House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" p.r. stunt only makes sense if he can convince his caucus to play along. The problem, of course, is that many House Republicans don't feel like it.
While twisting arms yesterday, the Speaker pleaded with his colleagues -- the folks he ostensibly leads -- reminding them that his plan has been endorsed by conservative stalwarts such as FreedomWorks. This afternoon, FreedomWorks announced it has changed its mind, and is urging Republicans to vote against Boehner's plan.
Left with dwindling options, the Speaker keeps trying to make his "Plan B" more palatable by making it uglier.
[N]ow Plan B also tries to roll back Dodd-Frank bank regulation reforms and turn us back to Bush-era financial regulation policy. It also cuts food stamps, Medicaid spending, and some Affordable Care Act provisions. In other words, it's a whole conservative Christmas tree.
There's nothing wrong with that. If the point of the legislation is to outline a conservative alternative to Obama's position, they may as well stuff it with things conservatives like. But it's worth examining the ornaments. When John Boehner needs to add spending cuts to a deficit reduction bill to make his most conservative members happy, they don't want to re-index Social Security benefits. They don't want to monkey with the Medicare eligibility age. That's not the stuff that gets them jazzed up. Taking food out of the mouths of hungry children, by contrast, is something they're excited about. They're eager to reduce regulation on banks and cut back on poor people's health care. Cutting spending on the elderly is something they'll maybe consider as part of a deal with Obama. Cutting spending on the poor is their idea of Christmas.
Well said. We're not just learning how feckless John Boehner is as a House Speaker -- the weakest in modern times -- we're also getting a very good look at Republicans' true priorities. For all of their demands about entitlement reforms, when GOP leaders have to entice support from their conference, they try to gut aid to the poor. Period. Full stop.
Of course, if Boehner somehow passes this ridiculous bill, he'll try to deflect blame -- he raised taxes on millionaires and billionaires, he'll insist, but Democrats balked at his plan so it's their fault the process collapsed.
But "Plan B" isn't just about top marginal rates. It's been loaded up like an Ayn Rand Christmas tree, filled with right-wing ornaments, while giving most of the very rich a tax cut, and increasing taxes on lower and middle income households.
Is it any wonder Boehner is struggling so badly to get to 218?