Speaker Boehner's Version Of What "The American People Are Telling Us"

October 13, 2011 11:40 am ET — Kate Conway

If there's one thing you can't fault the GOP for, it's their persistence; even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, congressional Republicans stick to their anti-tax and anti-regulatory talking points. Even more brazenly, the House GOP continues to defend their obstructionist tactics and economically unwise proposals by claiming a mandate from the American people — no matter what polling numbers say — as if gaining a majority in one half of one branch of government nearly a year ago means voters have granted a perpetual endorsement of all Republican policies.

Last night on Fox News, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted the inherently contradictory nature of the GOP's style, insisting that Republicans are still honoring their "commitment" to "listen to the American people," but then naming a number of Republican objectives opposed by strong majorities of the American public.

BOEHNER: Well, in our "Pledge to America" that we outlined almost a year ago, on the eve of the last election, one of the commitments we made was to listen to the American people and to follow the lead of the American people. And trust me, we're continuing to listen to the American people.

And the American people are telling us, here's what you need to do. Stop the regulatory onslaught coming out of Washington. Fix this tax code so that American companies can be more competitive in a worldwide economy. And then thirdly, stop the overspending that's serving as a wet blanket over our economy.


But Boehner and his party's priorities belie his commitment to listening to the wishes of the populace; public polling and the wisdom of experts contradict all three things he claims "the American people are telling" legislators to do. For starters, business owners and economists point to stagnant demand, not "the regulatory onslaught" as the primary obstacle to hiring. Public support for two particular clean air regulations the GOP is trying to kill is overwhelmingly strong, with even Republican voters favoring the rules by significant margins.

And while Americans may want to "fix this tax code," the fixes they want more closely mirror Democrats' proposals than Republicans'. As Republicans fight tooth and nail on behalf of millionaires and corporations, a poll out just yesterday shows 64 percent think that raising taxes on corporations is a "good idea" — a position the American people have held consistently in poll after poll. At the same time, there's little evidence that "overspending" has been "a wet blanket over our economy." In fact, states that have cut spending in the face of the recent economic recession have suffered most in terms of economic growth and employment.