RSS
Debt deal: Did Boehner really get '98 percent' of what he wanted?
After weeks of being pummeled and embarrassed by Tea Partiers, the House speaker claims victory for the GOP — and himself
A deal to raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election was signed into law on Tuesday, and House Speaker John Boehner says the final agreement gave him a whopping "98 percent" of what he wanted.
A deal to raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election was signed into law on Tuesday, and House Speaker John Boehner says the final agreement gave him a whopping "98 percent" of what he wanted.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
T

he video: Speaker John Boehner sat down with CBS News' Scott Pelley Monday evening, before the House voted to pass a bipartisan agreement that would raise the debt ceiling, to discuss details of his negotiations with President Obama. (Tuesday afternoon, the bill passed in the Senate, and was signed into law by President Obama — preventing the U.S. from defaulting on its debt for the first time ever.) The deal overwhelmingly caters to conservative demands, calling for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, with no firm provisions for new tax revenues, in exchange for raising the nation's legal borrowing limit enough to get the country through the 2012 election. When Pelley asked Boehner if, after the bruising budget battle, he intended to remain speaker of the House — despite his struggle in recent weeks to tame the unruly Tea Party elements of his caucus — a rather smug Boehner responded, "When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted." (Watch the video below.) But considering Boehner's very-public struggles to keep Republicans in line, many aren't buying his spin.

The reaction: While the deal "leans heavily to the right," says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, Boehner's "half-hearted boasts" shouldn't be taken "at face value." For one thing, the deal that actually passed is not the far more conservative "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan that the speaker pushed for. Claiming that most of his demands were met is an attempt to stop looking "like a weak and hapless speaker" after negotiations in which he did more "following than leading." If anything, this deal isn't a big enough victory for conservatives, says Tina Korbe at Hot Air. Clearly Boehner and other GOP leaders simply don't want to admit that the negotiations left them "diminished politically." Judge for yourself:

 

 

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week