Colson: Boehner’s dumped, Walker’s out — what’s next?
It’s a tantalizingly sorry state of affairs when the political left of this country bemoans the sudden departure of one of the architects of the 1994 “Contract On America,” which arguably was the catalyzing event for the ongoing, anti-government Republican rebellion symbolized by the Tea Party and its adherents.
But that’s what’s happening, as the nation’s political community wraps its head around the announcement on Sept. 25 that Ohio Rep. John Boehner will be stepping down as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and giving up his seat in the House as of the end of October.
With the recent decision by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to bow out of the 2016 Republican primary slugfest, that means two of the most strident critics of everything-Obama are either dead in the water (in Boehner’s case) or slinking home to lick wounds and start planning his next moves toward higher political office (Walker).
All of that means the nation’s body politick is in even more turmoil than it was at the end of last summer, when a total of 17 rabid haters of President Obama were lined up to try to take his job and the Republicans were gearing up to turn Washington, D.C. into a mud-wrestling venue.
Boehner, who was elected as part of the Republican takeover of the House in 1992, was either the first or second member of Congress (it might have been Mitch McConnell, the goofy-looking, Kentucky-based majority leader of the Senate) to announce in 2008 that it was now his job to block every legislative initiative the new president made, and to make sure Obama was a one-term president no matter what.
It has been interesting to watch Boehner try to walk the highly charged political tightrope at the House, as the right wing of his party worked tirelessly to show that they not only do not want to govern the nation in any coherent, forward-thinking way, they want to undo any and all progressive changes made on the national level over the past several decades.
Boehner, as described by the New York Times over the weekend, actually believed when he was first elected that he was sent to Washington to make Congress work better, more efficiently, than it had been for some time.
That impulse, it would seem, went out the window when Newt Gingrich came up with his Contract On America (oh, I mean Contract For America) in 1994, and the battle lines were drawn up between the Republicans of Congress and the Clinton White House.
By demonizing the Democrats in Congress and the White House in a speech that September, Boehner showed that he, in concert with his party stalwarts, was going to do everything he could to ensure that the Clinton administration failed in its every initiative — just as Boehner would do 14 years later with Obama.
Now, of course, Boehner himself is the victim of a steadfast drumbeat of criticism, from the right wing of his own party.
And it is intriguing to note that he is being hailed by Democrats and moderate Republicans alike as a voice of calm and compromise, and that all of Washington views the prospect of the coming political donnybrook over the Speaker’s job with a “sense of dread.”
According to many observers, the most likely candidate to succeed Boehner is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current House majority leader, although the combustible right wing of the Republican party already is making noises that they don’t support McCarthy’s candidacy.
The reason for that lack of support, according to some Republican talking heads, is that McCarthy is too much like Boehner — willing to work with Democrats to come up with policies and legislation palatable to both sides of the aisle, and that actually might get signed by the president.
Can’t have that, now, can we?
What’s more, the drumbeats from the right seem to be spelling out a growing movement to also dump McConnell from his lofty position as Senate Majority Leader, based on the same kind of thinking. McConnell simply is not “conservative” enough, which I guess means he is not enough of a racist, monopoly-capitalist, immigrant-hating demagogue.
What all this means for our nation’s immediate future is anybody’s guess. Wall Street apparently is anxious about the possibility of a government shutdown by the rabid right, which could throw our economy into free-fall yet again.
This anxiety is fueled by right-wing bluster over the fraudulent-based, supposed “proof” that Planned Parenthood is an aborted-baby chop-shop (remember the video sting earlier this year?), and not the rather low-key provider of general health programs and health-care advice for women that everybody used to think it was.
This is just another example of right-wingers listening only to themselves and making up stories to bolster their fantasy-imbued view of how the world works.
But the Repubs want to kill the organization’s federal funding, and are threatening to shut down the government if they are thwarted in any way.
How’s that for schoolyard, bullying tactics?
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