Praise, Blame, Despair: Right-Wing Media Can't Decide How To Feel About Boehner's Failed Plan B


Right-wing media have inconsistently responded to House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) failed attempt to pass his proposed "Plan B" to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff" standoff, including praising conservative Republicans who opposed the measure, expressing regret that the measure didn't pass, questioning the viability of Boehner's speakership, and blaming President Obama for the plan's failure, despite Obama's concessions to the GOP.

Boehner's Proposed Plan B Failed To Garner Enough GOP Support In The House

CNN: "Boehner's Proposal To Avert The Looming Fiscal [Cliff] ... Failed To Curry Enough Republican Support Thursday Night." From

House Speaker John Boehner's proposal to avert the looming fiscal cliff's automatic tax increases failed to curry enough Republican support Thursday night, after which Congress left for the holiday with no clear end in sight in the high-stakes debate.

Boehner said earlier Thursday that he was confident that his so-called Plan B -- which would extend tax cuts that are set to expire at year's end for most people while allowing rates to increase to 1990s levels on income over $1 million -- would pass the House, and in the process put pressure on President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate. But his gambit seemed in doubt later as Republican leaders struggled to get most all their members to sign on -- even enlisting senators like Sen. Rob Portman, to work the House floor -- knowing the chamber's Democrats oppose it.

Then, around 8 p.m., House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the measure would not go up for a vote as planned.

"The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass," Boehner said in a statement. "Now it is up to the president to work with Senator (Harry) Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff." [, updated 12/21/12]

Some Right-Wing Media Reacted By Praising Conservative Members' Obstructionism ...

Fox Nation: "Reagan's House Heroes Stop Plan B." Fox Nation linked to a post from The American Spectator that declared the Republicans who blocked Boehner's Plan B to be "[Ronald] Reagan's House Heroes." The post likened their actions to those of Reagan's "Reykjavik Moment," which resulted in a nuclear forces treaty with Russia, and his "air traffic controllers moment," when striking air traffic controllers were fired after ignoring Reagan's ultimatum.

The Fox Nation post contained the following image:

Fox Nation Reagan heroes

[The American Spectator, via Fox Nation, 12/21/12]

Hannity: "This Is A Victory For The American People. ... This Will Help Save America." During the December 20 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity called the GOP's block of Boehner's Plan B "a victory for the American people." He also said, "For those of us that believe we've got to stop stealing from our kids, this is a great night for the country. This will help save America, it's going to get us on the right path." [Fox News, Hannity, 12/20/12]

Hannity: "The Republican Party" Could Take "A Moral Stand To Go Over The [Fiscal] Cliff On Principle." Also during his Fox News show, Hannity said, "If the Republican party, if it means they take a moral stand to go over the cliff on principle, I'm going over the cliff with them." [Fox News, Hannity, 12/20/12]

Steve Doocy: "You Can Understand Why At The Eleventh Hour" The GOP Is Saying, " 'We Cannot Go Against Our Core Values.' " During the December 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts discussed Boehner's failure to rally the GOP to support his Plan B. Co-host Steve Doocy cited the GOP's "core value" of not wanting to raise taxes on the highest-earning Americans as the reason this happened, saying later, "You can understand why, you know, at the eleventh hour they're going, 'We cannot go against our core values.' " [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/21/12] "Conservatives Hold Firm, Defeat Boehner's 'Plan B.' " A post to under Big Government noted that "Boehner (R-OH) told members of his own conference on Thursday night that there were not enough votes among the party that would support passage of Boehner's tax proposal known as 'Plan B.' " The post was titled, "Conservatives Hold Firm, Defeat Boehner's 'Plan B.' " [, 12/20/12]

... While Others Regretted That Plan B Failed To Pass

Hot Air: "Plan B Would Have At Least Given Republicans Some Measure Of Political Cover." In a December 21 post, blogger Ed Morrissey wrote on Hot Air, "While Boehner came under considerable heat for this strategy, he's playing a losing hand overall anyway. ... Plan B would have at least given Republicans some measure of political cover to insist that they weren't blocking middle-class tax stability." [Hot Air, 12/21/12]

Wash. Post's Rubin: "The House Republicans Have Joined The White House And Senate Democrats In The 'Don't Know How To Govern' Department." In a December 21 post on her Washington Post blog, Jennifer Rubin wrote, "The House Republicans have joined the White House and Senate Democrats in the 'don't know how to govern' department, none of them coming up with a plan that can pass either body, let alone both. GOP aides on Capitol Hill seem genuinely baffled as to what comes next," before outlining hypothetical "Plans C, D, E and F." [The Washington Post, Right Turn, 12/21/12]

Some Right-Wing Media Questioned Boehner's Speakership ...

Drudge Links To Wash. Post: "Will Boehner's Speakership Survive?" In a collection of links about the failure of Plan B, the Drudge Report linked to a Washington Post article with the text, "Will Boehner's speakership survive?":

Drudge Plan B

[Drudge Report Archives, 12/21/12]

CNN's Erickson: "John Boehner Is Wounded As A Speaker." On the conservative blog RedState, CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote that "John Boehner is wounded as a Speaker" following his plan's failure. Erickson continued, "The conservative movement, the Republican base, and enough of his own Republican Conference have given up trusting John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy." [RedState, 12/21/12]

Fox's Wallace: "The Big Loser In All Of This Is John Boehner." On the December 21 edition of Fox's America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum discussed the failure of Boehner's Plan B with Fox News host Chris Wallace. MacCallum said, "This was not a good night, clearly, for John Boehner," and added, referring to Boehner's press conference just prior to her remarks, "[W]hen the majority of the questions, or several of them, have to do with whether or not you think you're going to lose your position as Speaker of the House, you got to wonder what's next for him and what's next for this situation."  Wallace later said, "The big loser in all of this is John Boehner. I mean, he's the Speaker of the House. It was his caucus. He put this plan up. He took a week at this crucial time to push Plan B. And he ends up with egg on his face." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 12/21/12]

... While Others Blamed Obama

WSJ: Obama Is An "All-Or-Nothing Ideological" President, Offered Boehner "Nothing." The Wall Street Journal suggested that the Republican House's "failure to govern ... owes much to President Obama's failure to negotiate with any degree of seriousness." Explaining its point in "raw political terms," the Journal said, "Mr. Boehner offered to break a core GOP principle on taxes and Mr. Obama offered him nothing he could take back to his rank-and-file in return." The paper further derided the "all-or-nothing ideological nature of this presidency." [The Wall Street Journal, 12/21/12]

Fox's Doocy: Boehner "Misjudged The All-Or-Nothing Ideological Bent Of This President," Obama "Offered Him Nothing." On Fox & Friends Steve Doocy parroted The Wall Street Journal, saying Boehner "misjudged the all-or-nothing ideological bent of this president." Doocy added that Boehner made an offer which "went against his core values" and Obama "offered him nothing," He later said, "the buck stops with the President of the United States, and what we have seen over the last month or so is that through all the negotiations, he was never really serious." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/21/12]

But Obama's Latest Offer Moved Considerably Towards GOP Position...

Obama's Latest Offer Cut Taxes For More High-Income Individuals. Huffington Post reported that as of December 17, Obama "is no longer insisting that taxes increase on families with income above $250,000. Instead, he is calling for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts for incomes of less than $400,000." [Huffington Post, 12/17/12]

Obama's Latest Offer Cut Social Security Benefits. Obama's offer "included the chained CPI provision as a sweetener to entice wary House Republicans to get on board. The change would reduce the inflationary raises made annually to the federal programs indexed to the CPI, including Social Security." [The Hill, 12/20/12]

...And Major Figures On The Left Were "Furious" With Obama's Tax And Entitlement Offers

Wash. Post: "A Vocal Contingent On The Left" Was "Furious" After Obama's Fiscal Cliff Offer. The Washington Post reported that "a vocal contingent on the left, both inside and outside Congress," thought that "President Obama's offer already gave away too much, too soon, on taxes, stimulus and entitlements." The article noted that "progressives are still pushing on in hopes of salvaging some of what they fear could be an awful deal," and that "Obama has already conceded more than they'd like on marginal tax rates and Social Security." [The Washington Post, Wonkblog, 12/20/12]

Politico: "Obama's Latest Offer To Congressional Republicans Crosses Lines That Democrats Have Long Portrayed As Untouchable." Politico reported:

President Barack Obama's latest offer to congressional Republicans crosses lines that Democrats have long portrayed as untouchable. The provision causing the most heartburn for Democrats on Capitol Hill is one that would change the way inflation is measured to ultimately reduce payments to Social Security beneficiaries. [Politico, 12/18/12]

Wash. Post: "Major Stakeholders On The Left" Are "Angry" Over "Concessions To John Boehner." In The Washington Post's The Plum Line blog, Greg Sargent reported that Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO policy director, told him "that AFL-CIO wants Obama to pull back on the $400,000 threshold and Chained CPI offers." Sargent said:

I'm not sure it's widely understood just how angry some of the major stakeholders on the left are about the latest turns in the fiscal cliff talks. The sight of the White House offering more concessions to John Boehner, only to be met with more GOP intransigence in the form of his absurd Plan B, is stirring bad memories of 2011 and has some on the left insisting that the only proper response is for Obama to rescind his most recent offer. [The Washington Post, Plum Line, 12/20/12]

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