John Boehner, please shut up! In one week, he has set back the Republican Party about six months. While the Democrats have their fair share of infighting ging on, he should just sit back and enjoy the view. Two incidents by Boehner this past week are illustrative of my call to just be quiet. First, in a speech, he referred to fiscally conservative southern Democrats (the Blue Dogs) as “lap dogs.” As the Republicans have rediscovered their lost ways- fiscal conservatism- does it make sense to use derogatory language against potential allies in this goal? By spurning their outreach, Boehner comes off as a spiteful Republican.
He then follows this up with a photo-op presentation of a Republican budget alternative to that presented by Obama. It was merely proof of Boehner’s own stimulus package for bad graphic artists with their charts. But it ws woefully short on specifics and was rightfully derided in the press. When questioned, the stock response was, “wait until next week.” Why, praytell, did he not just wait until next week? They could have copied or even contracted conservative think tanks, like the Heritage Foundation, to crunch and provide the numbers. Instead, Boehner, against the advice and wishes of Eric Cantor and others, had to step before the cameras and present the great Republican…. chart!
The point is that today’s economic crisis was essentially caused by people not living within their means- most notably, the government. Hence, fiscal discipline and sound rules (that is, not overbearing sound regulation) is the key to the electorate. You have the polar opposite in Barack Obama as the poster boy for everything you stand against. Obama is the face of the new American socialism. And I fail to see how deriding potential allies within the opposition party in your fight against Obama’s view of a socialist America helps your cause. I fail to see how the dearth of specific ideas backed by facts and figures advances your cause. I fail to see how ignoring sound advice within your own party in favor of a photo-op complete with charts helps your cause.
As the minority leader in the House, Boehner may be quite effective. But, as the public face of the leadership against Obama, he is not particularly effective and it leaves ALL Republicans open to derision. Perhaps, he feels he has nothing to lose given the large Democratic majority in the House. But it takes both houses of Congress to pass a law. Alienating and spurning Blue Dog Democrats in the House does not help their not-in-name counterparts in the Senate. There are 7 Democratic Senators with a less than 85% side-with-the Democratic view voting record thus far this session- Evan Bayh, Robert Byrd, Russ Feingold, Joe Lieberman, Claire McCaskill, Ben Nelson, and Jim Webb. Most of their differences with their own party has been over fiscal proposals in favor of the more conservative view. Taking away the Collins-Snowe-Specter triumverate, that is a net gain of 4 Senators towards the fiscally conservative view. This changes the game in the Senate, a fact obviously not taken into account by Boehner.
It seemed a few weeks agao that every time Barack Obama opened his mouth, the stock market tanked. John Boehner is the Republican Obama, but in a more important market- that of ideas and potential political allainaces. If the true fight is fiscal conservatism and not political demogoguery, the Boehner is proving himself woefully short in that area. So, please, for the sake of the Republican Party, by all means work behind the scenes and just shut up before the interest groups and in front of the cameras.