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RUSH: Wall Street Journal, Washington wire: “Rep. Paul Ryan acknowledged he was handing Democrats a political weapon when he unveiled his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, including a controversial overhaul of Medicare. Congressional leaders in both parties now seem to agree with him. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he is ‘not wedded’ to Mr. Ryan’s plan to redo Medicare. ‘Paul Ryan has an idea that’s certainly worth consideration,’ Mr. Boehner said in an interview with ABC News. ‘I’m for it. It’s our idea. It’s Paul [Ryan]’s idea. Now other people have other ideas. I’m not wedded to one single idea.'” That’s where I saw it. I just wanted to have the proof of it, that’s where it was. (interruption) No. I don’t know that it’s an under-the-bus moment. I don’t think Boehner’s throwing anybody under the bus. By the way, I think there’s something else going on. It’s called trying to be all things to all people.

Last night on PMSNBC, The Last Word, Huffing and Puffington Post senior political editor Howard Fineman, they were having a discussion of the debt limit vote negotiations, and here is Howard Fineman.

FINEMAN: I can tell you the Tea Party types, having seen John Boehner in his reasonable mode out there in that interview with ABC are gonna be increasingly suspicious about him which may in fact make Boehner more difficult to deal with on the debt ceiling vote than might have been the case a week or two ago when, as I understand it, speaker Boehner pretty much assured top White House officials that he wasn’t gonna, you know, go to the brink on the debt ceiling. I think that promise that Boehner supposedly made to the White House might not be in good standing now.

RUSH: So if I understand this, a couple weeks ago Boehner supposedly told the White House, “Hey, don’t worry I’m not gonna go to the brink on the debt ceiling,” which we knew. We knew they’re gonna kick the can down the road on that just like they did the continuing resolution. But Howard Fineman is saying Tea Party types, having seen Boehner in his reasonable mode out there, are gonna be increasingly suspicious about him, which may make Boehner more — meaning, I guess what Fineman’s theory is, the Tea Party’s gonna lean on Boehner, and Boehner is going to cave to the Tea Party, which means that the Tea Party once again is the reason, those radicals in the Tea Party, damn them, they are the reason that Boehner is not gonna be able to act reasonable like we all want him to act, and Boehner is gonna not go along with the debt ceiling raise. Blaming the Tea Party is the purpose of this quote. See, Boehner’s so much more enjoyable when he’s reasonable. So when Boehner says he’s not wedded to Paul Ryan’s Medicare part in the budget, he’s reasonable.

New York Times blog, The Caucus: “Why Republicans May Be Skipping 2012 Presidential Run.” The question is why? “Haley Barbour’s decision to forgo a run for the presidency in 2012 puts him in the company of a half-dozen top Republicans who have considered — and rejected — a challenge to President Obama next year. The question is: why? In a statement that surprised much of official Washington, Mr. Barbour indicated that he does not have ‘absolute fire in the belly’ to mount a campaign that, if he wins, could consume the next 10 years of his life. … Others have offered different reasons. Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said he considered himself ‘best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.’ Representative Mike Pence of Indiana hinted that he might run for governor instead, saying that he and his family ‘choose Indiana.’

“Among those who have turned down the chance to run in 2012: Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey; Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida; and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. Mr. Christie said that he could win but that ‘I’ve got to believe I’m ready to be president, and I don’t.’ … But the publicly stated reasons often mask other considerations as politicians consider whether to run for president. Here are five reasons why some of the Republican Party’s brightest stars might be opting for the sidelines this year.” Are you ready? Now, remember, this is the New York Times theorizing this. One is Biden. “If Mr. Obama wins re-election, there is almost zero chance that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. would run for the presidency in 2016,” which opens it up. Much easier to win in 2016 when there’s not an incumbent vice president running. (interruption) I know it’s not true. This is the New York Times.

Here’s the second reason they speculate why no serious Republican is taking up the challenge: the economy. I swear, folks, I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. The economy. Yeah, Obama’s so formidable on the economy, there’s no way to beat him on it. “Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have dipped below 50 percent, but he remains personally popular and by many calculations the economy appears to be improving — if slowly. Even Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and one of the handful of very likely candidates, said last September that Mr. Obama would be ‘difficult to beat’ if the economy continued improving, which he predicted it would.”

All right, so the New York Times thinks that a bunch of Republicans have looked down the road and seen an improving economy, meaning it’s impossible to beat Obama. I swear, folks. Again, it’s the New York Times, and it’s their educated guess. Number three, money. Obama’s expected to raise a billion dollars. There’s just simply no way to compete with that. Number four, the Tea Party. Get this one. “The emergence of the Tea Party movement as a force inside the Republican Party requires potential presidential candidates to pick sides in an intraparty philosophical struggle. The risks are clear for some Republicans who may have to alter or modify earlier positions to get through a contentious primary.” In other words, the Tea Party will make these responsible, reasonable Republicans have to go too radical and they just don’t want to do it. They just don’t want to have to deal with the Tea Party. They don’t want to have to respond to ’em. They don’t want to have to campaign for ’em. They don’t want to be liked by ’em because these Republicans don’t want to have to go that radical.

Number five, the media glare. “Candidates for president have always had to contend with scrutiny from the press,” the media anal exam. But they just don’t want to put up with it in this climate. They just have no desire for it. So those are the five reasons the New York Times blogger suggests that Republicans are opting out. I swear, it’s alternative universe time. (interruption) What? He didn’t get any scrutiny, but that’s the point. The Republicans are gonna get all kinds of scrutiny and Obama won’t. They don’t want to undergo it. They just have no desire to undergo the media anal exam.


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