IN THE HOUSE Image Speaker JohnBoehner looks back on his career, October 28, 2015. Credit ... Stephen Crowley / The Hfrance.fr
A memoir from Washington
By John Boehner
The memoirs of former Speaker of the House John Boehner do not miss. Written in its folkloric fashion, "On the House" is certainly more "disturbing" than the classic "halls of power" tales, as boehner calls it.
Among the many colorful stories, we learn that Boehner once saw Donald Trump, before his presidency, attack a member of staff during his a round of golf for confusing the names of the other two members of their quartet. North C Arolina Republican Mark Meadows once got down on his knees to plead Boehner 's forgiveness after voting against his re-election as president in 2013. We are getting reports from inities on the political battles over No Child Left Behind, the economic recovery and the Affordable Care Act. Of course, there are the compulsory lessons learned from Boehner's high school football coach.
But as a work of history, the book is incomplete. More importantly, Boehner fails to recognize the role his generation of Republicans played in building the bridge from Ronald Reagan's time to the present day.
Boehner, whom the House elected speaker in 2011, is exactly the kind of white, blue-collar man the party aspires to attract. Raised in a small town in Ohio, one of 12 children, Boehner grew up in humble circumstances. He started working at his father's shot-and-a-beer tavern when he was 8 years old. Linebacker on his high school football team and a graduate of Xavier University, where he worked as a janitor to earn money, he evolvede in the plastics industry while also serving in the Ohio Legislature. He was motivated by a desire to defend small government, lower taxes and deregulation.
Boehner was one of the Republicans inspired by the famous bands advising Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich about running for office. In 1990, he defeated scandal-plagued outgoing Republican Donald "Buz" Lukens to represent Ohio's Eighth District. After the House elected Gingrich as president in 1995, Boehner was president of the Republican Conference until the Conservatives ousted them both in 1998. Known for his chain smoking, drinking and drinking. tendency to cry, Boehner returned to power in 2006 when the Republicans chose him. as the leader of the majority. Boehner is determined to tell the story of a party that wasextremely diff since her current incarnation, at least until Sarah Palin became the party's running mate in 2008.
Many readers who experienced Boehner in action in the early 1990s may not remember him as being so different from the Tea Party insurgents. Upon entering the House, he joined a group of young conservatives who promoted a dangerous style of shattering partisanship that ignored traditional standards of governance. Using C-SPAN and radio as a platform, Boehner lined up behind Gingrich as he called on the party to drop concerns about bipartisanship and comity in order to gain power. They militarized the rules of ethics and criminalized the standard elements of the legislative process to bludgeon Democrats as a corrupt majority.
The Boehner cohort has developedrmee like reformers determined to make Congress a better place. In 1991, he used a report that some members wrote bad checks through the House Bank system to attack Democrats, downplaying the fact that many Republicans, including Gingrich, had done the same. Most lawmakers hadn't broken any ethical rules or broken the laws, but Boehner and his allies made it look so.
Senior lawmakers saw these renegades (Boehner prefers the term "activists") as threatening their ability to govern. Boehner admits that the only reason Republicans voted to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 was because Majority Whip Tom "The Hammer" DeLay had promised it "would win us all those seats in the House. Image
The fact that partisanship, rather that reform was driving its actions quickly became clear at the time. Boehner, who is now a lobbyist for the cannabis industry, allayed most of his concerns about political civility after coming to power Republicans in 1994. He himself emerged at the center of the nexus between private money, corporate lobbyists and political parties.
It wasn't just that Boehner took money and hired staff from interest groups. He was part of the Republican leadership that started the famous K Street project, which created a revolving door between lobbyists and party loyalists.When the best staff left their jobs, they were immediately hired by business groups.interest who relied on them to gain access to Capitol Hill; as a Republican leader, Boehner played his part. He led the Thursday group, which brought together lobbyists and lawmakers. In 1996, Boehner was caught handing out campaign checks from the tobacco industry in the House just as industry subsidies were being considered; Boehner dismisses the incident, saying times were different.
No real reform. Boehner's commitment to the issues was also not very pure. He denounced higher debt when Democrats were in the White House, less when George W. Bush was president.
The former president is determined to wipe his hands off the radicals who now dominate his party. The thesis draws a wedge between the Republi can universes before and after 2008. “None of us were crazy - well theMost of us weren't anyway - and we also knew our limits, ”he notes. Even in 2009, he insists, the bones of the traditional party were still there. Boehner says there was a "group" of Republicans who would have voted for Obama's stimulus bill if only he had consulted them. This argument comes from a leader whose Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell has promised to make Obama a term president. It also twists an administration that has gone overboard, to the dismay of the Liberals, to negotiate with a party bent on obstruction.
The artificiality of this
Indeed, Boehner is a prime example of how the Republican establishment has made peace with power-seeking extremists. Describing the Young Conservatives in 2008, he shows he understood what it was all about, referring to the "Crazytown" Republicans who tried that year to overthrow President Bush's stimulus package. And two years later, he recalls, “you could be a total jerk and get elected just by having an R next to your name. ” Yet during that same campaign, Boehner helped provide a financial support for the Tea Party candidates and hailed them as "the latest example of how the Tea Party movement has done a great service to this nation". Although Boehner continued to be haunted by memories of his right-wing ousting in 1998, he knew that butcontrolling the rage could be an effective tactic. Image John Boehner Credit ... The Freedom Project
It 's Boehner, Obama recalls in his recent memoir, who has for the first raised the threat of not raising the debt ceiling in 2011 - a sweeping move that would have sent the nation into default. When Republicans held the debt ceiling vote hostage again in 2013, demanding that Democrats repeal Obamacare, Boehner stood by their side although he thought it was an idea. " dumb". He agreed to shut down the government to please the Tea Party. As Bo's chief of staff admittedehner, Mike Sommers, "We fed the beast that ate us. " In 2015, he resigned as the Tea Party tried to oust him.
Boehner is so invested in seeing the Tea Party as an aberration that he goes to great lengths to explain the "chaos caucus" through the prism biased on both sides-ism. After describing the madness of the birther movement, Boehner goes on to say that the "pisions were also obama's fault for being too" haughty "and refusing to engage in" proximity action ".
But until Republicans recognize how they helped radicalize the party, there is little hope that it will transform. Boehner's memoir is an x-ray i in the minds of Reagan-era Republicans who did whatever it took to win and now see the high cost of their decisions.