04.28.2014 0

Boehner’s Disdain Spells Trouble

John BoehnerBy Rick Manning

Every once in a while, a politician feels comfortable enough to share his/her inner thoughts about colleagues, issues and the grassroots, usually this only occurs when that politician is leaving office or no longer cares if he/she is re-elected.

Speaker of the House John Boehner had that kind of purging moment in Madison Township, Ohio speaking before the Middletown Rotary Club, hardly the venue where one would expect news to be made.

We now know what John Boehner really thinks of his Republican colleagues, and those Americans who gave him a chance to be Speaker in 2010.

On the issues front, Boehner, who faces three primary opponents, revealed that out of all the problems facing the nation, the one that he is willing to go to the wall to achieve is immigration reform.  Apparently tired of fighting the Senate Democrats and President Obama, Boehner has decided that his own Republican Conference members and the Republican base that gave him the Speaker’s gavel in 2010 is the enemy he must overcome to achieve his legacy.

By revealing his fealty to the giant corporate and elitist interests like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the K Street corporate lobbying machine, as well as Nancy Pelosi and her quest for a permanent electoral majority, Boehner made clear what most had suspected for a long while.  The man who was at best a reluctant warrior in the battle to reduce the size and scope of government is willing to risk power for his drinking buddy’s corporate interests.

For instance, while the Speaker crowed to the crowd about the budget deficit being reduced, he failed to note that the reductions came only after the pushing and cajoling by the very limited government activists that he holds in such disdain.

The Speaker fails to remember that in his first budget fight with Obama, when he had the good will of his Conference and the base, he announced major budget cuts and was hailed a hero.  However, when the dust settled on his first budget deal, the real cuts to federal outlays totaled less than one billion dollars, and the trust was broken.

Ever since that fateful decision, every real budget cut has been hard earned by the conservative wing of his Conference and the Republican base that has demanded it.  Forcing a tepid Boehner into battle after battle has resulted in federal government on-budget outlays being reduced by a mere 82 billion dollars since his term as Speaker began in 2011, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Revenues on the other hand have skyrocketed in his years with the gavel, up by a whopping 613 billion dollars, cutting the federal budget deficit in half.

Yet, Boehner in his infamous Rotary Club speech chose to attack the knowledge of grassroots activists saying, “They probably don’t know that total federal spending in each of the last two years has been reduced, the first time since 1950.”

Of course, what Boehner fails to mention is that the reductions were from the record high federal on-budget outlay level, that occurred his first year as Speaker.

The fiscal policy debate aside, Boehner’s Washington, D.C. world has forever changed post-Rotary Club speech.  He attacked his Republican colleagues, sounding more like Senator Chuck Schumer than the Republican elected Speaker.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Boehner said the following about those who elected him to lead them, “Here’s the attitude.  Ohhhh.  Don’t make me do this.  Ohhhh.  This is too hard.  We get elected to make choices.  We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues don’t want to … They’ll take the path of least resistance.”

How does he go back to those middle of the road colleagues now?  It wasn’t the Republican Conference members who have taken hard stands on issues that he was insulting; it was those Members who have been the core of his support for Speaker.  He was publicly chastising the Members who are a vested part of the D.C. establishment but still have a healthy fear of their conservative electorate.

In one speech, Boehner managed to express his disdain and outright contempt for both the voters his political party needs to hold their majority in 2015, and those congressmen who he needs if he hopes to be the Speaker next year.

On April 24, 2014, John Boehner’s Republican speakership effectively ended – a rare public self-immolation for a man who has spent his career craving power, but didn’t know what to do with it, once he achieved it.

Now, for those supporting limited government principles, he is the most dangerous man in D.C.  Freed from the need to worry about any more than twenty members of his own Conference, he can cut deals with Pelosi, Reid and Obama at will, effectively turning the House over to their rule.

The only question that remains is will his own overwhelming desire to try to hold onto power hide the realities of his post-Rotary Club situation.  In this case, blind ambition might be America’s best chance.

The author is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government

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