GOP can’t seem to learn

He’s the biggest sensation in the U.K. since Susan Boyle. He trounced the competition in winning the big prize on “Britain’s Got Talent.” And he accepted his £500,000 award on all fours.

Meet Pudsey, the Border Collie, Bichon Frise and Chinese Crested cross-mix — aka mutt — who wowed the judges and took Britain by storm with an amazing display of walking on his hind legs, jumping through hoops and even dancing the Charleston.

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That’s the difference between a dog and House Republicans. You can teach a dog tricks. Apparently, you can’t teach a House Republican anything. They just can’t seem to learn.

As we discovered with Paul Ryan’s budget, for example. Last year, all but four House Republicans voted for the Ryan plan to end Medicare and Medicaid as they now exist and slash programs for the poor, while expanding tax cuts for the rich. His plan never got off the ground, but it turned out to be a political disaster.

Once back home in their districts, Republicans were so clobbered by outraged constituents anxious about losing Medicare and Medicaid that they returned to Washington and abandoned the Ryan plan. You’d think they’d have learned their lesson. But oh, no. This year Republicans turned around and adopted almost the very same plan, only worse.

And now, led by John Boehner, Republicans are displaying the same ignorance — and arrogance — on the debt ceiling. Who can forget last year’s debacle? Even though raising the debt ceiling so the United States can pay its bills was never before a partisan issue — Ronald Reagan did it 18 times; George W. Bush, seven — House Republicans refused to allow another increase without corresponding spending cuts to domestic programs.

For Republicans, another public-relations disaster. Experts predicted economic collapse. Credit agencies warned the United States would lose its top rating. The markets tanked. And crisis was only avoided when both sides agreed to creation of a supercommittee. When that failed, the “sequester” of $1.2 trillion in cuts split between defense and domestic programs kicked in — and now Republicans are trying to break that deal, too.

Once again, following such abject failure, you’d think Republicans would have learned something. But oh, no. Speaker Boehner is now throwing the same temper tantrum by threatening to shut down the government and hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to drastic new domestic spending cuts — and, of course, another extension of the Bush tax cuts. Even though the current four Republican leaders — Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and Kyl — combined to vote for increases in the debt ceiling 19 times under President George W. Bush. 

Boehner’s just playing a dangerous game of politics with the debt ceiling, and Americans know it. According to Gallup, after last year’s pitiful performance, Congress’s approval rating sank to a low of 10 percent. This year, Boehner seems determined to get it down to zero.

Press hosts the nationally syndicated “Bill Press Show” and “Full Court Press” on Current TV.