According to The New York Times, John Boehner Will Resign From Congress. The weird thing is that when I first heard it, I though, “Oh, no!” And that just shows how crazy things have gotten with the Republicans. In the first sentence of the Times article, it mentions that Boehner is “under intense pressure from conservatives in his party.” From conservatives?! Because here’s the thing: Boehner is as conservative as it gets. He came to power during the whole Newt Gingrich takeover of the House. He was one of the architects of the ridiculous focus-grouped “Contract with America.” You don’t get more conservative than John Boehner.
But you do get more stupid. You do get more infantile. You do get more useless. And over half of the Republicans in the House certainly fall into those categories. I’ve mentioned it a lot, but it always bears repeating: the difference between the “extreme” and “moderate” Republican is almost exclusively rhetoric. I just wrote about this, The Postmodern Theory That Marco Rubio Will Appeal to Latinos: the ultimate symbol of Republican “moderation,” claims we have to wait at least a decade before we even talk about normalizing the more than ten million undocumented residents.
Right before the announcement, Jonathan Bernstein wrote, Stop the Shutdown Before It Starts. His argument was simple: the shutdown will fail and the Republicans will be harmed. All the hard-line, Ted Cruz types will claim that Obama was just about to blink, and blame Boehner (and McConnell) for finally okaying a deal. So since Boehner would be blamed regardless, he ought to take the blame now and stop the shutdown. Why? Because it is his job to protect his caucus. Now, according to The Washington Post, “House Republicans said there was agreement to pass a clean spending bill to keep the government open.”
According to Ezra Klein, Boehner was facing “House conservatives [who] want to use an unusual parliamentary maneuver to launch a coup against [him].” And that was far more likely, regardless of how this went down. Again: a lot of House Republicans are infantile — they think if they just hold their breath long enough, they will get all the toys they’ve demanded. And you have to believe that managing these people is a total drag. After all, what the loons want is the same thing that Boehner wants. But they won’t even let him take a course that will move them in that direction. In a recent interview, Boehner claimed that he didn’t mind the job in a way that clearly indicated that he did, “Garbage men get used to the smell of bad garbage. Prisoners learn how to become prisoners, all right?”
Then, after Macro Rubio announced to the Values Voter Summit that Boehner was retiring, there was a “HUGE ovation.” Do these people really think that it was John Boehner who was stopping them from getting all their grandest wishes fulfilled? Apparently so. At Crooks & Liars this morning, Karoli reported, Limbaugh’s Latest Conspiracy Theory: Obama Hijacked All The Conservatives! On his list is, of course, John Boehner. It also includes John Roberts. This has long been a thing among conservatives: there are certain opinions and everyone must share them. I noticed in the mid-1980s that a conservative’s definition of “liberal” was simply “not conservative.”
The question is, what do all those cheering “values voters” think they are going to get now? The problem with John Boehner was not that he wasn’t conservative enough; the problem was reality. We don’t live in a dictatorship. And if we did, it is unlikely that the dictator would be ideologically pure enough for these loons anyway. The next Speaker will run into the same reality that Boehner did, and the usual suspects will soon be claiming that he is a squish and a RINO.