On Monday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” network senior political analyst Brit Hume came to embattled House Speaker John Boehner’s defense, saying that the deck is stacked against the Republican leader in the race to avert the fiscal cliff.
“If you have an ounce of compassion this Christmas season, save it for John Boehner and the House Republicans,” Hume said. “President Obama is treating them as if he has them over a barrel headed for the fiscal cliff — and he does. This is not because Mr. Obama won re-election. After all, he won 51 percent, and needed the greatest voter mobilization operation in history to do it.”
“His leverage now stems from the law, which ends the Bush tax rates on January 1, imposing new higher tax rate and a steep set of spending cuts that fall with special force on military,” Hume explained. “Nobody wants these things, but Republicans, the low tax and strong defense party, want them least of all. Not only that, but polls indicate that if these things come to pass, the public by large margin will blame the GOP.”
Hume downplayed complaints from Republicans and tea party stalwarts that Boehner is a poor and ineffective negotiator.
“Speaker Boehner is trying to head this off by bargaining with the president to keep tax rates where they are now and raising new revenue from rich people by closing tax loopholes,” Hume continued. “In exchange, Mr. Boehner wants the president to agree to serious reform of the entitlement benefits — the biggest drivers of the nation’s debt. Mr. Obama says he wants higher tax revenue, and higher tax rates on the rich, to boot. But he has offered nothing to speak of on entitlement. Unreasonable? You bet. But on top of it, Boehner is under attack from the right for being a weak negotiator. But he is not a weak negotiator. He’s just got a weak hand.”