When I saw that Ezra Klien had written an article titled, The Strange Alliance Between John Boehner and Liberals, I knew just what he was talking about. Basically, over the last couple of years, John Boehner has saved the liberal cause by refusing to accept rather conservative deals on things like Chained-CPI. Of course, Boehner is nixing these deals because they aren’t conservative enough. But that hardly matters; the fact remains, he has been saving the liberal cause from the Bipartisan President.
In the actual article, Klein suggests that if the Democrats could have created a “Manchurian Speaker,” he would be John Boehner. Clearly, such a person could not actively be in favor of liberal policies. If that were the case, Boehner would have been voted out of his speakership, and soon out of office all together. But just by being ultra-conservative, Boehner is doing what liberals want. Klein isn’t seriously suggesting that this is what is going on. But the theory is valid and it points to an important problem in the modern American Democratic Party.
The “Manchurian Speaker” works so well for liberals because he protects us from our rather conservative president. In this reality, obstruction is a good thing because the only policy changes coming from the top people in the Democratic Party are conservative. Yes, they are not as conservative as what the Republicans want, but they are more conservative than the legacy that the Democratic Party willed to us.
So we have three groups: the liberals on the left, the Republicans on the right, and the Democratic Party elite in the middle. You know the Democratic Party elite: they supported the Iraq War; they gave us the insurance industry give away that is Obamacare; and they pushed “tighten our belts” economic policy that has kept tens of millions out of work. That party. They’re the ones we’re fighting with. And that’s why they call us “fucking retarded.” We’re just too stupid to give up on the great liberal project that is the United States of America.
So yes, we really are grateful to John Boehner and the rest of the Crazy Caucus. But that will only work for so long. We should take this respite, when Boehner is doing yeoman’s work, to change our party into the 21st century equivalent of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the Great Society. We can only play defense for so long. And let’s not forget: Republicans don’t need to win elections as long Democrats keep electing people like Clinton and Obama. It would be worth it to lose some national elections if it might move the center of American political debate a bit to the left.
Remember: Boehner isn’t really the Manchurian Speaker. And if Democrats continue to be “Republican Lite! (Nothing you want in a party; but less!)” we will start losing national elections anyway.