John Boehner: A pathetic profile in Jell-O

The House speaker may get credit if he finally defers to the Senate to end this crisis. But he doesn’t deserve it

Topics: John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Debt ceiling, Government shutdown, Tea Party, Ted Cruz, Editor, The Right, GOP, Republican Party, ,

John Boehner: A pathetic profile in Jell-OJohn Boehner (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

It’s an insult to all Americans’ intelligence and good will if the debt ceiling and government shutdown crisis end the way so many pundits of average intelligence, myself included, said it had to: with House Speaker John Boehner turning to the real speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to get the job done.

I mean, what do most pundits know? It could have taken a different turn, right? Except we’ve seen this movie many times before: Whether it’s keeping open the government when Boehner first took his job in 2011, or the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal, or the fiscal cliff deal last January, or Hurricane Sandy aid, or the farm bill, or… well, it’s been clear for a while that the only way Boehner can pass legislation that will pass the Democrat-controlled Senate (numerically controlled; the gateway to legislation can be blocked by the GOP minority) is by turning to Pelosi and asking her to corral her caucus and vote.

So this crisis may end the same way. It may: We started Tuesday believing a Senate deal was likely, and the House GOP rejected it. Then they rejected the deal Boehner proposed. Obviously, almost anything remains possible.

Let’s take in what occurred. On Monday night House Speaker Ted Cruz gathered the House Tea Party caucus secretly, I mean in public, at a Capitol Hill hot spot, Tortilla Coast, after news broke that Senate Republicans and Democrats were close to a deal. In the morning, Boehner tried to put together multiple deals, and they all fell apart. Heritage Action, which was for an end to the debt ceiling crisis before it was against it, said it would score any vote for the amorphous Boehner deal against any House GOP member.

After the House left without a vote Monday night, most reports said the action was going back to the Senate. “It’s all over. We’ll take the Senate deal,” a senior House GOP aide told the National Review Online.

But assuming that Boehner is going to defer to the Senate for a deal at some point on Wednesday? What a disgrace. So much damage has been done. Roughly 800,000 people have been furloughed for more than two weeks. People have been denied life-saving experimental drug trials. Kids have lost a chance at Head Start. And the default threat is already hurting the country, and costing everyone money. Interest rates are already climbing. The government is paying more on its debt. Consumer confidence has dipped. Our political dysfunction has made us a global disgrace.



By lamenting “political dysfunction” I may seem to be falling into the false equivalence trap. I want to be clear: Democrats have been compromising since President Obama took office – which is their contribution to political dysfunction. Even this deal, if it happens, represents a compromise on the part of Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to work it out; Boehner hasn’t brought Pelosi in, and won’t until he needs her to save his ass. So there’s a baked-in GOP advantage there.

Settling for only a short-term debt-ceiling hike is another compromise. It makes many progressive Democrats nervous, and so does the pledge to engage in more budget negotiation/deficit reduction – after the deficit has fallen faster than at any time since World War II.

So if Boehner eventually caves to reality, please spare me any tributes to his courage, how he placed his job at risk. He hasn’t merely waited until the last minute to recognize reality; he has gone beyond the last minute. The economy is already suffering. And if  Ted Cruz or some other Senate Tea Party terrorist wants to delay this reckoning, they’ll get at least another 30 hours. Boehner should have factored that into his endgame. Except he doesn’t have one.

Will Boehner hold out for what seems to be the House GOP’s last priority: denying their staff any employer support for health insurance? It’s ludicrous. Let’s hope their angry staffers decide to share with the world these awful last days of the incompetent House Republican leadership.

 

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...