John Boehner Reflects On Congress, Tradition, Bottomless Assholery Of Ted Cruz
Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has a memoir coming out on April 13, and it looks to be exactly the sort of dishy, wine-sloshed pile of score-settling and bitchery anyone might wish for from the guy who cried at the sight of the Capitol dome and mulishly blocked any consideration of immigration reform after it had already passed the Senate. Politico ran an excerpt today, from a section on the arrival of the Congress of Nuts following the 2010 election that gave Republicans the House and Boehner the gavel. Big surprise: He's not terribly fond of the new breed of dinguses that have taken over the GOP from smiling country club thugs like him, the nice traditional Republicans who were willing to put up with a little bit of social program spending as long as corporations and the Defense Department got everything they wanted, as God intended.
We honestly don't intend to read the whole book, but we might shell out a few dollars for a collection of the audiobook outtakes where Boehner suddenly sets aside his script and curses Ted Cruz. Maybe those will be released separately.
When @SpeakerBoehner was recording his audiobook I was told by sources that during these wine-soaked sessions he wo… https://t.co/RxSafgyy3F— Jonathan Swan (@Jonathan Swan)1617377098.0
So, keeping in mind that Boehner is an amoral snake, but a sometimes charming one, let's take a look at this Politico excerpt!
Boehner starts out with an anecdote about how in 2010, "You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category." So since so many of the new kids arrived with torches and pitchforks to rescue America from Barack Obama, Boehner helpfully offered to hold a "little tutorial on governing." But he quickly realized they also considered him the enemy, because establishment Republicans sometimes compromised to get what they wanted.
To them, my talk of trying to get anything done made me a sellout, a dupe of the Democrats, and a traitor. Some of them had me in their sights from day one. They saw me as much of an "enemy" as the guy in the White House. Me, a guy who had come to the top of the leadership by exposing corruption and pushing conservative ideas. Now I was a "liberal collaborator." So that took some getting used to. What I also had not anticipated was the extent to which this new crowd hated—and I mean hated—Barack Obama.
Yes we are very sad for John Boehner, the last principled conservative, at least when he looks in the mirror. He laments that the obsessive hatred for Obama — which he never quite manages to call racism, because he's a gentleman — infected the brains of decent conservatives. The birtherism nonsense, he says, started with radio talker Mark Levin, who got such great ratings that "eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him."
And there's some goddamned disingenuous bullshit, Mr. Former Speaker. Rush Limbaugh started out in the fever swamps and didn't need to be dragged anywhere.
We also get some lovely, if self-serving, skewering of Michele Bachmann, who "made a name for herself as a lunatic" by spreading crazy anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Boehner is particularly annoyed that following the 2010 Wave of Loonification, Bachmann came to his office and demanded a seat on the Ways and Means Committee, even though she lacked the seniority and other people who "weren't wild-eyed crazies" had earned seats on it. Boehner's sense of tradition was clearly offended:
There was no way she was going to get on Ways and Means, the most prestigious committee in Congress, and jump ahead of everyone else in line. Not while I was Speaker. In earlier days, a member of Congress in her position wouldn't even have dared ask for something like this. Sam Rayburn would have laughed her out of the city.
But then Bachmann said she was perfectly happy to let Boehner witness the power of the fully operational rightwing media machine by aiming it right at him:
Her response to me was calm and matter-of-fact. "Well, then I'll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox," she said, "and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House."
I wasn't the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now.
She was right, of course.
Happily, he was able to fob her off on the Intelligence Committee instead, to the chagrin of its chair, Mike Rogers of Michigan. But once she started working on the committee, Rogers and Boehner were pleasantly surprised: In between her regular batshit appearances on Fox News, she worked hard and did just fine!
She showed up to the committee, did her homework, and ended up winning over her fellow members with her dedication. Mike Rogers was impressed—and I have to admit, so was I. The whole situation ended up working out well for everyone. As one of those old Boehnerisms goes, "Get the right people on the bus, and help them find the right seat."
Well that's a heck of a Boehnerism, which conveniently ignores everything that came before: Bachmann was manifestly not the right person, and Boehner only put her on the Intelligence Committee bus because he worried she'd one day climb aboard the Ways and Means bus wearing a dynamite vest and threatening to drive it off a cliff. That's dumb luck, not leadership.
There's more, including another fun swipe at freshman Sen. Guess Who (R-Texas), who annoyed Boehner far less with his political positions than for having indecorously come over from the Senate to cheerlead fellow bomb-throwers in the House:
Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn't hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn't even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me.
Poor John Boehner. All he wanted to do was keep Big Agribusiness happy and enjoy a peaceful round of golf now and then. Is it wine o'clock yet?
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