The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 15, 2013

Other Views: Resting against the ropes

— In 1974, boxer Muhammad Ali popularized a ring strategy when he leaned back against the ropes, letting George Foreman flail away at him until Foreman had worn himself out. Ali then went on to defeat the exhausted, arm-weary Foreman.

That strategy apparently has re-emerged in our congressional politics in the unlikely personage of House Speaker John Boehner, the nation’s most powerful Republican.

Boehner may be a little arm-weary himself after two years of battling President Barack Obama, a Democratic-controlled Senate and the dozens of tea party members within his own caucus.

It wasn’t his arms he mentioned in a recent interview with The Associated Press. He expressed weariness and frustration after a couple of rounds of failed budget talks, where he was stymied either by the president or, when he thought he had an agreement, his own rank and file.

“Frankly,” he told AP, “every time I’ve gotten into one of these high-profile negotiations, you know, it’s my rear end that got burnt.” From now on, in what the wire service described as an “almost Zen-like approach,” he plans to rest against the ropes, so to speak, and let others — the White House, the Senate, his own party — take the initiative.

Boehner and the Republicans generally are trying to portray the looming sequester — $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts — as not only exclusively Obama’s problem, but exclusively the president’s idea. In truth, both parties were complicit — the Republicans maybe even more so than the Democrats — in its creation in August 2011.

“Remember, this is the president’s idea,” Boehner now says. The solution is up to the president and the Senate Democrats. The House will take a look at whatever they propose.

What about gun violence, immigration reform, early childhood education and all those other proposals mentioned in the State of the Union speech? If the president has “got such good ideas, his party in the Senate could pass it. Then we’d be happy to take a look at it,” the speaker told AP.

The speaker surely finds appealing the idea of remaining aloof and above the fray and making others come to him. But as a skilled lawmaker of 22 years standing, one conscious of his responsibilities, it is only a matter of time — and probably not very much time — before he comes off the ropes swinging.

Scripps Howard News Service

1
Text Only
Opinion
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe
Sports