May 18, 2008

John Boehner; the Bonehead from Ohio

I was watching ABC's "This Week" this morning, and watched John Boehner demonstrate why we need to route the Republicans this year.

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."
George Santayana

When asked if the Republicans running for office needed to distance themselves from George Bush's disastrous administration, Boehner stated "...elections are about the future, not the past."

Wow. Talk about denial.

Boehner's missing a very important fact: your future is built on your past.

The Republican Party isn't making any promises it hasn't been making for years; lowering taxes, fighting government waste, securing our borders, and so on. Stephanopolous pointed this out to Boehner. His weak response:

“There’s no question that the environment for Republicans is a difficult one. What I’ve been preaching to my colleagues now for over a year is that we have to be the agents of change. We have to prove to the American people we can deliver the change that they want and change they deserve. And whether the issue is the rising cost of health care, rising cost of gasoline prices, food prices, we have an agenda that will deliver that change that Americans want. And all they’ve gotten from the Democrats were a lot of broken promises.”

Notice how he glosses over the fact that the Republicans have also built up a long list of broken promises. Boehner's Congress raised its own pay while refusing to raise minimum wager, failed to reduce Congressional waste, fraud, and abuse, failed to impose budgetary restraint on itself. And the list goes on and on and on. John Boehner has no moral high ground to stand on.

Americans have lost faith in the GOP for exactly the kind of statements Boehner made this morning. The GOP has made many, many, many mistakes. Disastrous mistakes. To be fair, so have the Democrats. Everyone makes mistakes.

You deal with mistakes by acknowledging them, taking responsibility for your actions, and them taking measures to correct them. You can't do any of that by ignoring your past.

Reading Boehner's voting record, I can see why he doesn't want us to examine the past. He's voted against most major bills that would have brought relief to the middle class. He's also the clown who actually started passing out checks from tobacco industry lobbyists to House members while they were voting on tobacco subsidies. Fellow Republican Rep. Linda Smith of Washington was moved to say "if it's not illegal, it should be."*

Here are some of his statements from the show:

Fuel Crisis

"...we can produce an energy policy that will bring down gas prices."
If this is true, why haven't the Republicans pursued it in the last twenty five years? We've known that fossil fuel supplies are limited since the 1970's. And who fought imposing fuel efficiency on automakers? The GOP. Who fought imposing the same fuel consumption requirements on SUV's as passenger cars? The GOP. Who cut funding for research into alternative fuels? The GOP.

Why don't we have wind farms, or solar panels on every roof in the country? Because the GOP didn't want you to have them, period. It's only now, twenty years too late, that the GOP admits we need to look to alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

He did get called out by George when he referred to the increase in gasoline as the "Pelosi Premium," referring not to any specific action on her part but simply that it increased that much while she was in office. "Well," interjected George, "that could just as easily be called the 'Bush Premium,' couldn't it?"

"Democrats, they have done nothing to help us produce more energy here at home," he retorted.
Of course, it must be pointed out that Bush cut funding into clean energy research. He has cut such funding every year since taking office. So much for the Republican commitment to increasing clean energy.

Just another reason Boehner doesn't want you looking at the past: it shows that their actions illustrate that they are flat out lying to the American Public now.

" We stood up on principle to do the right things for the right reasons, make sure that we insure poor children first."
Which, I suppose, is why he voted against the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. Twice.

He claims that this was because:
" what the Democrats wanted to do was to cover adults, wanted to cover illegal immigrants"
But the truth isn't quite what he claimed it was:
"This bill enables states to enroll 3.9 million children who would otherwise be uninsured. Coverage for dental and mental health care is guaranteed for the first time. While the bill makes it easier to enroll pregnant women in SCHIP, it phases out coverage for low-income parents who are currently covered in some states. The bill provides federal incentives for states to make intensive efforts to enroll more of the lowest-income uninsured children in Medicaid."*
It appears that the "adults" that the Democrats wanted to cover were pregnant women. If CHILDREN are covered, and we agree that they should be, why would we not take care of them prior to birth? We can only do that by taking care of the mother, who is carrying the infant. Giving birth to a healthy baby is markedly cheaper than trying to take care of an infant suffering from lack of pre-natal care.

Boehner also claims that he voted against this bill because Democrats:
"...wanted to raise taxes to pay for all of this."
Which is actually true. He just neglects to mention which taxes:
"The increased funding is paid for by a 61-cent increase in cigarette taxes and other tobacco taxes. The program is not open to undocumented immigrants."*
Oh, hey, that last bit flatly contradicts Boehner's assertion that the Democrats were trying to get coverage for illegal aliens.

On Taking Responsibility

ulos also questioned Boehner about what the GOP was going to do about Representative Vito Fossella. Arrested for drunk driving in Virginia, the New York Republican was bailed out by a Lt. Col. Laura Fay, of Alexandria, Virginia. Fay, who also goes by the name Laura Shoaf, lives about 3 miles from where Boehner was arrested.

She's also the mother of Fossella's three-year old daughter. Which must be devastating news to Fossella's wife, Mary Pat, with whom Fossella has three children.

Fossella is clearly guilty of violating several laws; Stephanopolous asked if the GOP had asked Vito to step down. Boehner, predictably, dodged the issue.

"This is a personal matter," he intoned, "between Rep. Fossella and his wife."

Had he spoken with Fossella? Yes, he did. Did you ask him to step down. "
This is a very personal issue and I think it's really between Vito, his wife and family, and his constituents," Did Boehner have an opinion? "I'm sure that they'll resolve it in a way that's satisfactory for them and for us."

Boehner wouldn't admit to an opinion, wouldn't define the matter as a moral lapse, and flatly said that he wasn't demanding any course of action from Fossella, or event setting a deadline towards making a decision. Sounds like his views on Iraq, doesn't it?

So to summarize Boehner's interview:
  • The Republican Party will not take any responsibility for its past actions.
  • The Republican Party denies responsibility for its past failures.
  • The Republican Party will lie about why it voted against expanded health care for children in low income families.
  • The Republican Party will not hold its elected officials to a basic standard of ethics, nor force them to be accountable to the Party for their lapses.
Mr. Boehner wants us to forget that he and his party has continually lied to us, and broken virtually every promise that the Party - and Boehner personally - has ever made to the American public.

No, Mr. Boehner, this election should judge the Republican Party- and you - on its past; and I think your record, and the recent actions of the Grand Old Party, will be found wanting.

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