Speaker John Boehner Can’t Think Of A Single Program He Would Cut

This is not a good sign:

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WILLIAMS: Name a program right now that we could do without.

BOEHNER: I don’t think I have one off the top of my head.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie is not pleased:

That’s not exactly an ambush, bub. It’s right up there in the softball sweepstakes with Katie Couric asking Sarah Palin to name a newspaper she reads or two Supreme Court decisions she disagrees with.

The GOP got kicked to the curb in 2006 because they were up-to-the-neck-complicit with the profligate and stupid spending (and bellicose) ways of George W. Bush. If after four years in the supposed wilderness you get power and the first thing you do is walk back the suggestion that you’re gonna cut $100 billion out of fiscal year 2011 (still without a budget!), and then your main guy bumbles the query above…well, you’re not winning any fans among the growing ranks of independents (read: crypto-libertarians) who want a smaller government that does less and costs less.

I’ve been saying for awhile now that the GOP’s fiscal conservative, cut spending, reduce the size of government rhetoric throughout 2010 was just that, rhetoric, and that when they got back into power we’d see that they had not learned their lesson from the 2001-2006 time in power. Between comments like this and their attempt to back track on a clear campaign pledge to cut $100 billion in spending this year, it’s beginning to look like I was right. Honestly, I thought it would take them longer to reveal their hypocrisy.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:


  2. Axel Edgren says:

    There is NOTHING sweeter to me than seeing useful idiots and anti-government fanatics like Gillespie frowning in puzzlement.

    Congrats, scum, you wanted some real austerity sweetness to go with all that confederate/fundamentalist/homophobic vitriol you forced yourselves to swallow, but apart from a little kicking the poor and disadvantaged in the faces to give corporations tax cuts (that won’t result in any jobs) those big government programs you hate are not going *anywhere*. Fiscal reform? Defense cuts? Lol, you idiots just voted for W’s congress again – what did you liberarian morons expect!?

    Gillespie and his sickening coven of irresponsible tinfoil-hatters can cry me an ocean.

  3. PJ says:


    They won’t:
    raise taxes (Obviously.)
    cut spending (Finding enough to cut is hard work.)

    But, they will:
    block raising the debt ceiling (Easy to do, but very,very dangerous and irresponsible.)

  4. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Between comments like this …”

    You accept this comment at face value!? When you have a game plan which will meet with opposition from the Democrats, why tip your hand?

    If I am going to play (office) politics with someone in my daily life, I sure as hell ain’t going to tell that what I am going to do to them. I will just do it and quietly laugh when they realize what happened to them.

  5. john personna says:

    Patrick, why do you think the question was not an opportunity for Boehner?

    Lolz again. You can build a super-secret spending cut plan in your mind just to make sense of this. Never mind that a good way to start cutting would be to start naming.

  6. john personna says:

    (Why not ethanol subsidies? That’s an easy one, right?)

  7. sam says:

    “when they got back into power we’d see that they had not learned their lesson from the 2001-2006 time in power”

    Except this time, they’ve got a pack of rabid backbenchers who’ll take big hunks out of their heinies — publicly–at the slightest hint of that.

    It’s going to be an interesting two years for the House Republicans. Say, anyone got a quote on popcorn futures?

  8. PJ says:

    Do the republican store this secret plan for spending cuts in the same safe as McCain’s super secret plan on how to capture bin Laden?

  9. tom p says:

    “Honestly, I thought it would take them longer to reveal their hypocrisy.”

    Doug, their hypocrisy was revealed when they would not raise taxes.

  10. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Patrick, why do you think the question was not an opportunity for Boehner?”

    To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, they will have to pass the bill so that you can see what is in it.

  11. epistorese says:

    Why should he name a program that the nation can do without when he can wait for Obama to decide on a spending cut and oppose it because it will “damage the economy?” When you have a game plan that seems to be working, the best approach is to stick with it.

  12. john personna says:

    I wonder how long it will take conservatives to fully internalize the lesson of this?

    There is no secret budget plan. If there is any secret plan at all, it is all about 2012 and the quest for power. Good government be damned.