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In a mind-blowing display of dissociation, John Boehner said on Tuesday, “The president said today if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us . . . That’s not the way our government works.” (Emphasis mine).

boehner government shutdown

When I finished cleaning up the coffee that I spit on my computer screen while reading that quote, it occurred to me, calmly, rationally (well, between primal screams, that is) that Boehner is probably not the best one to be lecturing the American public about how government works; it’s like getting relationship counseling from a serial killer. In fact, let’s talk a little bit about that whole “give us everything we want or we’ll detonate the bomb that blows up the economy” thing.

Here’s a lesson in how government works, how to attain political goals, in two words, well, six, actually: Win elections. Become the majority party.

Boehner has what appears to be a desperate desire to hold on to his Speaker position; nothing else accounts for the reason why a seasoned politician, which he is, would make such bone-headed moves. He may have a theory that the tea party caucus will allow him to remain House Speaker if he backs them up on this lunacy, but in practice, Boehner is trying to make wagers with really unstable people who are stuck on non-negotiable; he’s trying to trust people who are intrinsically untrustworthy. And while he’s going through all these machinations and all this crazy-making and all this posturing about “compromise” and “negotiation,” the majority of the American public is watching him, drop-jawed and mystified.

In the movie My Cousin Vinny, Judge Chamberlain Haller told an inexperienced but stubborn Vinny,“Once again, the communication process has broken down between us. It appears to me that you want to skip the arraignment process, go directly to trial, skip that, and get a dismissal. Well, I’m not about to revamp the entire judicial process just because you find yourself in the unique position of defending clients who say they didn’t do it.”

That little exchange resonated. After all, substitute a few words, and you have the Republican agenda, in a nutshell: “Once again, the communication process has broken down between us. It appears that you want to skip the election process, go directly to presiding, skip that, and control the entire damn government. Well, I’m not about to revamp the entire electoral system just because you find yourself in the unique position of wanting things you don’t have the power to obtain.”

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The Senate has votedfor a “clean” continuing resolution, the funding of the government without Obamacare strings attached. The President will sign it. But the hold-up is the House of Representatives (or, as the President put it, a minority of the minority party in the House) and, of course, House Speaker John Boehner. John Boehner is being led by the tea party caucus in the House, and because he’s in the grip of the demented fringe, for whatever reason, Boehner refuses to bring a clean CR to the floor for a vote. He says the Republican votes aren’t there, but won’t allow a vote to prove it. (Call me crazy, but isn’t voting on stuff and majorities ruling and all of that part of the government working thing?) But in Boehner’s mind, simply allowing a floor vote on the clean CR – whether it would pass or not – would be an “unconditional surrender.” In fact, 22 Republicans have indicated they would vote for an Obamacare-free clean CR if it were put to a floor vote. Boehner refuses.

So here we are, back to Boehner’s version of how government works. In the la-la land where he resides, government by the people and for the people means a few wackos in the nation’s minority party get to upend legitimate laws, stall the economy while they work through their personal vendettas, threaten global calamity, and argue internally over what this battle is even about. For the rest of us, government by the people and for the people means that if Republicans want to make sweeping changes, they need to win a presidential election (they lost – big-time – twice), take control of the Senate (they won’t), keep control of the House (they probably won’t), and follow the rules that were put in place specifically to prohibit a minority party from being able to take that which they are incapable of attaining through normal electoral channels.

[/dc]I[/dc]f John Boehner had the slightest clue about how the government works, he’d listen to the American people, who overwhelmingly reject the Republicans’ reckless approach to getting their way. If he cared even remotely about how the government works, he’d bring the clean CR to a floor vote and let it shake out. His completely unhinged position makes me wonder if he owes money to a loan shark and this is the payment in lieu of cash, or if somebody has pictures involving him and, I don’t know, goats or something.


Honestly, little else makes any sense at all.

Julie Driscoll
Smoking Hot Politics

Wednesday, 8 October 2013