Boehner strikes back at Dems for political 'sideshow'

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) struck back at Democrats Thursday morning, accusing them of diversionary tactics that are "the oldest trick in Washington's book."

In a fiery op-ed in the Washington Post, Boehner accused Democrats and, in particular, the White House of seeking to distract the public from the issues facing the country by creating a political sideshow focused on conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. "In a carefully calculated campaign, operatives and allies of the Obama administration are seeking to divert attention toward radio host Rush Limbaugh, and away from a debate about our alternative solutions on the economy and the irresponsible spending binge they are presiding over. This diversionary tactic will not create a single job or help a single family struggling in today's economic crisis. And that is where our focus should be"

And, in perhaps the most sharply worded passage in the editorial, Boehner accused the President Obama and his staff of going back on his campaign rhetoric. "President Obama has said that we must change the way Washington operates in order to address the unprecedented challenges of today," Boehner said. "I hope that those inside and close to the administration begin heeding his advice, because the change-the-subject campaign they are employing is the oldest trick in Washington's book."

Boehner's criticism, though, isn't entirely political. The Democrats, with the $787 billion economic stimulus package and the president's $3.55 trillion budget outline, are spending too much. "In the first two months of 2009," he wrote, "the Democratic Congress and the White House have spent more money than the combined cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the response to Hurricane Katrina."

Finally, Boehner concluded by saying that Democrat should stop trying to shift the focus away from the substantive problems facing the country. "Something is wrong when the discourse in Washington is more focused on a political sideshow than, say, the fact that Congress is attempting to terminate a school choice program that serves thousands of needy children in the District of Columbia, or the impact of a presidential budget that raises taxes on millions of Americans during a recession," he said.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com