John Boehner is in a hot huff, fuming so furiously that he'd be red-faced, were it not for that eerie, orange-toned tan he constantly has.
The Republican House Speaker is angry that President Obama won't play Boehnerball with him in their ongoing altercation over ways to reduce the federal deficit. The GOP leader's pitch to Obama is that the deficit hole should be filled by cutting government spending and eliminating some tax deductions – not, most emphatically not, by increasing taxes on corporations and the rich, even by so little as a dime.
But this is an Eephus pitch, a sucker ball. The trick is that Boehner & Co. want Democrats and the general public to agree to massive cuts – without telling us which programs and deductions they would sacrifice.
So far, Obama is refusing to go for this game of Boehnerball, instead standing firm and calmly saying to him: "If you want to spare the rich any burden and only cut back on regular folks, don't expect me to do your dirty work for you. Make your pitch and take political responsibility for the pain you would cause."
Oh, the huffing and puffing that ensued. "We've put a serious offer on the table," wailed Boehner to the right-wing friendlies interviewing him on Fox TV. Only ... he hadn't. Not one specific cut had been named. So Obama still refused to be suckered into playing Boehner's game.
With polls showing rising public scorn for his pitiful performance, Boehner has finally been forced to try another pitch. But even with a do-over, he balked! His latest proposal cuts $1.2 trillion from federal programs and eliminates $800 billion in tax exemptions – but still doesn't tell us which ones. As Casey Stengel asked the players of a terrible ball club he once managed: "Can't anyone here play this game?"
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.
Copyright © 2013 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.