House Speaker John Boehner: Take This Job and Shove It!
John Boehner (R-OH) dropped an unexpected political bombshell today, by announcing he will step down from his leadership post as Speaker of the House and resign his seat in the 114th Congress, where he has served for 24 years.
At first glance, this announcement might seem like a moment to rejoice for many, especially those of us who value having a functioning government. After all, Rep. Boehner has come to personify the monkey wrench of political gridlock at its very worst, by essentially refusing to govern, threatening repeatedly to shut down the federal government (succeeding for a 19-day stretch), and blockading virtually every piece of legislation supported by President Obama. It’s not just that Rep. Boehner has been an obstructionist since he assumed the Speaker role in 2011, swept into the pinnacle of congressional power by Tea Party extremists among Republicans. Far worse, he’s refused to compromise in a desperately divided institution which requires deal making and demands concessions as the very fabric of its existence.
Fact is, the far-Right doesn’t want to govern at all. They don’t want a functioning government that works. Many Republicans are determined to do whatever they can (including a total shutdown in order to to block federal funding for the womens’ health organization, Planned Parenthood) to stymie the duties and responsibilities of federal agencies — that is, except for the bloated military and intelligence bureaucracies who always get a blank check. Then, when government doesn’t function nearly as well as it should, bug-eyed conservatives point their fingers and say — “look, see, we told you government doesn’t work.”
Incredibly, Rep. Boehner wasn’t enough of a regressive die-hard for most conservatives. Because he’s tried to occasionally seek out ways to get things done in a city where Democrats constitute a majority of the positions of power, he’s often been called a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only), which translated actually means a leader who exhibits sporadic flashes of independent thought and refuses to be hostage to a group of firebrand fanatics. This shameful denigration has taken place despite Rep. Boehner’s 87 percent lifetime voting grade from the ultra-Right American Conservative Union, and a 100 percent rating from the anti-abortion group known as the Right to Life Committee. Only in the Republican Party nowadays can an elected official get grades of 87 and 100 from the hardliners, and still not be considered conservative enough on the issues. It’s not just baffling. It’s become bat shit crazy.
One suspects that in private Rep. Boehner is a kind and decent person. His frequent tearful displays of emotion have surely made him the brunt of jokes, which is really too bad given this is someone who obviously views public service as a noble virtue and takes civic responsibility seriously. His crying in public, his orange hue, and even his widely-reported drinking habits have all come under intense scrutiny, and not just from the Left, but with increasing frequency from the Right — none of which has anything at all to do with any of the problems facing our country.
Abandoned by many members of his own party for even suggesting that the legislative and executive branches of government should try and work together, Rep. Bohner finally had enough. He didn’t exactly use the words, “take this job and shove it,” but he might as well have, for that was the clear message to the cabal that’s hijacked Capitol Hill.
One can get a better political read on the situation simply by closely examining those who cheered Rep. Boehner’s resignation the loudest. Reportedly, “at the Family Research Council’s ‘Values Voter Summit,’ which was taking place just a few blocks from the Capitol, many jumped to their feet and cheered when (it was) announced that Mr. Boehner was resigning.” [READ MORE HERE] Basically, the Family Research Council is a sort of Christian Taliban, as it opposes marriage equality, women’s rights, all forms of vice including gambling, and specializes in defaming anything construed as “anti-family. There’s also the Tea Party, which has been bullying congressional leadership like bratty 4th-graders ever since they hijacked the political process of reasonable discourse a decade ago. An offshoot of the Tea Party which calls itself “FreedomWorks” even went so far to take “credit” for the House Speaker’s surprising resignation. [READ MORE HERE]
At some point in the future, John Boehner–the private citizen will come clean and air the dirty laundry of what happened behind the scenes during these recent years when compromise somehow became a detestable concept even within his own party. He’ll probably even write a tell-all book exposing the cogs who clog up the machinery of progress. And some people within government are going to look both petty and ugly.
Then, there’s the much bigger issue of what comes next, especially in the gridlocked Congress. One rare voice of reason appears to be Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) who sees what’s coming for the person selected to replace the current Speaker of the House. “The next speaker is going to have a very tough job. The fundamental dynamics don’t change,” he said. Moreover, there’s this to ponder:
Mr. Dent said there was “a lot of sadness in the room” when Mr. Boehner made his announcement to colleagues. He blamed the hard-right members, who he said were unwilling to govern. “It’s clear to me that the rejectionist members of our conference clearly had an influence on his decision,” Mr. Dent said. “That’s why I’m not happy about what happened today. We still have important issues to deal with, and this will not be easier for the next guy.” [READ MORE HERE]
So, you think the situation was already bad with Rep. John Bohner in charge of things? Well, just wait. The impasse that is Washington is about to get worse, and with Republicans falling all over themselves to appease the far-Right fringe of Obama-bashing, Trump loving lunatics in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, any notion of compromise leading to efficient government is next to impossible.
We have conservatives to thank, err make that to blame, that politics and governance has come to such a disgraceful state of affairs.
POSTSCRIPT: Sure enough, just a few days after resigning, Rep. Boehner blasted the far-Right as what he called “false prophets” for pushing an agenda which is “unrealistic.” [READ MORE HERE]