Right-Wing Media Figures Pushed Boehner To Abandon Debt Talks

Prominent media conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh have been pressuring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) not to accept a $4 trillion debt deal that would stave off economic catastrophe by allowing Congress to raise the debt ceiling and prevent the government from defaulting on its obligations. On July 9, these conservatives met success, as Boehner abandoned negotiations aimed at a $4 trillion debt deal.

Palin, Limbaugh, And Others Urged Boehner Not To “Cave” On Debt Ceiling

Palin “Made It Clear That She's Against Any Deal That Raises The Debt Ceiling.” From Newsweek:

Back in the private dining room in Pella, Palin shared some of those policy positions. On the debt ceiling, she takes the hardline view. “It is not the apocalypse,” she said, and questioned the need for the urgent negotiating sessions Republicans and Democrats were conducting in search of a debt-limit agreement (ongoing at press time). “The fact is that we have $2.6 trillion in revenue coming in, and if we just use some common sense there -- take that revenue, service the debt first, take care of national priorities -- we don't have to increase debt.”


Palin made it clear that she's against any deal that raises the debt ceiling and would hold House Speaker John Boehner's feet to the fire if he agreed to one. “No, we have to cut spending. It is imperative, and I will be very, very disappointed if Boehner and the leaders of the Republican Party cave on any kind of debt deal in the next couple of months.” [Newsweek, 7/10/11]

  • Fox Nation: “Palin Issues Stern Warning To Boehner About Debt Ceiling.” Linking to an article in The Hillreporting on Palin's comments to Newsweek, Fox News' website The Fox Nation posted the following headline:

[Fox Nation, 7/11/11]

  • Weasel Zippers: “Ditto That.” The right-wing blog Weasel Zippers endorsed Palin's remarks, saying, “ditto that.” [Weasel Zippers, 7/11/11]

Limbaugh: If Republicans “Cave” And Accept Debt Deal, “You Can Say Goodbye” To The RNC. From the July 8 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I just want to tell you with extreme confidence that if any of this happens, if there is a cave by House Republicans on this debt limit -- if Obama gets what he wants, all of what he wants, as Kristol is alluding to here, and was backed up by other reports, then you can say goodbye to the Republican National Committee. It will implode. People will stop sending it money. You can say hello to an Obama second term, because there will be a third party. The Tea Party will organize as a third party, if there is a cave on this.

We could lower the debt ceiling and make our debt payments as I detailed yesterday. We are not at risk of default. We are not in danger of default. Anybody, either party, who says we are is engaging in demagoguery and the same classic Washington tactic of creating to you a crisis, an apocalyptic crisis, that has to be solved now or else. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/8/11]

Big Government On Potential Deal: “Strength Is On The GOP's Side. Don't Cave.” In a July 5 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website, contributor Michael Angley wrote:

The White House and the Democrats may be at it again! Senate Republican leaders are worried the White House will shovel a last-minute budget deal into the Congress shortly before the August 2, 2011 debt ceiling deadline. The GOP fears an “urgent” proposal on the eve of this date will give the Congress little time to review what's in it, and the exigent nature of the deal will hamstring them into rushing it through to a vote.

They are right to worry. In all likelihood, the White House (and its willing accomplices among Democratic lawmakers) will pork-up a deal with “investments” (spending increases) and tax hikes. Both are anathema to the GOP right now, and the desperadoes of the left will see this as the only way to continue 60 years of progressive policies. Any deal from the White House is bound to be a Trojan Horse.


The GOP must demand a timely budget input, or simply leave the White House in the dust and vote on their own proposal. They must rally all GOP lawmakers and find a few defectors from the other side to defeat an unacceptable offer should one come, even if it means risking the “end of the world!” After all, the last White House budget went down in unanimous flames in the Senate: 0-97 votes. No one from Obama's party voted for it. Strength is on the GOP's side. Don't cave. [Big Government, 7/5/11]

National Review Warned GOP To Walk Away From A Deal If It's Not Cut On Their Terms. From a July 7 National Review article headlined, “Budget Danger Ahead,” and subheadlined, “How Republicans could get snookered again”:

In the debt-limit talks, Republicans need to be very wary of confusing meaningless Medicare and Medicaid “cuts” with actual reforms that will make a difference. If the president and his allies have ruled out all variants of genuine reform -- and the recent Medicare proposal from Sens. Joe Lieberman (I.) and Tom Coburn (R.) certainly counts as a first step toward genuine reform -- then Republicans should make it clear that they have no incentive at all to make concessions.

If that means that a “large” deficit-cutting deal can't be struck on the debt limit, so be it. A $2 trillion or $3 trillion package, heavy on tax hikes and the usual assortment of Medicare and Medicaid regulatory tinkering, should be the Republicans' worst nightmare. It will hand the president a huge political victory, leave the entitlement monolith just as it is, further entrench central government management of the health sector, and burden taxpayers even more.

It would be far better to find a way to cut whatever spending can be cut sensibly with some Democratic support, raise the debt limit modestly, and leave the big questions on entitlement reforms and taxes to the collective judgment of the voting public in 2012. [National Review, 7/7/11]

Politico: Boehner Walked Away From Debt Deal “Under Pressure From The Right”

Politico: “Boehner, Under Pressure From The Right And Facing Resistance From His Own Deputies, Backed Away” From Debt Deal. From Politico:

House Speaker John Boehner, under pressure from the right and facing resistance from his own deputies, backed away Saturday from a bold $4 trillion deficit-reduction package that he once hoped would resolve the August debt ceiling crisis and give a shot in the arm to a lagging economy.

Tax policy disputes were at the center of the collapse, including differences with the White House over President Barack Obama's demand that future tax reforms must maintain or increase the progressivity of the tax code. But for days Boehner has been under relentless pressure from conservatives to step away from the deal, which Saturday's Wall Street Journal editorial writers dubbed “Boehner's Obama Gamble.”


The setback would appear a clear victory for conservatives in Boehner's conference and in the Republican leadership. [Politico, 7/9/11]

Limbaugh And Other Conservative Media Figures Previously Cheered On Default

Bolling: “I Say Let Them Default.” As a guest co-host on Fox & Friends, Eric Bolling told Stuart Varney, “I say let them default. ... What's going to happen?” Varney replied, “Armageddon's going to happen.” From the April 13 edition of Fox & Friends:

VARNEY: There's a great danger in that. As you approach this deadline, if you're even talking about default, as even a possibility, a remote possibility, you really spook the world's money people. You really spook them.

BOLLING: I say let them default.

VARNEY: Really?

BOLLING: Let them go. What's going to happen?

VARNEY: You're a brave guy.

BOLLING: What's going to happen?

VARNEY: Armageddon's going to happen.

BOLLING: How is it going to be Armageddon? Let's talk about that for a second.

VARNEY: OK. If we fail to allow ourselves to borrow any more money --

BOLLING: I know the process. And then everyone raises their hands and says, “Oh my God, the U.S. is going to default.” Well -- where are they going to go? If the U.S. defaults, every other country in the world is going to default, too.

VARNEY: We're paying out --

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): That sounds like Armageddon.

VARNEY: We're paying out -- yeah, exactly.

BOLLING: My point is they're going to get the -- the theory that let's let it go and see what happens -- I like it. I like it. Because we could default and then get the spending under control. Get everything we want in default. It's -- for my -- for my dollar, let them go. Let them get to the point where --

KILMEADE: We can't get a credit card for seven years after that. As a country.

BOLLING: We'll get it the next day. China will be on our doorsteps saying, when can we give you money again?

VARNEY: You think?

BOLLING: Yeah, I do.

VARNEY: OK. If you don't allow us to borrow any more money, you've got $350 billion every month going out and only $200 billion coming in.

BOLLING: That's got to stop. That will force it to stop. That will guarantee --

VARNEY: So you've got an immediate $150 billion cut every month.

BOLLING: That will guarantee in order for it to come out of default, you have to stop spending. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/13/11]

Limbaugh: “All [Defaulting] Means Is We Won't Be Able To Borrow Anymore.” From the April 20 edition of Limbaugh's radio show:

LIMBAUGH: Here's the point, it's a scare tactic. It really isn't possible, there is always money coming in. The government can count on tax revenue from any number of sources and activities, there will always be money coming in. They can always print money. This default business is a straw dog, it's a straw man they're throwing out there to you. You want to know what the actual manifestations of an official default would be --

CALLER: Yeah, absolutely. Because, I mean, just looking in recent history, we were listening to the media and they're talking about how bad a government shutdown would be --

LIMBAUGH: It just -- all it means is we won't be able to borrow anymore. That's all it means. All it means is we have to live within our means.

CALLER: Well I don't think that would be too bad then.

LIMBAUGH: No, it's not. You know, the whole business -- I shocked a lot of people yesterday when I said not raising the debt limit is an option. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/20/11]

Hannity: “I Just Don't Have The Great Fear” That Potential Default “Is Going To Be A Calamity.” From the April 21 edition of Sean Hannity's Fox News show:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The real issue here is this, what should the Republicans demand in return for the debt limit? And what I think the Republicans ought to be doing right now, the House and the Senate leadership in the week or two between now and decision day, or at least when they're going to have to come back and talk about it, is to find one proposal, a single one, not eight or 10, a range here to there, that everybody agrees on and says, here's what we want in return for the debt limit. And I think it should be something really strong like a spending cap that could require a super majority to overturn, something like that. You are not going to get something revolutionary. But you've got to start with that.

HANNITY: I don't know what's worse though in my mind. I'm getting so concerned about these numbers. You know, is it worse that we default now and get our budget balanced or that America keeps continually taking on trillion in debts? It is a dangerous scenario evidenced by the S&P this week. And I just don't have the great fear that others do that this is going to be a calamity.

KRAUTHAMMER: No, I think in the end, if you don't raise it, it will be a calamity. We are the number one currency, the reserve currency in the world. It gives us tremendous advantages. If there's any default even for an hour that will undo 100 years of reliability. You don't want to do that. And politically, again, if you're seen as irresponsible - you always have to look at it from the ordinary American, the centrist American, the independent who's in the middle of the road. If the Republicans are seen as irresponsible, they are going to lose in 2012 and you are going to have six years of this and we are really going over a cliff. You have to keep your eye on the prize.

HANNITY: That's a frightening scenario. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/21/11]