On Tuesday, House Minority Leader John Boehner called for the firing of every last member of Obama's economic team, naming Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers specifically. According to The Washington Post, Boehner argued the team "lacks 'real-world, hands-on experience' in creating jobs that are needed for a full economic recovery." Vice-President Joe Biden has already struck back, calling Boehner's own proposals, as the Post paraphrases, "nothing but a list of what Republicans are against and devoid of innovative new ideas that can help move the country forward"
In a sarcastic tone, Biden thanked Boehner for the suggestion that the president fire his top economic advisers.
"Very constructive advice and we thank the leader for that," Biden said.
If Biden is bristling at Boehner's tidy soundbite, you can only imagine what the bloggers are saying. But many of the usual pundits, in fact, are simply stepping back to admit that this was pretty good politics. Here's the discussion of the strategy.
- 'I Must Admit That This Is a Pretty Smart Move,' writes David Dayen at progressive site FireDogLake. Boehner has few ideas other than tax cuts, says Dayen, and is "an imperfect messenger for open, transparent government" given his involvement with the tobacco industry, "but calling out Geithner and Summers by name makes a lot of sense." Calling for all these firings is "wacky," but "he's clearly hitting a nerve that will resonate beyond his base. And when you can do that, you've succeeded."
- As a Soundbite, Yes, admits Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway, "but it surely doesn't accomplish anything substantive," as "even if Obama fired his entire economic staff today, they'd be replaced by people who largely agree with the Geithner/Summers ideas. Certainly, Obama isn't going to be appointing free-market conservatives to run his economic policy." Insofar as Boehner's speech is helpful, it is helpful because "it's gotten the focus of the political debate back to the economy," which is precisely where Republicans, ahead of election day, should want it.
- Clever Leaking, adds The Los Angeles Times' Andrew Malcolm. Boehner's communications team essentially "[drew] their DNC opponents into helping to publicize the ... speech" and then, with this particular call for firings, made an even bigger splash. A tweet from The Atlantic's Chris Good would seem to confirm this view: "I wouldn't even know about this Boehner speech if not for all the emails from Democrats criticizing it," he writes this morning.
- Actually, Obama Should Take the Advice, suggests conservative Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. "Firing the team ... would at least show that Obama understands that his policies aren't working. If he waits until the day after the midterms, it’s not going to do him or his party much good."