Boehner contradicts self on debt limit, criticizes Bush Treasury secretary

Not only did GOP House speaker John Boehner contradict himself about raising the debt limit yesterday, but he also tried to de-Republicanize criticism he received from Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.

First, Boehner says he will block the debt increase if the cuts aren’t great enough.

Although the speaker assured the audience that he would not trifle with the nation’s finances, he made clear that without “significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase.

But then Boehner said this:

After his speech, Boehner fielded questions from Jane Hartley, CEO of Observatory Group, and Peter G. Peterson, former Commerce secretary under President Richard Nixon. Hartley asked Boehner if he would support a temporary increase in the debt ceiling, should budget negotiations break down. “Not increasing the debt ceiling would be irresponsible,” Boehner reaffirmed.

So which one is it? How can Boehner threaten to not increase the debt ceiling when he just admitted that his own threat was irresponsible?

Then there’s Boehner’s effort to make people forget that Paul O’Neill is a Republican:

As Boehner broached the debt limit, he took aim at former Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill: “One prominent figure even went so far as to say ‘the people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of Al-Qaeda terrorists.’ With all due respect, this is the arrogance of power — and the American people won’t stand for it.”

Arrogance of power? Boehner just agreed with the man that it would be irresponsible to propose what he’s proposing, but note how Boehner refuses to let the audience know who it is who’s criticizing him. It’s a fellow Republican, and a senior one at that. But Boehner wants you to think that maybe, just maybe, is a Democrat. And arrogance of power? Who gave him the power? George Bush and John Boehner. Not to mention, the man is out of office, he’s not in power any longer. Amazing.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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