On Friday’s edition of Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation on MSNBC, the man MSNBC President Phil Griffin has called an “elder statesman”, addressed the kerfuffle between House Speaker John Boehner and the White House over the scheduling of President Obama’s “much anticipated” jobs speech.
Predictably Sharpton towed the White House line and mangled the English language in the process. Al said that, “The White House is furious with John Boehner and someone on the inside is speaking out,” he continued “according to Politico a White House ‘sauce’ (source?), Boehner crossed the line when he forced President Obama to change the date of his jobs speech.”
That’s an interesting interpretation of the facts. Al failed to acknowledge that since the speech had not yet been scheduled, Boehner hadn’t “forced” the President to “change” anything. He also ignored the fact that a joint session of Congress is something that every President – even Barack Obama -- has to request from the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House. That’s because the Executive and Legislative branches are equal. There’s no obligation for Congress to grant a joint session, much less accommodate a specific day and time requested.
In addition, even the Politico article Sharpton was cherry picking quotes from acknowledged that:
“The White House was well aware the president’s speech would conflict with a planned Republican debate sponsored by POLITICO and NBC to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. The debate would be broadcast live by MSNBC and live-streamed by POLITICO. CNBC and Telemundo will re-air the broadcast.”
Sharpton went on to characterize John Boehner telling Obama that he could have a joint session on Thursday rather than Wednesday as “a big change in tone.” He began to layout the idea that where once the White House thought the Tea Party Caucus was the “real problem” in Washington, that now “it’s a whole new ball game” and “maybe it is him.”
Yeah, because the tone coming from the President and House Democrats has been completely apolitical, non-partisan and friendly for the past 2½ years. No false accusations of Republican obstruction while the Democrats controlled the White House, Senate and House of Representatives at all. No Democrats falsely condemning Tea Party activists as “racists”, “terrorists”, “hostage takers”, or a host of other derogatory pejoratives.
Once again Al quoted Politico’s White House ‘sauce’ as saying, “what happened this week is a big deal. It shows the House Republicans will do no outreach, nothing.” All this because Boehner asked the President to make a political speech one day later.
Next, Sharpton was joined by the Washington Bureau chief of the Huffington Post, Ryan Grimm, to whom he posed the probing, and completely non-leading question, “Has John Boehner been the problem all along?”
Grimm agreed that Boehner was certainly one of many problems Obama has. But his real gripe seemed to be that the president wasn’t being tough enough with the Speaker. He suggested that if all the White House was going to do is have anonymous quotes given to the press, that Boehner “will keep rolling and rolling and rolling right over him [Obama].
I would argue that rather than “rolling over” the President, John Boehner actually did Obama a huge favor by rejecting his request to speak Wednesday, immediately before the long scheduled Republican Presidential Debate.
Had Boehner allowed Obama to give what is likely to be a highly political speech, containing few details and little of substance in terms of an actual plan to create jobs, that would have allowed the GOP candidates to instantaneously rip the President’s speech apart and attack him for using a joint session of Congress for a political stump speech.
Rather than Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP field directing their barbs at the new frontrunner Rick Perry -- which would be to the benefit of Obama -- the address preceding the debate the would have invited, no demanded, that the candidates dissect his speech.
Grimm – with the banner “Double Speaker: Details on White House Reax to Boehner’s Obstruction” on screen as he spoke – then suggested that, “maybe the best way for Obama to start dealing with Boehner is to ask for the opposite of what he wants.”
So MSNBC says it’s “obstruction” to ask the president, again, to wait one day to give his speech and at the same time they have a liberal columnist telling Al Sharpton and his audience that President Obama should use reverse psychology on the Speaker of the House to circumvent that alleged obstruction.
At this point Sharpton the master linguist (sarcasm mine) laid out what he would have done if he were President (shudder the thought), in a nonsensical diatribe:
“On Thursday night, even though I would have called Boehner’s bluff Wednesday night, let’s play out your scenario. Maybe he goes Thursday night. Lays out a plan. Let Boehner rebuff him and goes to the American public who has shown in every poll that they are more with the President and than what Boehner is saying, and take them to a mat in a way that a lot of people want to see him take him to the mat.”
Okay, where to start. What bluff is that? Boehner said no, he meant no, and there was absolutely nothing Obama could do about it. Does anyone, even Sharpton, believe that Obama is actually going to layout a plan in this speech, as opposed to the previous 9 speeches? Has the American public really shown in “every poll” that they have confidence in the President’s handling of jobs and the economy? And just how is the President going to take Boehner “to the mat”?
Remarkably Grimm seemed to follow Sharpton’s reasoning and agreed, saying that if Obama would have stood up to Boehner it would have been a “debacle” for Boehner, because making the President speak Thursday instead of Wednesday would some how make it appear that House Republicans “don’t want to hear him.”
Sharpton and Grimm continued their incoherent and illogical back and forth, with Sharpton listing some of John Boehner’s supposed slights and failures, some of which he naturally blamed on the Tea Party, and Grimm suggesting that several months ago the House Republican coalition in the House looked like it was fracturing but that Boehner brought it back together by amassing what “is probably one of the most extreme records that a House Speaker has put up in decades.”
Of course Al concurred with Grimm’s assessment, accusing Boehner of “being probably the most extreme speaker we’ve seen in a decade.” Really? John Boehner is more extreme than Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker who infamously said of the Obamacare bill, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”? He’s more extreme than a woman who accused American citizens peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights of being “extremists” and “Astroturf” among other things?
For good measure these two intellectual giants falsely accused Republicans of not wanting to extend the payroll tax cut and of being “irrational”. Of course Republicans are fine with continuing the payroll tax cut. But they also realize that a limited payroll tax “holiday” has no long-term benefits for the economy and does nothing to encourage employers to hire more people.
I’d like to humbly suggest that Al Sharpton and Ryan Grimm lay off the ‘sauce’ and try a sober analysis of Barack Obama’s failed economic policies. They might also want to consider that while the Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, they failed to pass a budget (the Harry Reid led Senate still hasn’t) and the only budget Obama submitted was rejected 97-0 by the Democrat controlled Senate.