The Boehner Tax increase he called it.
After weeks of taking on Republican House Speaker John Boehner over Boehner’s insistence on trying to make a deal over taxes with President Obama, by the night of December 20 -- as House Republicans were being pounded by the GOP leadership to vote that very night for Boehener’s “Plan B” -- the backlash dam finally broke on Mark Levin’s radio show.
As we wait for the “fiscal cliff” negotiations to resume at the White House, it’s worth going back to the evening of December 20 to note something that was overlooked as the Christmas holiday overtook the news on the defeat -- by House Republicans -- of Boehner’s Plan B.
As Levin’s show went live at 6pm Eastern, he opened with a sharp, passionate look at Republicans on the verge of rejecting longtime conservative principle -- not to mention basic economics -- by raising taxes.
His first guest was Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan, the outgoing head of the Republican Study Committee and one of the few Republicans who was fearless in his open opposition to fellow Ohioan Boehner. Jordan made plain his opposition to the Boehner tax increase proposal, saying Republicans should never “cross the line” in opposing economic growth, and called opposing tax increases a defining principle for Republicans as to “who we are.”
“Now it’s all about the Speaker,” remarked Levin after Jordan departed to return to the floor, citing with disdain multiple reports of Boehner loyalists insisting “we can’t embarrass the Speaker.”
Then, watching the Fox coverage from his broadcasting bunker, Levin braced his audience for learning of House Republicans who were on the verge of abandoning principle, saying what was unfolding “turns my stomach.”
“If they want to talk like liberals -- and they do -- then get the hell off the stage.”
The answer to all this Levin said, in response to his first caller, is not in Washington.
Then the drama ratcheted upwards. Levin, through his own contacts on Capitol Hill, broke the news that House Republicans were being threatened with losing their committee seats if they didn’t support Boehner’s Plan B. And he also broke the news that Boehner had scheduled an emergency Conference meeting.
Levin launched again -– and said this:
“Call your member of your Congress now.”
He called for “an official Levin surge” -- and read out the number (202-224-2131) for the House switchboard, asking his audience to call the switchboard and ask to be put through to their GOP House members and make their disagreement with Plan B known loud and clear.
He recounted the tale of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor insisting the GOP Leadership had the votes -- and said it was now plain that Cantor was lying.
More information streamed into Levin from his own sources, which he immediately broadcast to his audience of millions, saying there were now threats to subcommittee chairmanships if House GOP members didn’t support the Speaker.
“Are you proud of Boehner, ladies and gentlemen?” Levin asked his audience of the threats against GOP members. Adding: “We don’t have to accept this.” He read out the phone number again, saying “we ought to kick up a little dust.”
All this interspersed with the usual of talk radio -- callers and commercials. But as soon as they halted for a minute, Levin kept up the pace. Then word arrives: callers from Levin’s show had shut down the House switchboard.
So…he came up with e-mail addresses.
Insisting all the while that he had no illusions as to whether this would work -- he made the point again and again that it had to be tried anyway.
Then still more drama.
You can stop calling, he tells his audience. Levin breaks the news that Boehner had suddenly pulled Plan B from the floor -- and read Boehner’s concession statement on the air.
It was stunning, both as talk radio and as news. Boehner, Levin accurately noted, had bullied rather than try to lead his fellow GOP members.
The House leadership wasn’t “clever enough” to pull this off, Levin said. He went on to note that there were millions of conservatives who hadn’t voted for Romney in November -- for precisely reasons like those Boehner had made to pass his Plan B.
Fresh from all of this, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert -- a leader in fighting this nonsense -- called in. His tone was measured, decidedly not triumphant. This was about the Constitution, said Gohmert, calling for using the constitutional process of having the House pass a bill, the Senate taking the bill and making their own changes, then sending it to a House-Senate conference open to the public. This was what should be done, said Gohmert, instead of having Boehner and Obama negotiating behind closed doors.
In other words, this entire episode -- caused by too much spending -- should be resolved by following the Constitution.
Gohmert was followed by South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott -- in the headlines for being appointed to succeed the retiring Senator Jim DeMint.
After Scott departed, Levin told his audience he had now obtained from a source an inside list of the thirteen House GOP members who publicly bucked Boehner mere moments earlier to vote against the rule allowing Plan B to come to the floor -- reading the names aloud one by one.
Boehner failed, Levin concluded, “because of people like you.” Which is to say, his audience. Regular rank and file Americans had jumped into the middle of this thing themselves -- and they had succeeded.
The show ended with Levin saying if the House GOP leadership didn’t step down they should at a minimum get their act together. “We intend to stand here and be heard,” he vowed of his audience at the close, with a thanks to “the Levin Surge.”
The entire show, found here, was a stunning display of grassroots Americans standing up to Washington insiders in real time -- and winning.
One suspects Obama’s second term will not be the picnic his supporters envision. Clearly, Boehner’s speakership -- if it continues -- won’t be a picnic either.
Not if Mark Levin and his audience have anything to say about it.
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