House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of diminishing the presidency by picking fake fights during his 2012 re-election. But even in the fake fight realm, who is winning?
Boehner stuck by comments he made last week accusing Obama of picking petty fights during the election year on CNN's State of the Union program on Sunday. The Speaker pointed to the incumbent's push to freeze interest rates on student loans, introduce a minimum tax on income over $1 million and fight manipulation of the oil markets.
The president is getting [...] some bad advice, Boehner said Somebody needed to help him out, so I thought I would.
While he has noted the battle lines for the coming election, Boehner clearly picked three fake fights his party is winning -- sometimes by inducing a stalemate.
The battle to prevent student loans from doubling has led to the passage of a Republican bill that freezes interest rates at 3.4 percent, but covers the cost by snagging funding from the prevention and public health fund -- specifically the chunk allocated to breast and cervical cancer screenings, child immunizations and prenatal testing.
The Republican-controlled House passed the bill by a vote of 215-195, despite a promised veto threat from Obama and a competing bill in the Senate that funds student loans by raising taxes on high income earners.
The competing bills and the election day imperative to get something passed put Obama in a corner. Score one for Boehner and the GOP.
Another fake fight that died quickly was the Buffett Rule, a piece of legislation that sets a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on high income earners, which Obama has peddled to make higher-earners pair their fair share. The bill ran head-long into a Republican filibuster in the Senate, and remains effectively dead.
Make that another win for the fake fight connoisseur, 2-0 for Boehner and Co.
The last fake fight offers a bit of election year lucre for Obama, as gas prices remain close to record highs. The President's proposal calls for an additional $52 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for stricter oversight of the oil futures market.
Economists and legislators have cast a skeptical eye towards the proposal, while Republicans have targeted the CFTC for budget cuts this year. Considering Congress's control of federal purse strings and the two parties inability to reach an agreement, major changes to government funding seem unlikely. And in election-year politics, blaming legislation's death on the opposing party carries little currency.
It's a push, but give Boehner the win and the GOP is 3-0 in fake fights.
Watch Boehner's interview with CNN below: