Overall, the Boehner rebuttal was really good, not just in content, but in psychology. The President will likely give less of his incessant lecture hall jeremiads if the GOP continually goes on television right after him and disproves his every claim.
Content-wise, Speaker Boehner said some things that needed to be said. For one thing, he explained to any last-minute doubters out there that the GOP ardently does not want default. Not that the average American believes they do—but this is a stern reminder to so-called independent voters that the liberal talk show circuit is dead wrong when they say otherwise.
Another good idea was the time-line, going back to the President’s election, and how he has continually demanded things Americans do not want, and has continuously spent an unimaginable amount of money with nothing to show for it. And that he has spent enough. He isn’t getting anymore.
And then the Speaker was smart to offer a parallel time-line, in which he showed the numerous GOP (and Democratic) attempts to fix the problem either in baby steps or wholesale, and how the President stubbornly refused to do anything right. A good compare and contrast, there.
A great summation to the equation was his comment “You see, there is no stalemate in Congress. The House has passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support. And this week, while the Senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and Washington gimmicks, we will pass another bill – one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate.” Very smart—the President has continually acted irresponsibly, both Republicans and Democrats have worked out solutions that he refuses to accept, and we had no choice but to do an end run and get something going. This leaves the next step in the syllogism—the President therefore continues to be the only problem—up to us to make.
Reducing the problem to household economics (“The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today.”) is a great idea. The press has had a field day over-complicating the debt ceiling issue. Reducing it, correctly, to common analogies is long overdue from the GOP. He made references to living within our means, just as you do at home. This point could have been hammered home even more so, and he had the opportunity to do so but evidently wanted to understate it a bit. The Czar would say If you run up your credit card past your ability to pay it, you know you are in trouble. And you know that spending even more past that only buries you deeper into trouble. This is no different. But explaining how the President kept ignoring the facts, changing his mind and his demands, and stonewalling progress to score political points was just what voters and Wall Street needs to hear.
The Czar is a little uncertain with the Speaker referencing late-night comedians as the only beneficiaries of the stimulus. For one thing, it mocks too openly. For another, most of the late night comedians are in the bag for Obama, so it isn’t even true.
And, finally, the Czar thinks that references to Speaker Boehner’s overly humble roots (“I ran a small business in Ohio…Having run a small business…”) are starting to sound a little hollow. It is just as unpleasant as when the used car salesman puts his arm around your shoulder to turn you toward the pictures of his starving kids on his desk. Yeah, it really fails to work as well as the 101 classes suggest. Stick to the math, not the personal handshakes to the working man.
Overall, this was a very successful speech. And again, it is not just the content of the speech that was necessary, but more so the notion that everytime the President addresses the nation, a point-by-point clock-cleaning is forthcoming.