Friday, September 25, 2015

Bye-Bye, Boehner


This morning at the Values Voter Summit, when Marco Rubio announced that Boehner was resigning from the speakership and leaving Congress on October 30, the very right-wing audience broke out into raucous applause that they were getting rid of a mainstream conservative. This is a manifestation of the full-scale civil war being played out inside a truly nihilistic and dysfunctional Republican Party. 

Boehner and the other Republican leaders couldn't "stop Obama," so they were vilified by the self-serving ad sellers at Hate Talk Radio, the self-serving extremists trying to "crash the gates" within the party-- think Ted Cruz more than anyone-- and the base-with-the-ring-in-its-nose. Not all the Boehner protagonists are being as gracious as Justin Amash, who tweeted:
@SpeakerBoehner, we've had our differences, but I will miss you and our many heartfelt conversations in your office. Thank you for serving.
Many of these Republicans are sick and deranged people. Take a look:

Boehnerland is claiming he's stepping down because he "believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution" and he never wanted to serve this long anyway and only stayed as speaker because Eric Cantor was ousted by Virginia psychopaths last year. Doesn't quite ring true, does it? Especially when a spokesperson for extremists at Heritage told Fox's Chad Pergram within minutes of the leak that Boehner was leaving: "Americans deserve a Congress that fights for opportunity for all and favoritism to none... Boehner has stood in the way."

Mainstream conservatives in the House GOP conference are furious, and are, after all, still a functioning majority among House Republicans. NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Frank Thorpe tweeted:
Many House GOPers are leaving the GOP conference mtg where Boehner announced retirement visible shaken, some with tears in their eyes.
Later he said Boehner himself wouldn't answer reporters' question and just said, "It's a wonderful day." According to ABC News, some Boehnerland sources are claiming that the Pope inspired Boehner "to do what was best for Congress."

The Washington Post's Robert Costa had a good idea this was going to happen after the Pope spoke yesterday. He reported today that he "had heard rumors from several members that Boehner was mulling retirement and that, as a devout Catholic, he privately saw the pope’s congressional visit, which he had orchestrated, as a fitting denouement to his long political career." So he waited to speak with Boehner last in the day.

“The pope, he comes up the steps right there. He comes right here,” Boehner said, pointing down at my feet. “Right here? I asked. “Right here!” Boehner said, smiling. “Right here. When he gets here, there are all of these kids he is going to bless.

And you know how I get.”

“You start crying?” I ask.

Boehner shoots me a look as if that is obvious.

“So. So, the pope puts his arm around my left arm,” Boehner said as he pulls my arm up to his shoulder. Boehner was now fully committed to acting it out. “Hold on, hold on,” he said as I pulled my arm away. “Let me finish. The pope says to me, ‘Please pray for me.’”

“Please pray for me,” Boehner said as he dipped his head. “He said, ‘Please pray for me.’”

Boehner stood there for another 10 seconds, not saying a word, his hands at his sides, and then turned sharply toward his security detail, the now open doors and a shimmering sunset on Capitol Hill.
While everyone waited for Texas fascist Ted Cruz to make a statement on his victory, he was busy quipping to the Values Voters conclave that President Obama's meeting with Xi Jinping is a meeting "between the world's most powerful communist and the president of China." He then moved on to talking about Hillary Clinton going to prison. As Long Island conservative Peter King told reporters, Boehner's resignation "is a victory for the crazies."

Donna Edwards hit the nail on the head before any other Democrats:

People for the American Way's press release stressed the danger of Republican Party dysfunction.
John Boehner’s resignation should put any doubts to rest that the inmates are running the asylum in today’s GOP. Throughout his career, John Boehner has been radically anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-worker and anti-regulation. At his party’s behest, he’s spent his time as Speaker taking dozens of votes to repeal Obamacare, launching frivolous lawsuits against the President, slashing the social safety net and blocking efforts at meaningful immigration reform. The fact that he’s resigning in order to avoid a coup precipitated by the idea that he’s ‘too moderate’ would be funny if it weren’t so frightening. Ultimately, it’s clear that John Boehner’s greatest sin wasn’t that he was too moderate, but that he tried to be a grown-up in a party that demands petulance and temper tantrums as its agenda for governing. Boehner tried to lead the party of Reagan. He got fired by the party of Trump.
And the progressive Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat in Boehner's home state of Ohio said: 
Boehner’s surprise announcement is proof positive of just how dysfunctional the Republican-controlled House has become. By any reasonable measure, Boehner is a conservative’s conservative. But that wasn’t enough for the extreme right-wingers who think that stamping their feet and shutting down the government when they don’t get their way is sound government policy. I don’t often agree with Speaker Boehner on the issues. But at least he was adult enough to know not only that compromise isn’t a dirty word, but that its the only way to get things done in a democracy. 
Harry Reid saw it the same way. He announced on the Seante floor right after Boehner's announcement: "By ousting a good man like Speaker Boehner-- someone who understood the art of compromise-- the party of Eisenhower and Reagan is no more."

Meanwhile on the fringes of the far right, FreedomWorks was already dancing on Boehner's grave. The current fuehrer of the group, Adam Brandon, announced:
This is an example of grassroots politics at it's best and is a huge victory for the House Freedom Caucus. This is one of the greatest changes that's happened in Washington. The old go along get along ways are over because people realize that kicking the can down the road doesn't work. At the beginning of the year, conservatives were mocked for trying to oust Boehner from the speakership. Now we see that punishing principled members didn't work. This brings a new era of Members being responsive to their constituents and upholding their promises. Speaker Boehner was not responsive to what activists wanted, and it shows through the terrible approval ratings of Congress. We need a new speaker that represents the entire caucus, not just the special interests in Washington. At the beginning of the year, and again over the past several months, our activists have been bombarding Congress asking their representatives to oust Boehner from the speakership. This is because of them, and whoever becomes the new speaker needs to keep this in mind. Washington is run by the people, not politicians and special interests.
Or, as Eric Boehlert pointed out perceptively on Twitter this morning: "Gingrich, Livingston, Hastert, Boehner-- fired, resigned, indicted, resigned." 

Remember, the lunatics at the Freedom Caucus had the power-- under the circumstances of Boehner's religious epiphany and alcoholism and exhaustion-- to push him out of the speaker's chair, but they don't have the power to put one of their own psychopaths into that chair. You're not going to see a Speaker Webster, a Speaker Yoho or Speaker Mulvaney on Halloween. So what will they do when the next speaker, probably Boehner protégé Kevin McCarthy (in a California district that is demographically growing increasingly dangerous for GOP politicians), can't defund Planned Parenthood, deport 11 million Hispanics or abolish Obamacare either?

Keep in mind that House GOP Whip Steve Scalise has already announced he's running for McCarthy's job, majority leader, which means that he expects McCarthy to become speaker. This would mean that the Republican majority leader will be a full-on white supremacist. Amazing!

Meanwhile, Boehner canceled a scheduled press conference and opted for a typically banal-- albeit emotional-- personal statement instead:
My mission every day is to fight for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government. Over the last five years, our majority has advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children. I am proud of what we have accomplished.

The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution that we all love. It was my plan to only serve as Speaker until the end of last year, but I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House. It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution. To that end, I will resign the Speakership and my seat in Congress on October 30.

"Today, my heart is full with gratitude for my family, my colleagues, and the people of Ohio’s Eighth District. God bless this great country that has given me-- the son of a bar owner from Cincinnati-- the chance to serve.

UPDATE: More Reactions

Donald Trump at the Values Voter Summit, where he was loudly booed for calling Rubio a clown: "Republicans need to read The Art of the Deal if they want to win."

Nastily, Ted Cruz said that Boehner will "presumably land in a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities."

Charlie Dent (R-PA), a mainsteam conservative congressman, said:
The next speaker is going to have a very tough job. The fundamental dynamics don’t change... It’s clear to me that the rejectionist members of our conference clearly had an influence on his decision. 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. The dynamics are this: There are anywhere from two to four dozen members who don’t have an affirmative sense of governance. They can’t get to yes. They just can’t get to yes, and so they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead. And not only do they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead, but they undermine the entire Republican conference and also help to weaken the institution of Congress itself. That’s the reality. Now, if we have a new speaker, is there going to be an epiphany? They won’t be happy if it’s Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy, who will have to make accommodations with a Democratic president and the Senate constituted the way it is.
Nancy Pelosi, privately: "God knows what’s next over there. Coming from earthquake country, this is a big one."

John McCain: "It means that it’s in disarray. Basically, he has been unseated. And that’s not good for the Republican Party."

Erick Erickson, extremely right-wing Georgia blogger: "Boehner’s problem is that he held more and more of his own party in the House in contempt. In the end, it wasn’t just the conservatives who felt shut out and unable to do business with Boehner. Everyone else did to. So Boehner had to go."

A Koch brothers-owned Kansas reactionary congressman, Tim Huelskamp: "Today the establishment lost."

Ted Yoho, who hopes to replace Boehner: "I am really excited and ecstatic about this. It couldn't be a better day politically for us."

Steve Stockman, who was once implicated in the Oklahoma City bombing but never charged as an accomplice: "It looks like Christmas is coming early this year: Speaker Boehner to resign from Congress in October."

Florida congressman and Senate candidate David Jolly: "The honor of Boehner stands in sharp contrast to the self-service idiocy of our party who seek to... divide us."

Dow Jones Industrial Average: +113.35

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At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

"Gingrich, Livingston, Hastert, Boehner-- fired, resigned, indicted, resigned."

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Mf Lehman said...

"The dynamics are this: There are anywhere from two to four dozen members who don’t have an affirmative sense of governance. They can’t get to yes. They just can’t get to yes, and so they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead. And not only do they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead, but they undermine the entire Republican conference and also help to weaken the institution of Congress itself."

Charlie Dent is spot on. And the weakening of the institution of Congress is not a bug, it's a goal. After all, these people are like the Nazis in the Reichstag: they are members of a democratic institution when they do not themselves believe in democracy. They represent people who will not be politically satisfied until Congress and Washington cease to exist.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Til they ditch the idiotic Hastert rule, they will be unable to govern

At 3:41 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

They'll never be able to govern as long as the Kochs and other fascist billionaires pull the strings.

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the subject of Ted Cruz - can we stop pretending he's an anti-establishment politician? His wife is a former Goldman Sachs VP and they gave like $70k to his Senate campaign (and those are the contributions we know about). If Howie is right and we end up with a Cruz/Fiorina R ticket then you bet they'll shower him with more money.


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