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Jun 25 2013

Feeling Bad for John Boehner

I had a conversation with someone after House speaker John Boehner failed to pass the farm bill because of a revolt of the most right-wing legislators in his party. And I said that as much of a schmuck as Boehner is, I feel sorry for him. His job is simply impossible.

Opposition was bipartisan. Almost all Democrats voted no because they opposed the food stamp cuts. But 60 Republicans also voted against the bill, mostly because it didn’t cut enough.

This is another demonstration of the impossible hand that Speaker John Boehner is playing. He wants his caucus to pass alternatives to Democratic policy proposals from the Senate. But the conservative wing of his caucus places high demands and is willing to vote against leadership-backed proposals.

The GOP used to be nearly legendary for its ability to whip its own caucus. Not anymore. The Tea Party movement brought a wave of legislators into office who can’t be controlled. I’m sure that’s why Eric Cantor didn’t even bother mounting a challenge to Boehner when the new congress was sworn in. He knows it’s an impossible job and he doesn’t want it. It’s just another example of why the Tea Party movement, while it helped fuel the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, has become the tail that wags the dog and thus a big problem for the GOP.

27 comments

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  1. 1
  2. 2
    slc1

    The inmates ere running the asylum.

  3. 3
    Who Knows?

    I don’t feel the least bit sorry for John Boehner. He’s pandered long and hard to get where he is and if it sucks, too bad for him.

  4. 4
    Draken

    slc1: This?

  5. 5
    dingojack

    How does one become House Speaker? Imagine all the terrible legislation that would get passed if one of those teabaggers slipped into the Speaker’s seat!
    Be afraid America, be very, very afraid.
    Dingo

  6. 6
    slc1

    Re Draken @ #4

    Not available in the USA.

  7. 7
    Kevin

    @1: The country is fucked.

    Sadly, this exact scenario is being played out in statehouses everywhere. The radical “no-tax” lunatics are running the show.

    They’re demolishing education, health care, any kind of program that actually helps people. They’re refusing to invest in infrastructure while at the same time giving tax breaks to the wealthiest.

    And the saddest part is that they’ll be re-elected, because they tap into fear and bigotry and tribalism. It’s all about whatever dog-whistle issue that can be ginned up to get the terrified old bigots to the polls.

    It’s Karl Rove’s lasting legacy. He’s the architect of this brand of scorched-earth politics. He’s a traitor who has done more damage to the American political system than all of the terrorists have ever accomplished with all their bombs and wars.

    No. The GOP isn’t fucked. They’ll keep getting re-elected. And they’ll keep damaging the country. Eating away at it from the inside like a greedy parasite. And they’ll do it while sitting on piles and piles of money from the privileged asswipes who are getting precisely what they want from their toxic confederation.

  8. 8
    d.c.wilson

    It’s hard to work up any sympathy for Boehner. True, his job is impossible, but he’s not much of a leader either. Time and again, he could have cut deals and passed a bipartisan budget agreement, but he clung to the Hastert rule knowing full well that anything the teabagger morons would support would be both devastating to the country and impossible to reconcile with the Senate. He chose nihilism as a governing philosophy over bipartisanship and he’s now reaping the rewards,

  9. 9
    dingojack

    SLC – The ‘Jon Stewart’ Curse’ comes around to bite you!
    ‘Ha Ha’ [/Nelson Muntz]
    Dingo

  10. 10
    dingojack

    SLC – Try here.
    Dingo

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    It’s God’s fault that John Boehner is still speaker of the House

    After Boehner’s fiscal cliff negotiations rankled many Republicans in the House, talk turned to possibly replacing the Ohio Republican. But, according to a report published online Monday in the Washington Post, the effort “quickly fell apart when several Republicans, after a night of prayer, said God told them to spare the speaker.”

  12. 12
    cptdoom

    But Ed, you missed the most pathetic part of the farm bill fiasco – both Cantor and Boehner blaming Democrats for not supporting the bill enough. Even a die-hard teabagger has to see that blaming the minority party for not supporting your legislation is pretty sad.

  13. 13
    Reginald Selkirk

    You’ve got it backwards. Boehner is not the victim, he’s the problem. According to the NationalJournal.
    Republicans: Boehner’s to Blame for GOP’s Foot-in-Mouth Disease

    GOP lawmakers, strategists, and insiders say Boehner and House leadership are enabling foot-in-mouth disease by allowing divisive social issues to reemerge at a time when Republicans were finally winning the daily messaging war against a controversy-plagued White House.

    Yeah, it’s all his fault those wacky Republicans say wacky things.

  14. 14
    Chiroptera

    …I feel sorry for him. His job is simply impossible.

    Yeah, well, when a person is bitten on the ass by the very evil that he actively encouraged, then I’m much less likely to feel sorry for him.

  15. 15
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    I second Chiroptera’s comment. The TPers are a wholly owned subset of the Republican party. The fact that they are out of control can be directly tied to the fact that they were encouraged, cynically, by the Repub. hierarchy. Tough shit. I hope the TPers continue to destroy the Republican brand.

    You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.
    http://www.englishclub.com/ref/esl/Sayings/Quizzes/Badness/They_that_sow_the_wind_shall_reap_the_whirlwind_840.htm

  16. 16
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Kevin #7 –

    Sadly, this exact scenario is being played out in statehouses everywhere. The radical “no-tax” lunatics are running the show.

    We are seeing this in Washington State right now.

    Our legislature passes a two-year budget every odd year, in the first session after legislative elections. The budget has been cut down to almost nothing, thanks to Washington’s regressive reliance on sales taxes (we have no state income tax), the crumbling economy, and the Democrats’ obsession with giving discounts in our business and occupation tax to all and sundry in a vain effort to attract business. (A state Department of Revenue report in 2012 documented $96 billion — yes, with a B — in potential revenues lost to tax breaks every biennium, up from only $64 billion in the 2004 report.)

    After this last election, two Democrats elected to the state Senate turned coat and joined the Republican caucus, giving them a one seat majority. The Senate has refused to pass any kind of a budget this year, leading to an imminent shut-down of state services. State workers are already getting lay-off notices: more than half of the state’s prison guards, all of the community corrections officers (who oversee parolees and registered sex offenders), the men and women who maintain infrastructure such as highways and bridges, forestry workers, social workers, clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles… all in all, 34 departments will have to cease operations entirely unless the Senate GOP majority says otherwise.

    The problem is, state Republicans have wanted to eliminate the forestry department and the Department of Health and Social Services and all the rest for years. Now that the Tea Party is in effective control of state government, they are getting their wish, and it ain’t pretty.

  17. 17
    busterggi

    Democractic leaders herd cats.

    Boehner herds Krazy Kats.

  18. 18
    Abby Normal

    I’ve pitied John Boehner long before now. I mean every morning he wakes up and he’s got to be John Boehner. There but for the grace of a cold and unfeeling universe, and half a brain, go I.

  19. 19
    Gretchen

    How does one become House Speaker? Imagine all the terrible legislation that would get passed if one of those teabaggers slipped into the Speaker’s seat!

    You assume that teabaggers would pass legislation by one of their own. Why?

  20. 20
    naturalcynic

    Please allow me to introduce myself
    I’m a man of wealth and taste
    I’ve been around for a long, long year
    Stole many a mans soul and faith

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name
    But what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game

    Somehow this popped into my head when I read the headline. Thank you Mick & Keith

  21. 21
    Renee

    Dems don’t want cuts, but the GOPers want MORE?
    I hate the GOP so much. I wish they all had to live on our “welfare” system for a decade, and work minimum wage jobs.

  22. 22
    imthegenieicandoanything

    I feel so sorry for him that he can fuck off and die. Now.

  23. 23
    corkscrew

    There’s a brilliant metaphor on this subject from the NY Times:

    Attempts to avert the infamous “fiscal cliff” are like a super-high-stakes card game. But you have to imagine a game in which one player needs to go into a back room before he makes his bet and get the approval of a herd of rabid ferrets. That would be Speaker John Boehner.

  24. 24
    Michael Heath

    I have little pity for Speaker Boehner. The fact is that while the Tea Party is uncontrollable, the entire GOP is monolithically opposed to pro-science/reality policies and pro-economic growth policies.

    While the Tea Party is one of the two* zaniest wings of the GOP, the conservative-libertarians which overlap with the Tea Partiers being the other, even supposedly sane Republicans like Mitt Romney and Speaker Boehner are all for denying policies to reduce the threat of AGW, obstructing economic expert advice, I repeat myself, rather then ideologically-friendly talking points, and opposing equal rights for all Americans – including GBLTs, Muslims, Hispanics, blacks, and us ‘nones’.

    The Tea Party’s not merely the tail wagging the dog, the whole dog’s gone Kujo and we should never forget that.

    *This presumes Tea Partiers are conservative Christians, otherwise we’d have three wingnut groups to reference here.

  25. 25
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    He helped make this bed. He can smoke in it.

  26. 26
    democommie

    I’ll feel sorry for Senaturd Boner when, well, never. Fuck him.

  27. 27
    thebookofdave

    C’mon Ed. If you can’t have SNAP benefits or a decent farm bill, the least you can do is enjoy the schadenfreude. It’s all you’re going to get out of this.

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