Watching House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on “Meet the Press” yesterday, it was hard not to wonder about the Republican leader’s frame of mind. Given the distance between reality and his rhetoric, one question hung over the interview: does Boehner actually believe his own talking points?
For example, the Speaker insisted, “[T]here’s no plan from Senate Democrats or the White House to replace the sequester.” Host David Gregory explained that the claim is “just not true,” leading Boehner to respond:
“Well, David that’s just nonsense. If [President Obama] had a plan, why wouldn’t Senate Democrats go ahead and pass it?”
Now, I suppose it’s possible that the Speaker of the House doesn’t know what a Senate filibuster is, but Boehner has been in Congress for two decades, and I find it implausible that he could be this ignorant. The facts are not in dispute: Democrats unveiled a compromise measure that required concessions from both sides; the plan enjoyed majority support in the Senate; and Republicans filibustered the proposal. That’s not opinion; that’s just what happened.
Honestly, Boehner came across as a man who’s just terribly confused about the basics of the ongoing debate. Putting aside ideology and preferred policy agendas, the Speaker just doesn’t seem to keep up on current events especially well — he doesn’t remember the 2011 spending cuts; he doesn’t remember last week’s Senate filibuster; he doesn’t remember President Obama’s offers to cut more spending; he doesn’t remember his own op-eds; and he doesn’t remember the economic growth that followed tax increases in the 1980s and 1990s.
I’m tempted to take up a collection to help buy Boehner some remedial materials, but I’m not sure what he’d need first: an Economic 101 textbook or a subscription to a daily newspaper.