John Boehner isn't giving up his speakership or the fight to win debt talks against Barack Obama, but he does sounds like a man whose thankless job is starting to take a toll. In an interview in today's The Wall Street Journal, Boehner recounts some of the tense moments from the recent fiscal cliff fight while also giving away some of his strategy for the impending debit ceiling talks.
One key theme running through Boehner's interview — besides his chain smoking — is his obvious frustration with the president over the very definition of what they're fighting about. The Speaker is determined to slash government spending in order to reduce the deficit; the President says there isn't a spending problem at all. (The problem is that health care is too expensive, but Boehner naturally blames that on the President's health care policies.)
There also seems to be a disconnect, with the Speaker and the President both thinking the other is too afraid of his own party. While others briefly worried that Boehner would be overthrown by his own party, the Speaker says Obama is "unwilling to take on the left wing of his own party" and wouldn't even try to sell a compromise to Democrats. Meanwhile, he takes all the guff for not negotiating, saying. "I'm the guy who put revenues on the table the day after the election."