Friday, February 18, 2011

Read My Lips

The specter of a government shutdown grew exponentially Thursday when House Speaker John Boehner drew a hard line on government spending, promising to accept not even a temporary government-funding extension that doesn’t include serious cuts.

... The firestorm was set off on Thursday when Boehner said he was “not going to move any kind of short-term [spending bill] at current levels.”

“When we say we’re going to cut spending, read my lips: we’re going to cut spending,” Boehner declared to reporters in the Capitol.
The House Republicans, led by the erstwhile Speaker Boehner, are essentially threatening the Obama administration with a government shutdown, aka. no authorization of any spending by Congress, unless the administration brings forward significant (and undefined amounts of) cuts, in order to tackle the United States ballooning deficit.

The problem is that Mr. Boehner is risking much political capital and seems to not be a student of history.

Aside from the failed Gingrich shutdown of the 1990's that blew up in the GOP's faces, Boehner's choice of words were more than a little poor. The "read my lips" line was most famously used by former President George H. W. Bush during the 1998 election, who claimed he would not raise taxes, but subsequently did, which of course made for some nice fodder for Clinton four years later. 

Can Boenher avoid the same mistakes? Remains to be seen, but I like the odds against it.


  1. Gingrich's problem and Boehner's is that they ostensibly were elected leading an army of voters wanting to cut spending... and yet he's pointing the finger of responsibility at Obama to do it. The House does the budget, then it gets approved by the Senate and then it is approved or vetoed by the President. It's a giant game of chicken.

  2. It was a slip up and I think if you see the video enough you can see how he hesitated a little while he was saying it. by the way H.W Bush Said read my lips in 1988.