Obama & Boehner, Quick Take

I thought Obama's speech tonight on the debt negotiations was so-so at best. I thought John Boehner's response -- while chock-full of cock-and-bull nonsense -- was quite good. Regardless, I thought the main effect an average American might have from watching both is that there's not going to be an agreement on anything anytime soon, and we're all doomed.

Interestingly, the truth is that the two likeliest actual solutions at this point were not discussed at all. We'll probably end up with either some version of Harry Reid's new plan (which, unlike what Obama was talking about, reportedly does not include tax revenues), or, if that can't fly, then some version of McConnell's "plan B" to get the debt ceiling raised.

Certainly it seems wildly unlikely that Obama's grand plan has any chance right now. And I doubt that Boehner's new plan will even pass the House, let alone the Senate.

Anyway, I have just one real question right now: What exactly did Boehner mean by this?

Here's what we got for [Obama's] spending binge: ...a national debt that has gotten so out of hand it has sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours.

I initially thought Boehner was blaming the fall '08 credit collapse on the national debt -- which I really would have enjoyed, because I believe that bizarre theory was first popularized (at least, within conservative circles) by Glenn Beck in "Arguing With Idiots."

But clearly he can't mean that Obama's spending sparked the '08 crisis, right? (Or can he?) So I have to assume that he means that this debt-ceiling negotiation is a crisis of historic, once-in-a-lifetime proportions.

Which just seems monumentally odd, since thus far nothing bad has happened. And, you know, they could all vote through a debt-ceiling increase any time they feel like it and nothing much bad would happen at all.

So I guess I'm saying that right now I'm hard-pressed to see this crisis as in the same ballpark as times when bad things actually happened -- say, the oil shock of the mid-70s, or Watergate, or 9/11, or of course the very real freezing of the world's credit markets in September 2008. Or maybe one of those wars we've been in. Does Boehner disagree?

I mean, he must have meant something.

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