Obama tries to make political mountain out of ant hill
President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats are trying to make political hay out of a comment by House Republican leader John Boehner that managed to mention ants and nuclear weapons in the same sentence.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Boehner criticized the financial regulatory reform legislation making its way through Congress as an overreaction to the financial crisis. “This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Democrats couldn’t resist pouncing on it. Especially since they are struggling to come up with the votes to pass the landmark legislation through the Senate where 60 votes in the 100-seat chamber are required to overcome procedural hurdles.
The White House released excerpts of remarks that Obama will make later today in Wisconsin in which the president took Republicans to task for opposing the financial regulatory reform bill.
“In fact, just yesterday, I was stunned to hear the leader of the Republicans in the House say that financial reform was like using a nuclear weapon to target an ant. That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant. The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives savings,” Obama will say.
“Well if the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant,” Obama says in the excerpts.
“These Americans don’t believe the financial crisis was an ant. They know that it’s what led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. And they expect their leaders in Washington to do whatever it takes to make sure a crisis like this never happens again. The Republican leader might want to maintain a status quo on Wall Street. But we want to move America forward.”
So for the one “ant” mentioned by Boehner, Obama managed to swat back by mentioning the insect four times.
Often in Washington, escalating rhetoric can signal uneasiness that things might not go your way.
The recent death of Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia means that for Democrats it will be more of a struggle to get those 60 votes in the Senate on financial regulatory reform. And for Republicans the worry is that they are going to lose this fight as they did on healthcare reform.
Who do you think is winning the rhetorical battle on Wall Street reform?
Photo credit: Reuters/Ali Jarekji (ant walks on wild flower), Reuters/Larry Downing (Boehner and Obama at president’s meeting with congressional leaders at White House)