Thursday Night Schadenfreude

John BoehnerJohn Boehner seems like a nice enough guy. The truth is, I feel kind of sorry for him. He doesn’t seem like a ideologue. It’s possible that over the years, he’s come to realize that his party has no ideas other than the commitment to stay in power. Every time I see him, he looks like he would much rather be in a bar somewhere drinking. (And I’m pretty sure he spends a large part of the time I don’t see him doing exactly that.) At this point, I suspect his beliefs have ossified and he doesn’t even think about it any more. Outside of the House, he’d probably be an all right guy.

Having said that, I’m really enjoying this whole thing. The Republicans (and to a lesser extent the whole conservative movement) is in a full tilt meltdown. I don’t usually allow myself to experience this much schadenfreude, but I think I deserve this. It isn’t just that the vote for “Plan B” had to be called off. It is that they went ahead with a really vile spending cut bill to woo recalcitrant Republicans. This bill was a great big “Fuck you!” to a large majority of America. And they voted for it, because—and I don’t say this lightly—Republicans hate America. They have a hard time passing up any opportunity to flip off the Home of the Brave.

Had Boehner’s little tactical move worked, it still probably wouldn’t have worked. If, through some miracle that almost certainly would have required putting some blood on a page for Mephistopheles, Boehner had managed to force an Obama veto, who would have cared? At best, there would have been enough coverage to note the repellent nature of the harsh spending cuts on the poor in order to save tax cuts for the rich. This all brings me back to my suggestion a couple weeks ago in, The Obama-Boehner Conspiracy: Boehner understood all along that there could be no deal this year.

In the end, I don’t think this is really about Boehner. What we are seeing is how a movement that believes in very little other than power deals with a situation in which they have no power. Although even when they have power, their thinking seems only to converge on doing more damage to the Democrats. These people really don’t have any idea what they want to do. If suddenly they had 538 Republican members in Congress as well as control of the White House, they would be very confused. Sure: they would lower taxes and cut spending for just about everything. But otherwise? What would be the point of running a government they think is by definition too large?

But for now, it is a hell of a lot of fun watching them implode.


I understand that conservatives love some idea that they call “America.” It is usually the country as they perceive it must have been at some earlier time: in the 1950s or the 1780s. But the truth is, what we are is pretty much what we’ve always been: for good and for ill. So they love some myth while they hate the fact of their country.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Thursday Night Schadenfreude

  1. Aww, just look at those blue eyes. For a politician, that photo actually passes as borderline handsome.

    "Hey, you need some money? I can help you. I can, I really can, HELP YOU. Look into my corneas. Now sign these papers. You’ll be glad you did."

    "Ignore the charming tan-skinned man standing slightly to my left; he’s not to be trusted."

  2. @JMF – Other than the eyes, I do think he looks good in that picture. He doesn’t look like the chain-smoking alcoholic he apparently is. But the eyes look kind of weird.

    I do think he’s a man out of time. He would have fit much better in the Republican Party of the 1950s or 1970s.

    People like him always make me wonder about the choices people make. Don’t you become Speaker to do something? Is he really getting anything out of being the Speaker. It’s like the idea that you’ll make a lot of money, retire early, and then become the artist you’ve always wanted to be. It doesn’t work that way. At best, you become a rich old who paints badly. See: L. Paul Bremer.

  3. Yeah, most of the serious crooks serve long enough to do favors and then get out to reap the rewards those favors earned. Speaker is a different role; you’d think that anyone biting and clawing their way into that job was motivated by something other than pure gain. Power perhaps, the idea that one will shape history.

    I think Orwell wrote in his posthumously-published notes that "at 50, everyone has the face he deserves."

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