Back in November 2010, just after the Republicans had won their new majority in the House, newly christened House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was asked at a press conference about the impending need to raise the country’s debt ceiling and whether new Republicans would have difficulty casting that vote. Boehner’s response was responsible:
BOEHNER: I’ve made it pretty clear to them that, as we get into next year, it’s pretty clear that Congress is going to have to deal with this. We’re going to have to deal with it as adults. Whether we like it or not the federal government has obligations, and we have obligations on our part.
Six months later, with the debt ceiling fight imminent, Boehner delivered a very different message in a speech to the Economic Club of New York:
BOEHNER: So let me be as clear as I can be. Without significant spending cuts and changes in the way we spend the American people’s money, there will be no debt limit increase. And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.
Nor is Boehner alone in trying to use the critical nature of the debt ceiling — and the implied threat of a default should the votes not be there to raise it — to force the legislature and the president to acquiesce to a radical budget agenda. In the last few months, one Republican after another has sought to exploit the debt ceiling vote in a similar manner, piling up a list of demands on everything from massive spending cuts to entitlement cuts to a balanced budget amendment. ThinkProgress has compiled a video of the Republicans’ rather strange definition of what constitutes “dealing with it as adults.” Watch it: