This absolutely stunning apologia by former US House Speaker John Boehner is both truth-revealing and overwhelmingly despicable. You must read it for his behind-the-scenes views of the Republican Party's slide, and then plummet, into turpitude, treason and insanity. He blames - with real cause - Rupert Murdoch and the Kochs and Mercers and Sinclair Radio Nuremberg Rallies, without ever going into the puppet-master roles played first by the Saudis - (who have always owned and operated the Bush family) - and later Vladimir Putin.
So what's Boehner's self-defense, now? Paraphrasing from his book, On the House: A Washington Memoir: "I stayed in order to be a moderating influence." The same excuse given by so many of Donald Trump's enablers, and that Spencer Tracy demolished so well, in JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG.
It doesn't wash. Even slightly. Of the four pre-Trump GOP Speakers, Newt Gingrich set the stage, but demonstrably did at least want to legislate. Newt worked with Bill Clinton to get Welfare Reform and budget surpluses and at least a few modernizing bills passed. Gingrich trashed all the Congressional resources - like OTA - that questioned dogmatic "truthy" falsehoods. (And he later went completely insane.) But at least as Speaker he made some deals and he also appropriated money for non-policy science.
The Republican Party was not yet at open war against every fact-using profession, from science, teaching, journalism, civil service and law to the "deep state" men and women who won the Cold War and the War on Terror.
For all of those reasons, the increasingly crazy GOP jettisoned Newt (whose "Contract With America" is a case study of how to do polemical politics successfully) in favor of Dennis "friend to boys" Hastert, a man of such stunning evil that I won't even begin to describe, but whose "Hastert Rule" declared utter vengeance on any Republican officer holder who ever again negotiated in good faith - or even socialized - with a Democrat. Thus, explicitly and openly, the GOP became the party that deliberately killed bipartisan politics as a way that adults might sometimes find common ground to act on behalf of a nation and civilization.
Gingrich, Hastert, Boehner and Ryan, all were utterly committed to transforming the America that was riding at its zenith in 1994 into an insular, oligarchy-run backwater devoted above all to the protection and enhancement of aristocratic-inherited privilege. (I'll save Paul Ryan for last. He was the smoothest of a wretched series and I wager has 'plans.')
Let's be clear. With the exception of Pelosi's brief 111th Congress, all the others since 95 were GOP run - despite losing all but once the popular vote - and all of them - including all of Boehner's terms as Speaker - were the LAZIEST and most unproductive legislative sessions in American history, setting records for low numbers of hearings (except Clinton witch hunts), bills proposed or passed (except firehosings of $trillions at open, aristocratic maws), and corruption and sexual perversion.
For John Boehner - Hastert's successor - to come before us now with a "tell-all" is simultaneously welcome (an interesting read) and contemptibly self-serving. His whine that a radicalized 'tea party" clade of radicals terrorized the party leadership is laughable! That radicalization (through threats of primary election challenges) could have been staunched simply by ENDING GERRYMANDERING and restoring electoral importance to the General Election, when a district's moderate majority might defend a moderate representative.
Boehner could have restored - single-handedly - some science advisory staff to credibly challenge outright lies and coach GOP reps how to be conservative without denying the existence of objective reality. (See my proposals for how this could be part of a way to end the war on facts.)
Boehner had the power, at any time, to tell Rupert Murdoch "Go back to 'fair and balanced' or I will go to the People and tell all. And I'll do it now, in the 90s and Oughts... when it might actually do some good, instead of waiting till 2021 when the nation teeters and civil discourse has been shredded."
His explanation for why he put Michelle Bachman on the Intelligence Committee, where that fizzing loco and likely Kremlin agent had access to high US secrets, is the most spectacular piece of rationalization I have seen, in a long time. And his top complaint about Barack Obama -- "He could come off as lecturing and haughty" -- is doggie doo of the purest odor, redolent of the final redoubt of this mad Confederate campaign of outright treason --
-- which is spite toward all our expert and knowledge castes (name one exception). It's the good-old-boy reflex that has metastacized into hatred of anyone who knows anything and can speak in coherent sentences. A self-destructive curse that delights all our enemies, shatters every American strength and thatJohn Boehner did everything in his power to spread. Setting the stage for Donald Trump.
"Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me."
Oh fuck off you stunning piece of work! You shambolic excuse-maker, still refusing to make amends with real courage.
I will say this in John Boehner's favor. That he issued this self-serving masturbatory "who me?" apologia at all does show one thing...
... that he is not one of a majority of top DC republicans who is either a known pervert or under someone's blackmail thumb. If he were, he'd have been ordered not to do this. And hence we can be pretty sure he was at least a half-decent husband and father.
I'll grant that seems likely. But that is all that I will grant this truly wretched betrayer of the nation he was supposed to love.
Oh, Paul Ryan? For a while there a consensus pointed at him being the Republican Party's once and future prince. I expect he'll still try to do what Mitt Romney cannot - patch together a GOP winning alliance out of Trumpism and Foxite populaism and millions of 'ostriches' who are disgusted with the Trump era, but eager to mumble, with their heads buried in denial "that's all over, now. And Liberals are worse. Liberals are worse. Liberals are worse. Liberals are worse. Liberals are worse. Liberals are worse."