Boehner the Lost Clown

john boehnerYou might laugh to know that The New York Times reports that “Speaker John A. Boehner began a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Friday morning with a recitation of letters from local schoolchildren on how they deal with stress. A shower helps, one child counseled. So does a nap.”

A child’s help and advice is apropos for our embattled but intrepid Speaker, as his behavior has, to date, been absolutely childish.

Having steered the Republican clown car into a chasm as deep as the six-miles-to-the-bottom-drop of the Valles Marineris on Mars, lost clown John Boehner sees no way out but forward against a White House whose back he has put against a wall.

Boehner says he wants to negotiate but by negotiate he means unconditional surrender (their idea of compromise is best expressed here). And surrender for President Barack Obama means not only a personal defeat for his signature healthcare law, a law the American people say they want, but a diminution of Executive powers, not only for his own presidency but for all future presidencies.

Surrender would make the Executive Branch a permanent hostage of any House majority.

Needless to say, that isn’t what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they laid out their plan for the separation and balance of powers. Given Congress’ historically low approval ratings, it is not what American voters want now. Boehner insists he is acting on behalf of the American people, but the American people want the Affordable Healthcare Act and the American people do not want a government shutdown.

Boehner has ignored them on both counts.

It is what Republicans, who lost the last two national elections, and who seem bound and determined to lose a third, insist upon.

All the while, from 2010 till now, the House Republicans could have backed off, but impelled forward by unyielding ideology, fear of a fanaticism they themselves fueled, and a pornographic addiction to corporate money, they continued full-speed ahead, careless of the consequences, to which, in truth, they seem to have given little thought.

It is easy to blame Ted Cruz (and he certainly deserves blame), but John Boehner is supposedly the Speaker of the House and it falls upon him to guide and direct his wayward flock, something he has never been able to do. Bad as Republican driving skills have been since 2000, Cruz surpasses them all, yet it is Boehner who controlled the brakes, and he refused to apply them. He abrogated his authority, making Ted Cruz de facto speaker of the House and has become nothing but a cipher who blames everyone but himself for his present sorry state.

Unable to lead himself, he demands unconditional surrender of the one man in the country willing and able to lead: President Barack Obama. The man, coincidentally, elected by the majority of the American people – twice.

And what advice does Boehner have? What inspiring words for his troops? According to the Times,

“We are locked in an epic battle,” the speaker told his rank and file, those who attended the meeting said, urging them to “hang tough.”

Hang tough. The clown car is at the bottom of a six-mile deep canyon. Hang tough.

About 2,000 British soldiers troops and auxiliaries tried the hang tough thing at Isandlwana in 1879. But there were 20,000 very angry Zulus who had their backs against the wall. The calculus of such contests is easy.

As iPad’s Siri says in a recent Microsoft Surface commercial, “Oh snap!…This is not going to end well for me, is it? No, definitely not ending well.”

Her final, forlorn question is a meaningless appeal to vanity: “Do you still think I’m pretty?”

Boehner finds himself in a similar position and there is no hope of anyone, even fellow Republicans, outside of tea party fanatics, finding any of this pretty. His self-righteous attitudes, his blame-shifting – none of these fool Democrats and at this point, probably few independents given what polls say about who is responsible for the shut-down.

It is no secret any longer that Republicans have been planning this coup since 2010. As Harry Reid told Boehner with a laugh, it is all a show for Boehner’s benefit. So when the Speaker says “This isn’t some damn game. The American people don’t want their government shut down, and neither do I,” we should all be laughing. Because Boehner does want the government shut down. That has been the plan from the very beginning.

The Republican clown car and its orange-faced clown driver is lost and there is no way out. Boehner might want to consider the children’s advice: a hot shower, maybe a nap.

And then, whether it is today or tomorrow, or some day between now and 2014, he will be sent to his room without dinner, privileges lost, his keys taken away, there to wait for the ignominy he has been stumbling toward since the day he became Speaker of the House.

But he won’t be lonely. The tea party will be along to join him shortly.

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