John Boehner, Speaker of the House, minced no words in his response to Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. Boehner said:
Given what we heard yesterday about the president’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans. So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party. And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal — to just shove us into the dustbin of history.
Boehner discussed Obama’s refusal to address the national deficit in any serious way, referencing the “fiscal cliff” negotiations that went nowhere last year. He explained:
In our meetings before Christmas, the president was so tired of me talking about when we were going to deal with an entitlement crisis that he looked at me and said: ‘Boehner, we don’t have a spending problem. We have a healthcare problem.’ It gives you some idea of the challenge that we’re facing. For a guy who’s run up the deficit 60 percent — 60 percent of the deficit has occurred under his watch — when you see this, and then you hear him say: ‘I am not going to negotiate on the debt limit. I am not going to deal with the debt limit. That’s Congress’s problem!’ … Frankly, I think it’s irresponsible.
Boehner’s remarks were made to the Ripon Society, a Republican think tank. He outlined his approach in fighting Obama, which entailed accepting the fact that the GOP is in the minority, and thus cannot run their agenda through Congress but can stop Obama from implementing his:
We’re going to have to make some big decisions about how we as a party take on this challenge. Where’s the ground that we fight on? Where’s the ground that we retreat on? Where are the smart fights? Where are the dumb fights that we have to stay away from? We’ve got a lot of big decisions to make. We’ve got the debt limit facing us and the sequester hits on March 1st. If all that isn’t enough, the government runs out of money on March 27th. No one really knows what will happen. But I’m not quite sure I want to look over the edge of the cliff when it comes to the debt limit. All I know is I’m up for the fight.