Apparently, Chris Wallace let the all-Republican focus on Fox News Sunday today go to his head. He wasn’t content to just listen to Speaker of the House John Boehner say that “all options are on the table” with regard to the Keystone Pipeline and the payroll tax cut. Instead, Wallace repeatedly tried to push Boehner into saying he’ll make the extension of the payroll tax cut conditional on President Obama approving the Keystone Pipeline.
Wallace asked, “What about extending the payroll tax cut holiday for a full year – not just the two months that runs out the end of February - and are you as part of that going to attach the Keystone Pipeline, approval of the Keystone Pipeline to a deal?”
Boehner sounded noncommittal as he said, “Every option is on the table. We’re going to do everything we can to try to make sure that this Keystone Pipeline is in fact approved.”
Apparently that was not a good enough answer for Wallace. “Look, you say all the options are on the table. Are you saying that you may link the Keystone Pipeline to extending the payroll tax holiday?”
“We may,” Boehner said. “As I said, all options are on the table.”
Still Wallace pressed. “Now, here’s an interesting question. Because what you did this last time is you just said, ‘You have to disapprove it again in two months,’ and he disapproved it again as he had before. Why not demand that if he wants the payroll tax cut, he has to approve it? In other words, it comes with it. You want the payroll tax cut? The pipeline goes with it.”
“All options are on the table,” Boehner repeated.
Wallace kept up the pressure. “So you’re suggesting it might not just be – because quite frankly it seems like just a political statement… He can disapprove it and his measure goes through. You’re saying that you might demand approval as a price for - ”
Boehner interrupted. “The Keystone Pipeline is a bi-partisan issue in the Congress. Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate… want this pipeline built… It’s time for the President to say, ‘Yes,’ (to the pipeline) and as I said, All options are on the table.”
Wallace let it go at that and moved on to suggest ask if the House budget will have “serious entitlement reform?”
Wallace did get one major point out – that 2012, just like the past 3 years, will completely be about politics for the GOP. Not about jobs, the economy or actually trying to do the work of the Congress. Just about political chess games using such things as the budget, the debt ceiling, and any other thing they can to obstruct any step President Obama tries to take. The GOP position will be to say no to everything, just as it has been since Obama was sworn in, in the hope that this will play well on Fox News and give them a talking point for the fall election.
But there was a pretty smarmy tone to the whole thing. Boehner could only repeat a few talking points and point his finger at President Obama without getting into any substance. And Wallace, at the end, made a particularly nasty comment when he asked Boehner how he was planning to stay awake during the State of the Union Address. Boehner, typically, responded that he would focus on the back of the President’s head, rather than on anything the man was actually saying.
(It’s interesting to note that the GOP has stayed in lockstep in their opposition to everything Democratic or Obama-originated. They are determined not to participate in the Obama-era government. It’s almost as though they’re trying to ignore its existence. The Dems did go along with much of the George W. Bush-era government, approving most of his programs and apppointments, including the Iraq War and two inappropriate Supreme Court nominees that should have been rejected for cause. Of course, the Dems’ votes for these things then gets used as a way to include them in the blame for these things, and the GOP’s intransigence gets used as a way of noting their “integrity”. We’ll see what the voters do in November, given the spectacular unpopularity of this Congress.)
That is all…
They are—as long as all those tax cuts go to folks making over $250K and corporations. Everyone else exists just to be exploited.