John Boehner is failing. He’s playing President Obama’s game on President Obama’s court. He’s prosecuting the wrong case. Rather than discussing the terms of the fiscal cliff debate, Speaker Boehner should be talking about why Republicans’ pro-growth tax policies are America’s only hope for a variety of Obama-created ills.

First, Speaker Boehner should highlight the fact that President Clinton’s high tax rates didn’t trigger the great economy. He should remind the nation that it was Newt’s capital gains tax cuts that sent the economy into high gear. Prior to those tax cuts, the economy was doing ok. After cutting the capital gains tax, growth exploded.

Another thing that Speaker Boehner must do is remind people that Republicans’ insisting on balancing the federal budget helped strengthen the dollar, which led to a dramatic shrinking of America’s trade deficit. That especially affected gas prices.

Third, Speaker Boehner should shout from the rooftops that revenues during the Bush tax cuts were significantly bigger than revenues are today. If Speaker Boehner asked President Obama why he’s insisting on anti-growth policies that tamp the economy down rather than implementing new pro-growth policies that strengthen the economy, President Obama might well blow a gasket.

This is the debate we should start. This is the debate President Obama can’t win. This is the conversation that would expose President Obama’s motivation for imposing higher tax rates.

Rather than the pattern of proposal-counterproposal, then a counter offer to the counterproposal, with each side publicly stating that the other side needs to put forth a serious proposal, Speaker Boehner should ditch that pattern, especially the taunting language.

Instead, Speaker Boehner, followed by every Republican in Congress talking with their local newspapers and TV outlets about how cutting spending is what’s fair to taxpayers and how reforming the tax code, highlighted by fewer deductions and lower tax rates, would strengthen the economy.

Highlight the fact that this was the real reason why the economy was strong during the Clinton administration. Highlight the fact that the economy didn’t take off until Newt changed the trajectory of the debate.

President Obama is too arrogant to be frightened by that debate, which means Speaker Boehner should be able to turn this situation into a discussion on getting America’s economy going for the first time during President Obama’s administration.

With expensive utility bills, shrinking paychecks, high gas and grocery prices and unacceptably high unemployment rates, the indictment against President Obama’s mishandling of the economy should be lengthy and powerful.

Finally, he should unleash Paul Ryan. Speaker Boehner should insist on a televised fiscal cliff summit, with Ryan leading the prosecution of the case against President Obama’s reckless spending. Dave Camp should prosecute the case for why the GOP tax reform plan will strengthen the economy.

GOP senators and governors should take part in this summit, too. One tactic President Obama has overplayed is saying that ‘we can talk about that’ on a variety of policies, then dropping that position the minute he’s out of the room. Republicans should tell him that implementing a pro-growth economic plan is non-negotiable.

Finally, make the case that raising the top marginal tax rates won’t affect the Warren Buffetts of the world because their income comes from investments, not wages. Make the case that raising the top marginal tax rates will hurt small businesses, not the evil Wall Street fatcats President Obama always talks about.

President Obama’s policies are failing. Speaker Boehner’s ineptitude in highlighting those failures has the fiscal cliff conversation heading in the wrong direction. It’s time to change the direction of that conversation.

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6 Responses to “Boehner’s communications breakdown”

  • J. Ewing says:

    I think there is a simpler course. Boehner should just walk away from the negotiations and publicly ask, “What did you do with the last 20 budgets we passed through the House? Let’s start there.”

  • Gary Gross says:

    Jerry, we can’t afford to miss opportunities to educate people. This is the perfect teaching moment because the whole nation is watching.

  • eric z says:

    Yes, the nation is watching. It even distracts you from your passionately wanting to throw Susan Rice over the non-fiscal cliff. And, boy, that is something!

    Boehner is being obstructionist, and should stop.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Boehner is in over his head. He should be telling the nation that President Obama’s economic policies are causing the annual $1,000,000,000,000+ deficits. President Obama’s spending has been reckless. The EPA’s regulations have started killing the coal & natural gas industries. The Democrats’ middle class squeeze is hurting families.

    And you have the audacity to say Republicans are the problem? Start living in the real world, Mr. Zaetsch.

  • eric z says:

    Gary – reality is that this is Obama’s second term.

    Reality is executive and bicameral DFL dominion in Minnesota.

    Things that don’t work, or that only work for a priviliged few have been rejected.

    Except for Wilfare. Hang Dayton for that one if you will, but it would be a very full gallows, a bipartisan one, unfortunately. It is shameful. Stimulus construction spending could have been better routed.

    Reality is the Republicans only talk about deficits when the Dems have won election majorities. When Cheney-W were in play, ringing up two war fronts on the credit card with the Chinese, where was LFR in emphasizing the evils of deficits?


  • Gary Gross says:

    That’s mostly BS, Eric. Things “that only work for a privileged few” thrives in the Obama administration. Solyndra & the other green jobs disasters were taxpayer payoffs to President Obama’s bundlers. That’s indisputable.

    Too big to fail was written into perpetuity by Chris Dodd of “Friends of Angelo” & Statewide corruption fame & by Barney ‘Everything’s fine at Fannie & Freddie’ Frank.

    Aren’t Fannie & Freddie run by remnants of the Clintonistas?

    In fact, the corruption within this administration makes the Clinton administration look like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

    As for this fiction that I didn’t speak out against the Bush deficits, you’re full of it. I most certainly spoke out against it. It isn’t my fault you ignored what I said about his spending habits & Tom DeLay’s lust for K Street campaign contributions.

    You keep whining about “putting two wars on the nation’s credit card” but you don’t say that the combined deficits from 2003-2006 were $150,000,000,000 less than this administration’s smallest deficit.

    The last Bush deficit with a GOP Congress was $161,000,000,000. This administration’s reckless spending habits & terrible economic policies have led to a dozen months with deficits bigger than the 2006 Bush deficit.

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