Sunday, November 11, 2012

The toughest job in DC: Speaker of the House

I don't envy John Boehner. 

True story: last year we were staying at Disney World's Grand Floridian and my buddy (whose son was the reason for the trip) and I were at the only smoking bar at the resort. I was having my usual Beefeater on the rocks and contemplating a fat maduro-wrapped selection when in comes an entourage of tall men in black suits and the Speaker looking all orange-tan as he lit up his cigarette.

"You guys secret service?" I asked one young gentleman in a black suit.

"Umm, yeah," he grunted.

I add, "Man, the president is a lot darker than he looks on TV."

A couple of them look at me, give the crook eye, and the only African-American one laughs.

I fire up my stogie and lean back to blow some smoke rings.

But Boehner seems like a decent guy in person. He was gracious to the vacationers who came up to shake his hand and get pictures taken. He comes from a working class background and probably has a better understanding of the nation's plight than most people in Washington.

The New York Times has a story about how the Speaker has called on the House to get into line and work with the president on pressing issues such as the fiscal cliff. Elections have consequences and the Democrats won; holding the nation hostage does nobody any good. This is what Boehner has to deal with:

"What we've seen in the past is the speaker goes, negotiates with the president, and just before we vote, he tells us what the deal is and attempts to persuade us to vote for it," said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana. "We're just not very happy with deals being baked, then we're asked to stay with the team and support the speaker."

Mr Fleming is "not happy." Please get over yourself. Were any of us happy when the previous administration bankrupted the nation with wars and Medicare Part D and unpaid-for tax cuts? Were any of us happy with TARP bailout deals that were made in smoke-filled rooms? Were we happy when the GOP balked at raising the debt ceiling, spooking the capital markets and lowering the US credit rating?

The nation didn't buy the Republican bull shit that Obama caused the recession. We know what caused the recession and it's about time Mr Fleming figures it out too. Trickle down tax voo-doo doesn't create jobs just like birth control doesn't cause abortion and playing chicken with the fiscal issues due in 5 weeks is not going to be tolerated.

Most of the media seem to feel very comfortable telling Mr Obama how he should run his second term. That's crap. I'm going to do something different: I'm going to put this on Boehner. It's his turn to step up and do the right thing.

Mr Boehner is charged with herding these imbeciles into some coherent type of voting block. He knows that if he fucks up he will be held accountable. The president has made the initial gambit by asking the GOP to sign off on maintaining middle class tax cuts a priori, something everyone agrees on, but it seems even that is unacceptable to the wingnut branch of the Republican party. Why? I dunno, maybe because the President said it.  

Boehner will have to do what's right for the country, something he should have done years ago, and alienate the nutjobs in his own party. Fiscal cliff legislation can pass with a few House GOP votes and Boehner will have to split his caucus for the sake of legislating instead of his usual stonewalling. It was fun for a while, but now it's time to stop.

It's a tough job, Mr Speaker, man up and do it. 

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