John Boehner (R-OH), in what is being billed as a major speech, will call for the firing of Barack Obama’s economic team today, and an end to the Administration’s economic policies. He will not offer up anything yet as an alternative, except the buzzwords of “getting America back to work.” But I must admit that this is a pretty smart move.
“Pres. Obama should ask for — and accept — the resignations of the remaining members of his economic team, starting with Secretary [Tim] Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council,” Boehner plans to say, according to prepared remarks.
“We do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing ‘stimulus’ policies,” Boehner will say. “We’ve tried 19 months of government-as-community organizer. It hasn’t worked. Our fresh start needs to begin now.”
Boehner will also promise a real economic agenda from the GOP, which has been criticized for failing to lay out a governing plan. America Speaking Out, a group launched in May and run out of Boehner’s office, will produce this year’s version of a Contract with America after months of what Boehner and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who heads the effort, have called a listening tour.
“This listening effort will culminate next month with the release of a clear and positive governing agenda focused on getting people working again,” Boehner plans to say.
Boehner and company can promise “new ideas” for the next millennium, I’m sure they’ll come out spelled “T-A-X C-U-T-S.” (In fact, he’ll call in this speech for an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts.) And Boehner will reportedly praise a few Republican Governors for balancing budgets, which they couldn’t have done without federal stimulus money. But calling out Geithner and Summers by name makes a lot of sense. Because he won’t get much of an argument from anyone other than partisan hacks.
Boehner is, as Democratic operatives have pointed out, an imperfect messenger for open, transparent government. This was the guy who passed out tobacco industry campaign checks on the floor of the House. The DNC has already put out a Web ad to that effect. And yet, while his reasoning for dismissing Geithner and Summers is, to put it mildly, wacky, he’s clearly hitting a nerve that will resonate beyond his base. And when you can do that, you’ve succeeded.
UPDATE: One thing that never gets pointed out: Boehner is calling for the extension of the tax cuts to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. But the tax cuts he’s talking about are in place NOW. They have been for a decade, incidentally the worst decade for job creation since the Depression. This just illustrates the flim-flam Boehner’s trying to sell in the name of getting millionaires a tax break.
UPDATE II: Here’s the speech. Basically pabulum, but the call for firing Geithner and Summers will be the headline.
UPDATE III: Joe Biden provided a response to this today, which wasn’t bad. But it sidestepped the Geithner/Summers part.