During the closed-door meeting on November 19 for Republican House leadership elections in the 111th Congress, Minority Leader John Boehner’s routed remnant looked coldly at the future and saw two self-destructive choices. Either they become Vichy France, retreat to their shrunken part of the committee rooms, collaborate with the resplendent Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the lugubrious Banking Chairman Barney Frank, and wait for handouts from the Democrats—or they flee. The meeting did not go well, and it went sour like spilled milk about the time Dan Lungren of California challenged for leadership and everyone hung their heads. The secret voting started in silence.
No surprise, Boehner was reelected minority leader by a still unannounced number. But then the finger-drumming started. Ex-National Republican Congressional Campaign chairman Tom Cole left disgusted over the way he was eclipsed by the Dallas Texan Pete Sessions. Discarded Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri had no friends left in the room to see him to the door. Default new Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia didn’t get up off his knees long enough to shake hands. Former House leaders Jeb Hensarling and Kay Granger, both of the Texas mob that trivialized the party, were already sharpening knives to go hunting for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat in 2010. And no one, not even the four newbies, even glanced at George W. Bush’s portrait as the lights dimmed.
How long until it comes to the loyal remnant who just reelected him that House Republican leader John Boehner is the same systemic problem as the obdurate stick-pin George W. Bush and his Texas cronies?
The party is wounded, perhaps even mortally. It is certainly bleeding money and talent. Arizona’s John Shadegg openly opines to the media that donors won’t give “another penny.” Yet Boehner’s best idea to help the party is to help himself by bullying his way to reelection. Resignation was in order, but instead he demanded another two years without paying a penalty for his clumsiness over the last three years and his colossal, unforgivable, and damning failure to stop Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) lie the week of September 29.
Is Boehner a dullard and quitter like Marshal Pétain? Or is he a vain crow like Charles de Gaulle? Or is he the worst of both, a defeatist with a devious ego?
At 59, a nine-term representative from the suddenly blue team suburbs between Cincinnati and Dayton, Boehner has no future worth debating. Not a fighter like the underestimated Dick Nixon, not a loudmouth like the predictable Newt Gingrich, not a tactician like the ambitious Mike Pence, Boehner inherited the Republican majority from the disgraced Texan Tom DeLay, who sold the party cheaply to gamblers, grifters, and Russian gangsters. Boehner did nothing effectively or worth noting as he led the power-drunken rabble to defeat in the 2006 cycle. Since then, he has manufactured excuses like pine cushions. It’s DeLay’s fault, and why doesn’t he go away? It’s Roy Blunt’s fault, and we inherited the dope, anyway. It’s Dick Cheney and the Bush whackos. It’s Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Jack Murtha, and the Dem whackos. It’s the war. No, it’s not the war, we’re winning the war, aren’t we? And then along came a genuine crisis that was not outside his reach, Paulson’s TARP. What did Boehner do? He believed Paulson’s lie that the $700 billion TARP was a miracle to save the nation. And then he let Paulson lie to the House that without TARP there would be rioting in the major cities. Boehner was too busy kissing the hem of Secretary Big Lie to hear the laughter from the Goldman and Morgan bankers. He was also busy believing it was his responsibility to save his party’s bumbling presidential candidate, John McCain.
Boehner’s TARP failure included a collaborator’s eagerness to march to orders from the White House, the Treasury, the McCain campaign, and the Republican Senate, as well as Mrs. Pelosi and Barney Frank—the very mob he was paid to challenge. He never asked himself, the crucial weekend of September 26-28, why are all the people who are working to defeat my members at the polls telling me that for the good of the party I have to lead the GOP House to pass the TARP vote? Deaf, thick-headed, stubborn, Boehner corralled his yes-team of Blunt, Cantor, and Adam Putnam to the microphones for repeated false promises about making progress.
Two months later, the money verdict is that Paulson did in truth lie like a Goldman pirate, that TARP has been tricked up so many times it is a Norma Desmond of a five-year plan for the penurious proletariat, and the only character in Washington with less credibility than the treasury secretary is the Chris Dodd hand-puppet Ben Bernanke. The market cap of the big nine banks that Paulson and Bernanke claimed they would save is cut in half, and now Detroit wants to be a bank so the automakers can die as wards of the state. In fact, the only banks that are not dying are those few who refused Paulson’s monopoly money. The TARP is the monster that has drained the blood of capitalism, scared away investment like Dracula’s castle, and ended the ability of the marketplace to clean out the poison of Freddie, Fannie, AIG, and California. Those one hundred eleven House GOP members who voted “No” twice to the TARP are the only part of the Republican Party worth preserving, yet they are certain to be targeted, outspent, and mashed by the Democrat mob in 2010.
“Boehner knows he has to turn it over to the young people,” conceded a pro-Boehner voice in the House. “He knows he screwed up TARP. He knows the party’s angry.”
How long until it comes to the loyal remnant who just reelected him that Boehner is the same systemic problem as the obdurate stick-pin George W. Bush and his Texas cronies, the treacherous John McCain and his whining collies Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, and the cheerless zek clinic called the Republican Senate? There is no hope with John Boehner. He surrendered the first time the Goldman Sachs enemy showed up wearing iron hats.
Either the younger members break up into combat cells like the reckless Maquis, don berets, escape to the Brittany hills, and start attacking the supply lines and the traitors—and I am speaking of the younger members who voted “No” twice, especially my favorites Devin Nunes, 35, of 21st California and Thaddeus McCotter, 43, of 11th Michigan, joined by the fresh Cathy Rodgers, 38, of 5th Washington—or they will be rounded up and destroyed as a group when John Boehner and his pet Eric Cantor go wobbly again and surrender the city on a hill without a shot. Liberté, boys and girls, i
Radio host of the John Batchelor Show in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles.