The big story from last weekend was… Ha, I bet you thought I was going to write about Paul Manafort and Russia but, frankly, all the back and forth on that I am finding very tedious. For any news that emerges about the Russia investigation Trump and his Trumpettes obfuscate, make excuses and shift blame and in response Clinton and her Clintonites obfuscate, make excuses and shift blame. “And the beat goes on.” Meanwhile, in the whole ordeal, the only winner is Russia.
If you are looking for a no spin run-down of the developments on Russia I would recommend former federal prosecutor and author, Andrew C. McCarthy article in National Review: “The Manafort Indictment: Not Much There, and a Boon for Trump,” and his companion article “The Papadopoulos Case.”
The story I was referring to was the reemergence of former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, in the lengthy profile and interview “John Boehner Unchained” written by Tim Alberta in Politico.
In the introduction, after discussing their golf outing, the author opens with:
To outsiders, Boehner might just be the happiest man alive, a liberated retiree who spends his days swirling merlot and cackling at Speaker Paul Ryan’s misfortune. The truth is more complicated. At 67, Boehner is liberated—to say what he spent many years trying not to say; to smoke his two packs a day without undue stress; to chuckle at the latest crisis in Washington and whisper to himself those three magic words: “Not my problem.” And yet he is struggling—with the lingering perception that he was run out of Congress; with his alarm about the country’s future; and with the question of what he’s supposed to do next. After leaving office, Boehner says a longtime family friend approached him. “You’ve always had a purpose—your business, your family, politics,” the friend said. “What’s your purpose now?” Boehner says the question gnaws at him every day.
Mr. Alberta spends a great deal of time writing about Boehner’s history from when he first came to Congress in 1991, going in as someone who was set on reforming the old ways of Congress. Quoting fellow Congressman (now North Carolina Senator) Richard Burr “I think John was probably the first one that actually intended to drain the swamp. He was a radical.” Oh how times changed.
The author later writes about John Boehner’s time as the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, working alongside Ted Kennedy in the Senate, to pass the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
The history continues with John Boehner’s time as the House Minority leader including this impassioned speech he gave on the House Floor March 21, 2010 just prior the passage of the Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Somewhat ironically, earlier this year Boehner predicted that Obama Care would never repeal Obamacare saying Republicans are “not going to repeal and replace Obamacare” because “the American people have gotten accustomed to it.”
The history section concludes with John Boehner becoming the Majority Leader following the Tea Party wave in 2010, the attempts to remove him as speaker and his subsequent resignation.
The final section of the article covers Boehner’s thoughts about the state of the country today, what he sees as the future of the Republican Party and the troubles that Paul Ryan is now facing including dealing with the Freedom Caucus. A portion of this section was centered around a session following their golf outing which included “bottomless glasses of wine.” Boehner’s smoking and drinking were recurring themes throughout the article.
Here is one paragraph that I think best sums up Boehner’s state of mind and also why he excuses President Obama for any part that he played in the divisiveness of the country:
He (Boehner) continues: “I always liked Rush [Limbaugh]. When I went to Palm Beach I would always meet with Rush and we’d go play golf. But you know, who was that right-wing guy, [Mark] Levin? He went really crazy right and got a big audience, and he dragged [Sean] Hannity to the dark side. He dragged Rush to the dark side. And these guys—I used to talk to them all the time. And suddenly they’re beating the living shit out of me.” Boehner, seated in his favorite recliner, lights another cigarette. “I had a conversation with Hannity, probably about the beginning of 2015. I called him and said, ‘Listen, you’re nuts.’ We had this really blunt conversation. Things were better for a few months, and then it got back to being the same-old, same-old. Because I wasn’t going to be a right-wing idiot.”
What the article fails to disclose is what John Boehner is doing these days to assuage his hurt feelings. In addition to making paid speeches, he is employed by the Washington law firm Squire Patton Boggs, “a Cleveland-based law firm with a powerful Capitol Hill lobbying presence.” John Boehner is also on the board of tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc.
Retirement sure is sweet for a failed Republican Speaker of the House.