases as well as defense spending cuts—and as everybody knows, Republicans have repeatedly ruled out such a deal.

It's clear that Boehner is trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

The GOP effort to blame the sequester on President Obama (remember #Obamaquester?) failed miserably, so Boehner is trying to spin the sequester as a positive. But when you see Michele Bachmann telling everybody who will listen that she's against the sequester because it hurts "the most vulnerable among us," it's clear Boehner is playing a losing hand.

To be fair to Boehner, he's not the only incoherent Republican, however. At the same time that members of his conference are whining about the impacts of the sequester back home, they're voting not just to the sequester permanent, but to add another 10 percent spending cut on top of it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How can you tell when a hypocrite is incoherent? (18+ / 0-)

    That's not a joke; it's an honest question.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:37:54 AM PDT

  •  GOP: Making a difference, for the worse (8+ / 0-)

    Boehner:  "because we forged a plan together and have stuck to it, our actions as a team over the past couple of months have made a difference for all Americans."

    Yeah, Boehner, you made a difference.  A difference for the worse.  As usual.  

  •  Are there still educated people who believe (13+ / 0-)

    that belt-tightening during a recession is good for the economy? What caves do they live in and do they even know that it's not the 1920's anymore?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:43:13 AM PDT

  •  Now if we can only get Congressional Democrats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to exercise some big stick politics and get something good passed, the President will sign it.

    At least he'd better.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:46:41 AM PDT

  •  Amazing what passes for bold decisive leadership (2+ / 0-)

    these days.

  •  what happened to Obamasequester? (0+ / 0-)

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:49:56 AM PDT

    •  No matter how much effort was spent... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, Forest Deva, G Contractor

      ...trying to blame the WH "for coming up with the concept", it didn't fly with casual observers. Part of it was "98% of what I wanted", but also because the default assumption of "Tax and Spend Democrats" which the GOP had been shouting for decades.

      "Obamasequester", "Obamaquester" or whatever tag they tried to instantly manufacture was counter to what they had been preaching for a generation, and they couldn't erase that meme by marketing nearly the exact opposite for a few weeks.

      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 Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:17:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "...made a difference for all Americans.” (5+ / 0-)

    Yeah, like losing our jobs. Sure made a difference to me!

  •  He was against it before he was before it... (2+ / 0-)

    and will be against it once the jobs numbers get worse, which they might be starting to.

    Last weeks jobless claims went up more than expected.

    I have a feeling that any memo from the CBO will read:

    "We are sticking to our forecasts."

  •  ? (8+ / 0-)

    It's austerity.
    GOP likes austerity.
    This is a victory for the GOP.

    I understand why Democrats don't want to admit it, but cuts like this have been a wetdream of conservatives since Goldwater, as Perlstein points out.

    So: the “sequester.” That too-clever-by-half notion, born of last year’s debt ceiling negotiations out of the White House’s presumption that, when faced with the horror of heedless, profligate, across-the-board budget cuts to all manner of popular government programs, the Republicans’ “fever would break”—remember that?—and the Loyal Opposition would somehow come to agree to a reasonable, “balanced” deficit reduction package. It all seemed so cut and dried in those palmy days, just a few months ago: who could possibly imagine a major American political party could possibly let such madness actually go into effect?

    Um, me? I wonder how many folks within the White House, gaming out whether Republicans might not just call the bluff, bothered to consider the fact that an embrace of heedless, profligate, across-the-board budget cuts to all manner of popular government programs is a key component of hardcore conservative ideology. That, when Barry Goldwater proclaimed in his 1960 manifesto Conscience of a Conservative, “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size …. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them …. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty,” that Barry Goldwater—and the future millions for whom his sentiments became an ideological touchstone—meant what he said.

    •  And, what's more, Republicans (with their allies (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david mizner, mchestnutjr

      in the media) are very likely going to wage a successful campaign filled with double-think: blame Obama/Democrats on all the hurtful bits of the sequestration and take credit for "cutting government waste" at the same time.

      And we'll see more front-page articles that consist variously of "see how hypocritical and stupid GOPers are haw haw haw" and "this is really a victory for democrats if you believe my Rube Goldberg style eleventy-dimensional mobius strip explanation" celebrating our own brilliance and patting our own backs.

      Meanwhile 2014 is starting to look like it will be more like 2010 than 2012, and we should all prepare for an increased Hippie Punching Initiative in response.

  •  But...I thought it was Obama's idea...? (0+ / 0-)

    Here's the deal: the serious impact of the sequester will take a while to unfold. While we don't really feel them at the moment, Repiblucans are taking credit.

    Just watch when the long term impact turns out not so well and Republicans to back to blaming the sequester on Obama...

  •  Boehner and the GOP own the Sequestration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago, Apost8

    lets make sure every American knows this as the consequences become felt more and more across the country.

  •  ..."Reforms needed to support economic growth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and job creation..."

    Boner should explain to all the Gov't. contractors being laid off this month because of sequester cuts exactly how eliminating their jobs is supporting economic growth and job creation.  


  •  Vive La Difference! (0+ / 0-)

    And that difference is....comedy!  Like that photo montage.

  •  To paraphrase Ronald Reagan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Republicans are not the solution to our problems;  Republicans ARE the problem.

    This needs to be hammered home to the electorate on a daily basis.

  •  Boner is making tomato juice out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pamelabrown, JML9999

    of lemons. It's a more accurate description of his actions and words.

    Some people make u want to change species! --ulookarmless, quoted w/his permission: RIP good man.

    by orlbucfan on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:11:59 AM PDT

  •  Boehner's first 2 paragraphs are pure bullshit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that old meme about how Obama is spending more than anyone, etc.

    FUCK YOU!!!

    However, in his last paragraph, he is speaking the truth!!

    “Republicans may be the minority party in Washington — but because we forged a plan together and have stuck to it, our actions as a team over the past couple of months have made a difference for all Americans,” Boehner wrote.

    (Name one thing in that paragraph that is NOT true.  You can't.  Note that he did not say what that difference was that they made).

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:16:28 AM PDT

  •  The sequester has forced cancellation or (4+ / 0-)

    postponement of government funded projects and acquisitions, on which certain small businesses rely. This fact, along with economic uncertainties, have resulted in thousands of small businesses'...

    Inability to meet payrolls, forcing layoffs
    Inability to cover tax liabilities
    Inability to secure private investment/loans
    Inability to increase inventory
    Inability to pay vendors
    Inability to pay overhead
    Inability to purchase goods and services (a ripple effect that is damaging the economy from top to bottom)

    Later this year when another big recession hits because of this sequester lunacy, we'll have incompetent government to thank for it.  By then, small business owners and their employees, who put their life's blood into their vanished companies, will be out in the street.

    But maybe Boehner will be able to win us over with a few well-orchestrated tears, and by pointing to the fabulous successes on Wall Street, where the market and the salaries have never been higher.


  •  I got a bit of a chip on my shoulder here (0+ / 0-)

    b/c as we were being presented with the possible cuts to our town of 55 thousand, with a hospital, airport, port port, community college, malls, etc ..... and shared that the national seashore was looking at closing some of the beaches that are part of the Cape Cod National Seashore ..
    Several people suggested it was all exaggerated.

    The seashore effects the local economy.

    And, often people don't realize what we rely on the federal government for ... your city, town, county will feel the losses in the next fiscal year.  Money always trickles down and we are always last.

    A small percentage on paper, to us, isn't just numbers on a spread sheet, local government is the definition of all *"politics are local" when we see cuts - we don't just see the people who are cut, we often know them.

     (*Tip O'Neil summered near the national seashore BTW)

    I hate to admit it ... but yep crazoid bachmann is right.

    Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

    by 51percent on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:39:57 AM PDT

    •  There's a real question of whether that should be. (0+ / 0-)
      And, often people don't realize what we rely on the federal government for ... your city, town, county will feel the losses in the next fiscal year.  Money always trickles down and we are always last.
      No taxing body should run a long term structural deficit.  This is true at the local, state, and national levels.

      Things cost what they cost, lying about the cost doesn't help anyone.

      It's unclear whether you are advocating for Federal block grants or Federal matching grants which support local programs versus personal benefits like SSDI or Medicare.  Given that certain forms of local and state taxes are Federally deductible, it might be worth investigating whether that subsidy allows more flexibility and value than a direct block grant program.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:40:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait. I thought is was Obama's idea. (0+ / 0-)

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 09:08:36 AM PDT

  •  Sequester (0+ / 0-)

    It seems to me that the only people who have been affected, at this point, by the sequester have been affected negatively. If there is anything or anyone that has been positively affected, please let me know. It seems to me that any supposed advantage is only in the minds of those who support it for unknown reasons that do not exist in reality.

  •  I guess the only thing left is close all loopholes (0+ / 0-)

    After all, if the sequester won't go away but we oh-so-badly-just-gotta-have over 4 trillion in deficit reduction to Save The Economy, Obama has no reason to accept one more dime in cuts. He won the election because a majority of voters favor a balanced approach. Polls show numbers beyond those who voted for Obama favor a balanced approach. And guess what? Closing all the corporate loopholes on the table will bring in the revenue to complete the 4 trillion dollar number.

    We need to run for 2014 on getting rid of the sequester for something sane, or nothing but all the tax hikes on the wealthiest to reduce some of the pain inflicted on everyone else by the sequester. And the public needs to be asked when they feel that pain, how would they like it applied instead to social security and Medicare and other earned benefits as the Neocons and Teabaggers would like?

    If they want relief they'll only get it by giving the Democrats big majorities all the way around.

  •  Nice going, Boner. On the wrong side of history (0+ / 0-)

    AGAIN, just like the repig idiots FDR had to deal with who austerity-pissed in the punchbowl of his recovery.
    Congrats, drunken dimwit.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    No representation without taxation. Rich and don't pay? Shut up.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:25:40 AM PDT

  •  This is Boner's new "I got 90% of what I wanted" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    More Questions Than Answers

    horseshit lie.  Fine with me.  Let him and his crew own it proudly.  Capture it all on video for TV spots next cycle.

  •  At a time when we are on the verge of conflict (0+ / 0-)

    with North Korea, the Republican sequester is damaging military readiness.

  •  Makers PERFECT Sense.. (0+ / 0-)

    The Overton window moved again..

    Obama is gutting SS "Superlative CPI in budget.. "

    And Medicare/Medicaid Cuts.. See FP diary above this one..


  •  Republicans have problems with the sequester? (0+ / 0-)

    You'd barely know it if you read this article (yes, it's from Politico, but still), which is little more than a readback of official GOP talking points:

    But as usual, the reality is that they can't form a consistent or coherent message, with all manner of hypocrisy and disagreement among themselves:

    37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

    by Mike in MD on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 12:43:47 PM PDT

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