He opted to try what he called Plan B to avert the coming tax cataclysm and regain some leverage in the White House discussions. Somewhere along the line, things went terribly wrong for the Speaker and his plan failed in spectacular fashion. His party abandoned him. Plan B did nothing to avert the cliff and in the process, Boehner sacrificed all of his leverage with the President.
Thanks to the crack hackers at MSRP, we have for you the inside story of what brought Boehner to the fateful decision to try Plan B. Full disclosure: some of the conversations may be graphic.
Boehner enters House basement meeting room. He looks disheveled and visibly upset.
Eric Cantor: John, what’s wrong? You look awful. How was your meeting with the President?
Boehner: It’s…it’s hard to talk about. (sitting down) We were getting along pretty well. He made some attractive offers, we had some beers. I tried to say no to his advances, but he was so insistent, so strong. I felt like he wasn’t respecting me, like he was using me to get what he wanted. Then before I knew it, we were together at the table and…and…I think I got screwed.
Cantor (audibly gasps): John, you poor man. Just remember, you did nothing wrong. You are the victim. No means no, and even though he’s the President, he has got to respect that. Can you talk about it?
Boehner (gently sobbing): It started off as a quiet evening of negotiations, and now I feel totally violated. I can hear his voice over and over saying, “I’ve got political capital, baby, and I’m gonna use it!” (He pauses) But that’s not the worst part.
Cantor: You can tell me, John.
Boehner: I think he slipped me his fiscal plan. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Cantor: You went into negotiations with Obama without Congressional protection? Are you insane?
Boehner: I know. I was stupid. He was so likable, I fell for his romantic talk about “balanced approaches”, “discipline” and “stimulus”. He is a really good speaker. I thought he’d pull out of negotiations in time. I guess he couldn’t hold on any longer.
Cantor (becoming agitated, glaring at Boehner): You aren’t considering bringing his demon seed fiscal plan to term, are you? He forced himself on you, against your will. You should not have to live with that mistake for the rest of your political life. You’ve got to do something. (Whispering) This needs to be handled.
Boehner: But what can I do?
Cantor: Ever heard of Plan B?
Boehner: You mean the morning after bill?
Cantor: Yes. You could always resort to Plan B and that will abort Obama’s fiscal plan safely and effectively. You know, you should have taken Plan B before you met with him alone. It works even before intimate negotiations result in the implant of unplanned fiscal ideas in you.
Boehner: I thought it was too late.
Cantor: Not yet. You have to introduce Plan B within 72 hours of unprotected negotiations, and remember, if the idea of tax increases is already pregnant inside you, it won’t work. Plan B isn’t a retroactive legislative abortive. John, your choices are limited now. You’ve got to try something.
Boehner: Are there side effects to Plan B?
Cantor: Well, just a few but it could be worth it compared to a lifetime of caring for Obama’s fiscal plan. In some cases, you could experience nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, menstrual changes, dizziness, breast tenderness, vomiting and diarrhea. Really nothing different than you experience every day when dealing with the GOP House caucus. Of course, there’s bloating. There is always bloating.
Boehner: Anything else?
Cantor: You may bleed support for your leadership role, but the bleeding should slow before the next period of Congress begins in January. I’ll put it this way – if you are bleeding support from the House GOP caucus, then Plan B didn’t work, and you’ll have to live with the consequences.
Cantor: You’ll need to ask the GOP caucus in the House. They run the pharmacy, so to speak, and you’d better hope the Tea Party members are in a good mood.
Boehner: I don’t think they like me. Maybe I should tell them the Plan B isn’t for me. I could tell them it’s for a friend.
Cantor: You should get Obama to pay for it. It’s his fault you’re in this condition, John, not yours. Never forget that.
Boehner: Please don’t make me go back to the White House and face him. I’d rather just pay for Plan B myself and forget this whole mess ever happened.
Cantor: It’s your legislative body so that’s your choice.
Boehner: But what if Plan B doesn’t work?
Cantor: Then you’ll be the father of a bouncing baby Obama fiscal plan within 9 months. But don’t worry. Plan B is proven 99.6% effective, if the caucus gives it to you. Good luck with that.
Boehner: I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
Cantor: Next time, John, if there is a next time – don’t negotiate with the President without Congressional protection, or the necessary votes. If not, you might find yourself living with a mistake.
Boehner: Looks like I have no choice but to try Plan B and pray. If that fails, I’ll have to jump off a cliff.
UPDATE: In response to the release of this transcript, Obama’s office released a terse, two sentence statement:
“Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet, Boehner was asking for it. Negotiations with Speaker Boehner were consensual and we demand that the result of our negotiated union to be brought to full term.”