John Boehner Tees Off On Conservatives

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What’s gotten into John Boehner? Or maybe better for the the Camel-puffing Boehner:  What’s he been smoking lately?

Since the beginning of April, the former Speaker of the House has been spoon feeding personal insults against conservatives to the liberal press. He seems to be relishing his starring role as attack dog for the mainstream media in its quest to destroy the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

A recent Mediaite headline screamed:  “Boehner explains his animosity and repeated attacks on Ted Cruz: ‘Lucifer in the Flesh.’ ”

That’s nasty stuff. And liberals are chortling about it. Appearing on television’s The View to pump his score-settling, self-justifying On the House: A Washington Memoir, Boehner reiterated his public “Lucifer” curse upon Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Mediaite summed up the Boehner romance with the left-wing TV talkfest hosts this way:  “After Boehner said that, Whoopi Goldberg whooped her approval — to which Speaker Boehner smiled broadly, in a made-for-TV moment that pleased all participants.”

The only thing missing was Boehner and The View liberals toasting each other while emptying one of the former Ohio congressman’s famed bottles of Merlot. 

Boehner, who did not even become a Republican until hitting middle age, now claims expertise over the entire history of the GOP. On Sunday, April 11, USA Today political writer Susan Page reported that Boehner “said Ronald Reagan wouldn’t recognize today’s GOP, defined by Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus, and he sure as hell couldn’t get elected in it.”

Needless to say, nothing could be further from the truth. In the 1960s and 1970s, Boehner’s Washington establishment predecessors were claiming that Reagan was unelectable because he was far too right-wing. President Reagan proved them wrong time and again, but he never managed to avoid the brickbats of the liberal media or the wishy-washy Boehner Republicans of his day.

To seal his deal with liberals, Boehner telegraphed the mandatory knocks against President Donald Trump, while sending love letters to Democrat presidents. Joe Biden is affectionately dubbed “Uncle Joe.” Not only did the pair serve in Congress together, but the two Catholic politicians were simultaneously awarded the prestigious Laetare Medal by the University of Notre Dame in 2016. 

On the other hand, “history,” according to Boehner, will not judge Trump well. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is “a good man,” and President Bill Clinton is “one of the the best politicians in my lifetime.” 

Boehner even goes so far as to beg forgiveness for his vote to impeach Clinton. “I regret it now,” he explained to his liberal interlocutor about the impeachment. “I regret that I didn’t fight against it.”

What Boehner doesn’t regret are his ill-tempered attacks upon members of the Republican Party, reserving special invective for the most reliably conservative ones. Sarah Palin, chosen by Senator John McCain as the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, is demeaned as “one of the chief crazies.” Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachman of Minnesota “made a name for herself as a lunatic.” Former Republican congressmen and White House chiefs of staff Mick Mulvaney and Mark Meadows are “bomb throwing jackasses.” 

Even a fellow Ohio congressman cannot avoid Boehner’s wrath. “I just never,” he said about Congressman Jim Jordan, “saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart.” 

In Boehner’s world-turned-upside-down, it’s the conservative Republicans who want “to tear things apart.” His enemies list includes Fox News, the “political terrorists” and “far-right knuckleheads” in the Congressional Freedom Caucus, and the Tea Party. Without the Tea Party and the energy it infused into the somnolent GOP ahead of the 2010 elections, John Boehner never would have gotten a whiff of the House Speaker’s office. Because of the Tea Party and other movement conservatives, a history-making 87 Republican freshmen were added to the House in the 2010 election. That, and that alone, catapulted John Boehner from ineffectual House minority leader to the Speakership.

Instead of showing an ounce of appreciation, Boehner tees off on the then-newly-elected Republican majority. He belittles them saying a GOP candidate could be a “total moron and get elected” that year.

Then he caps it all with his know-it-all condescending attitude toward his new colleagues in a book excerpt published in Politico. “I felt,” Boehner wrote, “I owed them a little tutorial on governing. I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way.”

In her USA Today profile, Susan Page noted President Obama’s equally condescending view of Boehner.  “He compared Boehner,” Page wrote, “to the state legislators he had known in Springfield, ‘regular guys who didn’t stray from the party line or the lobbyists who kept them in power.’ He depicted him as likable but ineffective.”

One imagines that after the recent outbursts, Boehner’s former GOP colleagues might depict him as neither likable nor effective.

It’s probably no surprise that Boehner’s proudest achievement in politics has nothing to do with conservatism, but rather involves collaborating with Senator Ted Kennedy to pass the so-called No-Child Left Behind Act that allegedly improved education in America. And it’s all too predictable that he personally liked and admired the liberal Democrat from Massachusetts.

Boehner has made the full transition from hardscrabble childhood to the consummate wine-and-cheese Washington insider. Today, he’s comfortable at private golf courses and country clubs, rather than at the family barroom where he worked as a youngster. Once the first member of his family to graduate college, he has now risen to the board of a medical marijuana company called Acreage Holdings. Recently, Boehner was promoted to honorary co-chairman of the National Cannabis Roundtable, a marijuana business lobbying group committed to “sensible regulation, criminal justice, social equity, and community re-investment,” while promising to create a million new jobs in the pot industry. 

Considering all the pent-up anti-conservative bile spewing from Boehner, it may be time for the former Speaker to have himself diagnosed for a medical marijuana prescription. At least it might take the edge off his virulent outbursts aimed exclusively at conservative Republicans.

Still, it would probably be wisest for the wine-loving Boehner to invest in a vineyard.

Or perhaps he already has.


Joseph Tortelli is a freelance writer. Read other columns by Mr. Tortelli here.


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