Tag Archives: boehner

In Boehner we trust

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We will not go over the “fiscal cliff.”  That’s my prediction anyway.  I don’t make predictions often.  As I often tell people, I am NOT clairvoyant.  I cannot read minds or see the future.  I do have pretty good political instincts, probably from working in or near politics for 90 percent of my life.  I am no Chuck Todd but not too far away.

In any case, I do not believe we will go over the all too arbitrary and Congress created “fiscal cliff.”  This is partly because President Obama was reelected.  It was partly because the Democrats kept the Senate.  With that in mind, our collective future rests in the hands of one man; Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Oh).  Yes, the man who refused to use the word “compromise” on national television last year will be the one who forces his caucus to do just that.

First I need to have my own “Sister Souljah moment” (she once had an office down the hall from mine at RCA Victor, true story).  The Tea Party makes for a great target as to why Washington seems incapable of getting anything done but they are a response to that inaction, not the cause of it.  Our Congressional districts are becoming more and more polarized, resulting in more and more extreme representatives — remember, Congress is very much a mirror.  If you don’t like what you see in Washington, you probably don’t like what you see when you look around you.  It’s become too easy to blame one group or another for our collective failure to pay attention and act on what happens.

So, here we are.  On the brink of yet another economic crisis.  Europe has already gone back into recession (And we think that same austerity will work here?  Are we that stupid, Joe Scarborough?).  The great menace that is China has an economy that is slowing down.  I am no economist but running a government on nothing but stop-gap continuing resolutions is not a way to run a government, when exactly was a full round of appropriations bills passed?  Yeah, if you have to scratch your head at that one it has been too damn long.  See?  I am still a bitter cynic.

Yet, because Boehner is the speaker of the House and not someone like, I dunno, Eric “Dr. No” Cantor or Paul “I ran the marathon in under a minute” Ryan.  Take home message:  he is reasonable.  Now, I would like to have a second “moment.” I believe that everyone who gets into public life is a patriot.  Maybe a power hungry, egomaniac but also a patriot.  I do not think Cantor or Ryan want to see the country fail, I just don’t think they are seasoned enough to understand the value of compromise.

Who is this John Boehner?  His upbringing is nothing like Mitt Romney‘s.  He has 11 siblings.  He grew up in a two bedroom house.  Yes, that’s right 14 people lived in a house with two bedrooms and one bathroom.  He started working in his father’s bar when he was eight.  If anyone gets the hardship brought on by recession, it’s John Boehner.  He currently rents a basement apartment on Capitol Hill (really, his favorite restaurant is my favorite Italian place on the Hill).

Now I am no fan.  In 2007, I worked a communications director for a Democratic member of Congress.  One night there was a vote at about 1:00 am (we were still in the office, eyes glued to C-Span.  The Democrats still had the House then and the man in the Chair was a D.  He called the vote wrong — some members had not voted when he thought they had.  It was bad.  Steny Hoyer called for the vote to be held a second time and it was but the Republicans stormed out.  The bill they disliked passed.  The next day Hoyer asked Boehner to hold off on going to the Ethics Committee until they had looked into it.  Boehner agreed (this was on the floor) but had actually already submitted a complaint with that committee.  For years, that just got my craw (is that a real phrase?).  Seriously, I thought that was crazily underhanded.  Now, I have forgiven him.

What else do you need to know about John Boehner?  He tried to lead a “coup” against Newt Gingrich.  He smokes enough that you can smell him from a block away.  He is a really conservative guy, though religious conservatives complain he is motivated more by small government conservatism than the issues that matter to them.  I am not sure how he could be more conservative on same sex marriage, abortion and other things but I am not a social, fiscal or any kind of conservative so I am not the one to judge that.  The conservative Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote this about him. The Plain Dealer says Boehner can “disagree without being disagreeable.” We need more of that in the world but even that is not going to save us from fiscal armageddon.

We will avoid the “cliff” because John Boehner is reasonable.  We will lose the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year or more.  We will lower corporate tax rates but raise the top two rates to what they were under President Bill Clinton (you remember those horrible recession years, oh right, we had a great economy then) to 36 and 39 percent.  We will make a pledge to deal with entitlements, though the actual changes won’t happen right away (sorry young people, the retirement age will go up, if not this year, sometime before you retire. Seriously, it has to.).

Don’t worry family, I am still the bitter cynic you know and love.  Don’t believe it?  I still wear only black.

Of tea, democracy and litmus tests

Dear Tea Party,

Over the course of the last month people all over the world have come out to protest the economic injustice that is our current reality. It reminds me of another group of people who felt disenfranchised and disappointed with the way our government operates and they did similar things.

So, I have to ask – why all the hate? Look, I will admit that I am very much in favor of the #occupyny protests and it is inspiring that these have spouted up in cities across the globe. It truly warms my heart and I will go to at least one protest (Something I rarely do. The last real protest I attended was in front of the Supreme Court in 2000). I also admit that I do not support The Tea Party. I think refusing to compromise and work with colleagues on the other side of the aisle is one of the biggest problems our Congress faces. We simply cannot threaten to shut th government down every few months. (It also costs a lot more because agencies cannot truly function well when they get funded this way.)

Having admitting all of that, your protests warmed my heart as much as these do. I love to see people get involved and make their voice heard by their government. The First Amendment is one of my favorite parts of the Constitution. It doesn’t only apply to people who agree with me. I may not like what you are saying but you have every right to.

The idea that we all have litmus tests for who we think has a right to protest and who does not is really troubling to me. When you start down the road that someone can arbitrarily decide who gets to speak and who cannot, well, that’s the day we lose one of the things that makes this such a great country.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Tea Party

I have changed my mind about the Tea Party.

Their constant references to my favorite period of history (Note to Governor Palin: amazing things happened during that period that need no embellishment, Paul Revere’s ride was pretty awesome without guns and a farce about “warning the British” and Congresswoman Bachmann: read some history before telling New Hampshire how the ‘shot heard ’round the world’ happened there) still piss me off. Because they get the facts wrong — seriously, how many times can I quote Senator Moynihan before it sickens even me? (“You have the right to your own opinion but not your own facts.”)

And true, your extreme and contradictory views of reality, history and ideology trouble me still. I don’t think you can “pray away the gay” (how ironic is is that Dr. Bachmann, well, you know…), nor do I think the 2008 election heralded the beginning of the ‘end of days’ and I don’t think just because someone disagrees with me they are anti-American.

And yet, I am impressed. You have made me feel badly for Speaker Boehner. Wow. You are the Christine O’Donnell of political “parties.” Ps. Even she is not a fan of Michele Bachmann. She once said, and I quote, “We should chance the phrase ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ to ‘fact checking Michele Bachmann.” Me-Ow!

With the 2012 elections around the corner, I am glad they are around. They are making life really hard for the other Republicans in the House. A big block of them have said they won’t support the Speaker’s debt ceiling increase plan. Seriously, how much does that sting? You are the Speaker of the House, you go on national TV and give a speech about how great your plan is and then found your own caucus won’t support it. And he’s between a rock and a hard place. He needs Democrats to pass a plan but any compromise he reaches with them will cost him the Speakership. So, from a purely political, campaign perspective, I love the Tea Party.

The problem is that we are facing a possible financial catastrophe. Lawrence O’Donnell was right — the “Tea Party” freshmen don’t understand this is bigger than their campaigns. It’s bigger than this Congress. It’s bigger than the Obama Presidency.

Oh, one other jab at the GOP and the Speaker — does anyone else see an irony in their recent statements? They claim this should be about “Americans keeping their jobs, not politicians.” They simultaneously claim they cannot compromise because they will be breaking their campaign promises and we can all see why the Speaker is not compromising — and in other circumstances, I think he would but being Speaker of the House is a good gig. Irony!

Maybe this is the real apocalypse that preacher was talking about a few months back…