Tag Archives: Boehner

End of an Era

Furious Republicans in the House and Senate yesterday reacted swiftly to President Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration, angrily denouncing his moves to temporarily prevent the deportation of some five million immigrants.

“That does it!” a visibly enraged John Boehner exclaimed, his usual orange complexion flushed with red. “The president has made it clear that he prefers confrontation over compromise. The golden age of bipartisan cooperation is over.”

“This destroys the harmonious relationship we’ve so carefully built up over the last six years,” soon-to-be Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell thundered.

“We warned the president that taking this action would poison the well,” McConnell continued. “How can he expect us to maintain our close working relationship after this? Does he really think we’ll continue to green-light his nominees, that we’ll keep funding his priorities like Medicaid expansion, extending unemployment insurance and rebuilding infrastructure, that we’ll keep supporting alternative energy solutions, that we’ll press on with all the bipartisan efforts on behalf of the American people that we’ve worked so closely together on in the past, after this slap in the face?”

“Well, he can forget the Era of Good Feeling that we in the House worked so hard the last few years to maintain,” added Boehner. “I’m so angry, the first thing I’m going to do is schedule a vote to repeal Obamacare.

“Take that, Mr. President!”

What Went Wrong?

Last week a group of Republican politicians and strategists met secretly in Washington for a high-level post-election debriefing. Yesterday, someone slipped a transcript of the meeting under my door.

Attending the meeting were Roger Ailes, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.

Ailes: Gentlemen, are we all here? Where’s Mitt?

Cantor: That loser? He wasn’t invited. Not like he was ever really one of us.

Ryan: Hey, he’s a good guy. I got to know him pretty well during the campaign.

Cantor: Another loser heard from. You couldn’t even carry your home state.

Ryan: You want to step outside and say that?

Ailes: Cool it, both of you. Calm down, everyone.  You two can work that out next session. We’re here to figure out what went wrong.

Boehner: You should talk. Who was it that created the Fox bubble, anyway, Mr. Alternate Reality. Obama’s unpopular, the real issue is the deficit, Romney’s ahead in the polls, the Dems are gonna get trounced.

Gingrich: Yeah. As the historian in this crowd, I could have told you there’s no such thing as permanent majority.

Ryan: Hah! Didn’t YOU predict a Romney landslide, while you were on the Fox payroll?

Rove: Aren’t we getting a little off track here? Let’s face it, we underestimated Obama’s ground game. We had a lead, but they almost caught up with us in spending.

Cantor: Yeah, right. What did your $400 million win? Bupkus! And you want to piss away MORE?

Boehner: Shut up, Cantor. I had a grand bargain on the deficit in my hand, but you and your Tea Party loonies walked.

Norquist: You shut up, John. You would have caved on taxes, just to get a deal you could put your name on.  And now you’re making public statements like you’re trying to weasel out of the Pledge again.

McConnell: No deals! Not gonna happen on my watch.  Obama’s got to come to us.

Boehner: Screw you, Mitch. Did you happen notice who lost MORE seats in the Senate? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t the Dems. At least I hung on to the House.

Ailes: Only because those seats are so gerrymandered you COULDN’T lose. Even that idiot Bachmann kept hers.

Gingrich: I think we’re missing the point here. We lost because the country is changing. There are more Latinos and Blacks, and that’s not going to change.  We lost their vote and women. Demographics is destiny, gentlemen.

McConnell: So what do you propose? Roll over and pander to them? Like Hell!

Cantor: Amnesty for illegals? MORE Medicaid and food stamps and unemployment insurance? Contraception for women? Admit that rape is a bad thing? Abortion? Are you nuts? Abandon everything this party stands for?

Boehner: A little compromise on some issues wouldn’t be a bad thing, necessarily. You moved to the middle during the election, didn’t you, Paul?

Ailes: Lied like a rug, not that it convinced anyone.

Gingrich: Wait. I have a brilliant idea!

Rove: You’re going to divorce Callista?

Gingrich: Shut up. We’re thinking about this all wrong. Who DID vote for us?

McConnell: White men.

Gingrich: Right. As the resident historian, I can tell you that when this Republic was founded, only white men were allowed to vote.

McConnell: Yeah, so? I don’t quite follow.

Boehner: There’s a surprise.

McConnell: Shut up.

Ailes: But that would require repealing the Emancipation Proclamation AND the 19th Amendment.

Cantor: That’s crazy! That would take years to work through the states, and you’d never get Blacks and women to vote for it.

Gingrich: Who’s talking about repeal? Get the Supreme Court to declare them both unconstitutional.

Ryan: How can an amendment be unconstitutional? That makes no sense. The Court can’t overturn an amendment, can it?

Gingrich: These are the same guys who declared corporations are people and money is speech. If they can do that, they can do this.

Cantor: It’s brilliant!

Boehner: Do you really think we count on them to do it?

Gingrich: Scalia will absolutely LOVE it. The originalist asked to reaffirm the Founders’ intent.  Done deal. Alito will fall in line, Kennedy’s on our side now. Thomas does anything Scalia says. I’m a little worried about Roberts, though, after the Obamacare ruling.

Ailes: He got beat up so bad for that one, I think he’ll fall back in line.

McConnell: I hate to bring this up, but isn’t Clarence Thomas Black?

Ryan: Now that you mention it, I think so. You wouldn’t know it from his rulings or the way he acts, but yeah, I’m pretty sure I remember him being Black when he was appointed.

Boehner: Hmm. That could be a problem. Would he vote to take away his own vote?

Cantor: Damn!

Ailes: I think we should at least feel him out. But we really ought to have a Plan B if this doesn’t work.

McConnell: Like what?

Ailes: You won’t like this, but we may actually have to reach out to minorities and women.

McConnell: I’m against it.

Boehner: Mitch, the whole idea stinks, but I think we have to. Let’s put Ryan to work on the women initiative.  They go for those big dreamy blue eyes of his. We’re going to have to give on immigration reform if we ever want the Latinos. We can put Rubio and Bush on that.

Cantor: I can’t believe we’re doing this.

Boehner: Art of the possible, Gentlemen. We do what we have to. Now for the really hard part: anyone here know any Black people?

(long silence)

Boehner: Anyone?



This was a close election, right? A nation bitterly divided between red and blue. Two parties evenly splitting the vote. Two starkly different visions of America. Obama squeaking out a bare 50.3% of the popular vote, although he carried the electoral college handily. Except that it wasn’t really close and we aren’t that divided. No president presiding over an economy this bad should have been re-elected; it should have been a landslide for Mitt Romney, and the Democrats should have lost the Senate. If this election revealed anything, it’s not a divided electorate, it’s the glaring weakness of the Republican Party, which has become a party almost exclusively of rich old white men.

Demographics is destiny, they say, and the GOP has spent the last 20 years alienating the fastest-growing segments of the population. It has gone out of its way to drive away Blacks, Hispanics, women and the young, presenting the Democrats with a winning coalition broad enough to deliver a victory even in the worst economic climate in more than 70 years. Had unemployment been, say, five percent, Obama would have won in a landslide and the Dems likely would have retaken the House. Worse for the Republicans, the map is turning more and more blue. The solid South is solid no more, with Virginia and Florida going blue and North Carolina in play. The West, too, is turning Democratic, with Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada joining the West Coast, and Arizona beginning to shift. No region of the country is going the other way.

Now the fun begins. How will the Republican Party react? Will it adopt a more conciliatory strategy now that its four-year opposition to anything Obama has failed, or will it dig into that destructive playbook again? House Speaker Boehner seems willing to work across the aisle, now that the Tea Party has been somewhat rebuked (if not chastened). Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is another story. His classless and off-key remarks after the election don’t seem to offer much hope. Is it too much to hope that his own caucus might have something other than another four fruitless years of obstructionism in mind?


The upcoming “golf summit” with President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and late additions Paul Ryan and Joe Biden, may well produce the long-awaited agreement on deficit reduction, forestalling a default brought on by Republican (along with some Democrats) refusal to raise the debt ceiling. It will, even if it succeeds, do absolutely nothing to solve the more immediate problems facing us. Any agreement is bound to produce a certain amount of pain, especially among those who most need government help right now.

In so many ways, the whole issue of deficit reduction is a red herring. The party insisting on austerity now is the same one that two years ago was claiming that deficits don’t matter as the combination of the Bush tax cuts and two unfunded wars created a massive budget hole. When the economy imploded, however, the Party of No took aim at the much-needed but too small stimulus as reckless spending. Democrats, scared out of their wits by the last election, bought into the notion of budget cutting rather than stand for what they know is necessary: more stimulus. Thus the charade we now witness, in which the president and Congress will make a harmful budget deal and each will claim success.

Meanwhile, the economy, without any hope of government help in the near future, slides back into the doldrums, the jobless rate stays stubbornly stuck near 10%, business awash in cash lavish obscene bonuses on their executives while refusing to hire, and Washington fiddles.

There’s a very good reason to be wary of austerity measures in times of deep recession. It’s easy to portray government as some disconnected entity consuming vast resources, and that cutting off the money flow will somehow improve things. Easy and lazy. What gets cut when budgets are slashed? Teachers, government employees, aid to states, Medicaid, federal and state construction projects. In other words, people. More people are thrown out of work, those without health care get sicker, and the programs that help them are eviscerated. So, a vicious cycle of higher unemployment and smaller safety net. Will someone please explain to me how this will get the economy moving again?