John Boehner: Bad Speaker or Worst Speaker?

John Boehnerby C. Edmund Wright   9/28/15
All you need to know about the failed speakership of John Boehner was exposed to the entire world by Boehner himself as he announced his resignation from Congress.  The what, the how, and the why of his failures were succinctly explained when he said, “The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution that we all love.”

Do what?  Well, no wonder he was a disaster as speaker.  He had no clue what the job description was.  In just 15 words, everything about his disastrous reign was brought into laser-sharp focus.  Never has someone so orange said so much with so few words and so many tears.  When you’re this out of touch and have abused this much power and wasted this many opportunities that have caused a nation great pain, there is no limit to the scorn you deserve.

And for the record, that “institution that we all love” comment may be the dumbest political statement since David Brooks proclaimed Barack Obama a great president on the strength of his pant crease.  It’s also a perfect bookend comment to some words he uttered through tears in November of 2010 as he was preparing to take the gavel without a clue what message the voters had just sent.

The salient point that Boehner made clear is that the country is here to serve the government.  The important people are those in government.  What else can his words possibly mean?  When he said “the institution that we all love” – it’s clear that we means the House of Cards Washington Cartel in the House.  For damned sure, no one else has any love for that institution.

No one this side of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood character has shown so much disdain for constituents while playing the Potomac game.

Boehner also was admitting to not knowing what his constitutional duties are.  The duty he saw as his first and most important duty – “to protect this institution” – is not even among his duties, let alone first.

In other words, for seven years we’ve had a president who despises the Constitution – and held in check (theoretically) only by a House speaker for five years who doesn’t understand what that document demands of him.  Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that?

And there’s no reason to doubt that Boehner sincerely thinks that protecting the institution was his “first duty.”  On the night it became evident he was going to have the speakership – election night 2010 – he gave a victory speech that was a harbinger of things to come under his leadership.  To be clear, no conservative expected great things from Boehner, but he has managed to fall far below even our lowest expectations.

It wasn’t the tears per se, even though they are what everyone remembers.  It was what was missing from that speech that was most foretelling.  To be precise, Boehner’s comments made two related notions painfully clear.  First is that the speaker in waiting had absolutely no idea what had transpired across the country to give his party majority power.  It was if he had been off campaigning on another planet – far, far away from a place known as the real world.

WTFThis, in fact, is more or less true.  Washington, where Boehner has spent most of the last 23 years, is an isolated planet of about eight counties with no resemblance to a nation subjected to the whims of those inside.  There was a big message sent by the voters in 2010, and Boehner’s brain apparently filed it under spam.  This was true of most or all of the Republican establishment.  They had no idea what was driving the mood of the public.  And they haven’t figured it out.  Until now, perhaps.  Perhaps.

It wasn’t always this way.  The John Boehner of 1994, as a freshman congressman, understood the times that led to the previous great GOP House victory, the Contract with America election.  Hell, he even helped write the CWA.  Ten years later, he was helping craft Karl Rove’s brainchild, the No Child Left Behind Act, with Ted Kennedy.  As if we needed it, this is more proof that the longer one is in Washington, the more vacuous one becomes.  The Boehner of today, and really of the last 10-11 years, bears no resemblance to the contractor entrepreneur who was first elected in a state that gave Clinton a big win over H.W. Bush in 1992.

And that leads us to point number two, which is that Boehner thought – yes, really thought – this was about him.  His tears were not tears of joy that President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi had been given an historic Obamacare-big-government-hell-no rebuke.  No, such tears would have been appropriate.  And that’s what 2010 was.

No, Boehner’s tears were about his personal journey, his rise from a small town in Ohio to the number-three position of power in the entire land.  It was tone-deaf and cringe-worthy, with or without the tears.  I remember thinking that night, John, dude, this is not about you!  But as he made clear yesterday, oh, yes it was in his mind.  It was all about John, and of course “the institution we all love.”

And just in case we missed it, he also demonstrated the same lack of awareness a couple months ago in a Golf Channel interview, where host David Feherty asked him about his goals, and Boehner replied, “Well, if you don’t shoot for the top, why shoot for anything?  So I set my goal to be speaker.”

And there you have it again.  Nothing about the country, or reducing government’s size, scope, cost, and power.  Nothing about that little document known as the Constitution.  Nothing even about being the “loyal opposition” to a far leftist radical party.  Nope.  Just a career goal – much like a stock broker in Manhattan answering the question “what’s your number?”

This leads to the point of why he’s the worst speaker ever.  He had the opportunity to be historically great.  He was an opposition speaker up against a failing president and Senate.  He had the perfect foils, a stumbling, weakened, and exposed Barack Obama and a Senate still run by the ancient weasel from Nevada.

He had the failure of Obamacare, the failure of stimulus, the failures in foreign policy, and the failings of big government in general to take advantage of.  He had the emergence of the Tea Party at his disposal.  He had the chance, and moreover, the obligation, to use the power and influence inherently in his possession to blunt and thwart the most radical, petty, and elitist president ever.  He could have saved hundreds of millions from the Obama-induced misery we now suffer.

He’s not the worst ever because of what he did; he’s the worst ever because of what he didn’t do, even as he was given tremendous opportunities.  It’s not that he tried and failed – this happens in Washington sometimes – it’s that he didn’t even try.  And he didn’t try because he had no situational awareness of what needed to be done and what the nation was clamoring for.  He didn’t have a clue what his job was even supposed to be, and he told us that in his own words and through his own inactions throughout his tenure.

He was indeed worse than Pelosi. She was horrible because she is who she is.  Any far-left Bay Area crony-connected statist would be a terrible speaker, or majority leader, or president.  There was no way for Pelosi to have a speakership that was good for the country, because none of what Pelosi and her party believes in is good for the country.  Frankly, she did in fact do what her party and voters elected her to do.  Boehner did not.  He ignored the mandate from the voters, was cowed by the Washington culture and Obama’s skin color, too worried about his own skin color, and spent his time and energy with back-room gamesmanship against conservative junior congressmen.

Who knew that Netflix’s House of Cards was really a true-to-life documentary?  We all do now, thanks to the worst Speaker ever.

CEdmundWrightC. Edmund Wright is contributor to StubbornThings, American Thinker, Breitbart, Newsmax TV, Talk Radio Network and author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again. • (1564 views)

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33 Responses to John Boehner: Bad Speaker or Worst Speaker?

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    An important point to note here is that one of Boehner’s major failings (which he shares with McConnell) is an inability (or refusal) to make the Republican case to potential voters. If they had explained what both sides were doing during the 2013 Shutdown “crisis”, perhaps the results would have been different. They couldn’t or wouldn’t, and so they’ve pre-emptively surrendered in every budget fight since.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I think the reason that Boehner and others don’t make the argument is because they don’t believe in making a contrary argument. It was Ronald Reagan who said “government is the problem.” I don’t think these Establishment Republican types believe that.

      And aside from office being merely a means to personal riches, I think what undercuts their ability to make an argument is that they either don’t have a clear ideology or they don’t essentially disagree with the Left.

      We see the Left pushing their agenda hard and aren’t afraid to take chances. The Republicans, on the other hand, are wusses. I would say they are the ones who have had their balls removed, not Donald Trump (not Rich Lowry’s finest moment).

      But then, that assumes they actually have an ideology and are afraid to espouse it, having been beaten down by the press or whomever. I once believed that was at least partially true. Now I don’t. I think the GOP has largely accepted the role of government in our lives.

      Plus, if their balls have been cut off in any meaningful way, it’s the ear they given to the consulting class that may have been a big part of that. Nothing scares the consultants like “the war on women.” So the GOP (assuming they having an agenda) are left like passive players in spiked dog collars and black leather as they are whipped by the Democrat dominatrix.

      And it probably hasn’t helped that Boehner is apparently an all-out alcoholic. Rumor is that unless you reach him by 8 pm, he’s useless for conducting any business.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I think it’s the lack of a clear ideology. This is probably true of a lot of both parties, but the liberals can get away with it more easily because the synoptic media will never challenge them in the way they do Republicans.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Get no argument from me….other than “power” or “money” could be their ideology, if they have one, hidden under a veneer of play-nice “unity” which masks their lack of conviction. And let’s just say that it has worked for them. They have the House and the Senate and got it by promising conservative reform and have done little to nothing in that regard.

          And these eff-tards say they honestly can’t understand the Trump phenomenon.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            The human wrecking ball aka Donald Trump is a threat to the entrenched interests in the government. He is a particular threat to the establishment Republicans because they have been caught in open lies by their base who, unlike the Democrats’ base, pays attention to what actually happens.

            While I do not believe Trump is the most conservative Republican candidate, he is no worse than most of the others. More importantly, he is the one who can do most damage to the establishment wing. And this is necessary if there is to be any hope of stopping the leftward march of the country.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Consider if you dealt on a daily basis with the dyspeptic badgers we call a congress how early in the day you would seek solace in J & B. I’m not defending his speakership but prolonged exposure to the government tends to sap one’s soul. Booze doesn’t make it better but in this case I am not sure its worse.

        I hope John heads for the hills in Ohio or perhaps joins an Amish community to flush the stink of all these years in DC out of his system. He was the wrong man, in the wrong place, for the wrong reason; it just took him too long to recognize it.

    • Ronald J. Ward says:

      Timothy, there was really no case to sell or explanation to be given of the 2013 gov shutdown.

      The Lower Chamber, who has the power of the purse, attached a provision to eliminate funding to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. It was sent to the Senate who stripped that provision and sent it back to the House. The House then sent it back to the Senate with a provision to delay funding for 1 year. That died in the Senate.

      So basically, the Senate refused to defund PPACA and because of that standstill, the government shut down.

      It’s a rather new and dangerous tactic that today’s so-called conservatives seem to like to employ; if you can’t accomplish your goals through the normal legislative process, simply hold the economy ransom and inflict as much possible pain on the electorate as you can and hope like hell they blame the other side.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        You seem to have carefully forgotten that government shut-downs are nothing new. (They’re also nowhere near complete; only the unessential services are halted, which raises an interesting question right there.) As for explaining — note that a. the GOP tried several alternative versions, some of which would probably have been popular if the public knew what they were, but they never explained it. In addition, they could have pointed out that it was the spiteful Obama who used the opportunity to close down facilities that cost the government no money, such as open-air war memorials, precisely for the sake of inflicting pain. (There is a long tradition of corrupt, spitful government officials at all levels behaving this way.)

        • Ronald J. Ward says:

          If there were other shutdowns of relevance that I’d forgotten, it seems your would have shared them with us in your argument. If there were alternatives of substance that the GOP supposedly offered, that too would give credence to your argument-had you opted to share that.

          It’s interesting that you use the argument of the GOP failure to articulate a rationale while at the same time, chastise Obama as the “spiteful/ pain inducing” culprit. It reminds me of a meme the lunatic right were spewing during that shutdown which I think originated with Sean Hannity or some other far right nutcase- that “Obama intentionally shut down the government to punish Americans” or some sort”.

          Once again, for obvious fear you have no clue of the legislative process, the shutdown was a result of legislation not making it pass the Senate. So, it never got to Obama (albeit he would have promptly and rightly vetoed it) so there’s no way that your rhetoric or association or innuendos toward Obama are relevant to this argument.

          And even if it was, this “precisely for the sake of inflicting pain” makes absolutely no sense as that simply isn’t politically advantageous in the real world, particularly in that era of that election cycle. That argument pegs the stupid meter on any and every front. It’s like saying a politician goes around punching babies in the face just to inflict pain and then asks to be elected.

          Your argument seriously takes stupid to a new level.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I don’t keep a file of all the political news of the past 30 years, so of course I can’t provide specifics. My argumentation assumes good faith on the part of the other, which is definitely lacking in your case. The failure of the GOP during the shutdown was the failure to put pressure on the Democrats.

            Democrats are quite happy to inflict pain as long as they and their media lackeys can blame the pain on the GOP. Why do YOU think they tried to close down the World War II memorial, even though closing it down cost more than keeping it open?

            • Ronald J. Ward says:

              You seem to be the want the cake and eat it too type. Closing down the World War II memorial was a byproduct of the GOP inflicted shutdown. It’s like a drunken dad gambling away the family paycheck and then blaming mom for hating the kids by depriving them Cheerios to go with their milk.

              Slice it, dice it, serve it up with fries but ultimately, the GOP shut the government down because they couldn’t make legislation accomplishments they desired through the normal legislative procedures.

              At the end of the day, ACA was enacted by both chambers of the Legislative Branch, signed by the Executive Branch, and upheld by the Judicial Branch, all of the things today’s so-called conservatives claim to be Constitutionally paramount-unless of course, they just don’t agree with the outcome. The GOP took it upon themselves to hold the economy and working class hostage, to inflict pain, simply because that was their only recourse by not having enough elected seats to do it otherwise.

              It blew up in their faces then and it will again, just as it should.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The memorial was an open-air facility with no staff. It did NOT need to be closed down. The shutdown was the excuse, but the vicious spite of your false idol was the real motivation. Explain to me why the Obama Gang sent patrolmen to prevent people from looking at Mount Rushmore from an open highway. Then go back under your bridge.

              • Ronald J. Ward says:

                I’m not sure why I couldn’t respond to your below comment but since you ask me to respond, well, let’s break this down.

                The memorial was an open-air facility with no staff. It did NOT need to be closed down. The shutdown was the excuse, but the vicious spite of your false idol was the real motivation. Explain to me why the Obama Gang sent patrolmen to prevent people from looking at Mount Rushmore from an open highway. Then go back under your bridge.

                You argue in quite sophomoric fashion. Reading the discussion above, I'm chastised for "carefully forgetting" that government shut-downs are nothing new yet you're exonerated for not "keeping a file of all the political news of the past 30 years, so of course I can’t provide specifics" of what you say I come up short of. ? Okay, that's fine as I'm no stranger to your sort of rhetoric. I digress.

                And of course, me not keeping up with and explaining the finances of Mt Rushmore somehow invalidates my argument of the legislative procedures and GOP tactics pertaining to the 2013 shutdown because, uh, well because, well hell, why not?

                And naturally of course, it gives overwhelming credence to your argument that Obama shut the government down because of some vindictive/punish Americans/inflict pain/spiteful/ whatever other incoherent splutter you care to use.

                And for good measure, your argument gains additional traction because of something about Obama being my idol and I reside under a bridge?

                You are indeed funny and you do tickle me but understand, I'm not laughing with you.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                During the 2013 shutdown, there were reports of numerous shutdowns in the past, including several in the 1980s when the Demagogues controlled the House. As I said, I don’t keep a file, so I can’t give you the specifics. (Of course, the 1995 shutdown is one you might be familiar with., since that was big news. Isn’t it funny that shutdowns are only big news when the GOP runs Congress, or at least part of it? Do you think that’s an accident?)

                I notice you’re too busy laughing (due to unfortunate circumstances, I don’t have my copy of Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking handy, so I can’t say exactly which logical fallacy that is, but it is one of them) at my comments to refute them. How liberal. If you can’t figure out why I mentioned a bridge, then how about this: “Ronald want a cracker?”

          • Rosalys says:

            And what about the fact that Obama’s brownshirts were sent to attempt to shut down Mount Vernon by blocking access to the parking lot. Mount Vernon is entire run by a private organization, is not at all a part of the federal gubmint or the federal park system, nor do they receive any federal funds.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              They also closed down several other private facilities on federal land (many of which had never previously been closed down during shutdowns).

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I believe McConnell is worse than Boehner. Unlike Boehner in the House, McConnell in the Senate had and still has many procedural weapons in his quiver. Yet he does not use a single one. For example, he could hold up every appointment by the president. Why does he not do this? No one could yell, “he’s shutting down the government.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      They did that earlier this year over the human-trafficking amendment, which also included anti-abortion language unacceptable to the Molochites. So they had a compromise that gave the Demagogues the appearance of what they wanted, but still kept the restrictions in.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Thanks for reminding me of this. I still do not know what was really behind the to-do over human trafficking. Why was this so much more important to McConnell than the many other serious problems facing the nation? How much human trafficking is going on in the USA?

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    John Hawkins has a fine piece at TownHall today that gives 25 “rules of thumb” about modern American politics that people here will appreciate. The link is:

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      #1 is a great truism of today’s politics.

      #2: right on

      #5: A friend tells me, “Democrats are the party of evil. The Republicans are the party of stupid.” Dennis Prager says liberals are generally foolish, not evil. Of course liberals think conservatives are evil. That’s an easy one. It reflects their Utopian derangement, their smugness, and the fact that most are indoctrinated “low information” voters. Demonizing the other sides saves them from having to think.

      #8: There are various theories for why the GOP Establishment won’t take on the Left. I think it’s a number if influences, not least of which is they don’t fundamentally disagree with the Left.

      #9: This speaks to the fact that the Left, at heart, is based on mooching and vandalism of our culture as a sort of sport.

      #15: I’m not sure the perception by 98% of the population is that more government makes your life worse…or else we wouldn’t have so much government.

      #16: I think money drives much of what we see in politics, especially from the GOP if only because their core ideology, such as it is, is pretty weak…assuming they have one other than power and avarice. Hand it to the Left, they do believe in their cause. They do hate America. They do believe in Utopia. They do believe that government can fix everything. They do believe man and society are perfectible.

      #21: Love that quote by Sowell.

      A pretty good list overall.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Good list. I think nos. 20 and 21 would fall under one of Kung Fu Zu’s eternal truths, i.e. “Never forget that in the end, they are all just politicians.”

  4. mlcblog says:

    It was lack of vision, hence lack of courage.

    His free admission that his main ambition was to be Speaker of the House. And that’s apparently all. Nothing more. I found him sharing this to be shocking but very explanatory.

    So he succeeded in doing nothing. Or worse.

  5. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    That old saying about never arguing with an idiot surely fits Ronald J. Ward.

  6. Timothy Lane says:

    Bruce Bialosky has an article on TownHall defending Boehner’s record, correctly pointing out that much of the problem is the total intrasigence of Barry the Fanatic, and also that the federal share of the economy has fallen 3% since Boehner became Speaker — something that the Wicked Witch of the West would never have done. He also claims that no GOP candidates actually promised results if they won, which I suspect is wrong but can hardly disprove without a complete record of their comments and ads. He errs in failing to consider that by now Boehner should be aware of what he’s up against, and should have figured out a way to deal with it. But it’s interesting anyway. The link is:

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      What Boehner was unwilling to to do was fight…to show a little intransigence of his own. That is the Establishment Republican way. They always have a reason for not battling their opponents (unless those opponents are conservatives).

      The Establishment Republicans sold out on Planned Parenthood. Make Barry Obama veto their budget (which is already a craven act that they don’t have a proper one). Make Obama explain why it is necessary to shut down government despite no cuts in “women’s health” spending (it simply being drawn from Planned Parenthood and directed to places that don’t kill the unborn).

      They didn’t. And I sat and listened on the radio to local Establishment Republican, Michael Medved, who showed clearly the mindset of Establishment Republicans. There is always a reason not to fight. “Oh, but Obama will veto it.” Ask yourself why the Left isn’t cringing in fear saying “Oh, but the Republicans will pass this bill and make us look like abortion butchers for vetoing it.”

      I’m done with the Republicans. The party is good for nothing. Boehner has absolutely no real accomplishments. He and the Republican House and Senate are failures. If they won’t fight over this monstrous abuse of children, what will they fight for?

      • Timothy Lane says:

        This is why I mentioned their failure to figure out how to deal with the conditions they face. One good example is their failure to push through the 12 standard appropriations bills this year. The House passed 6, the Senate failed to get them past the Demagogues, so they just stopped — and never explained this failure. But passing those bills and demanding that the Demagogues explain why they were blocking them might have enabled them to get rid of a lot of the fiscal hostages. But that would require having backbones.

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The below link is to an article about the Republican Speaker of the House before Boehner. It makes one wonder, how much of what happens or doesn’t happen in Congress is shaped by blackmail.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Many people suspect the Fascist Messiah has something on John Roberts. It’s easy to suspect that the FBI has been providing the more corrupt, power-abusing presidents a little crucial information here and there.

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