A Conservative Waterloo: John Boehner Must Go

It is time to stop thinking of John Boehner and the rest of the Republican congressional leadership as being cowardly and recognize them for what they are: part of The Ruling Class that believes it has the right to tell the rest of us how to live.

Since conservative voters handed a majority in the House of Representatives to the Republican Party in 2010, there have been countless missteps and opportunities to stop Democrats.  It began with that first lame duck session when Republicans gave Obama some victories that eventually boosted his popularity and washed away the memory of the landslide victory that had just occurred the month before.  Among these “accomplishments” was the dubious START, a missile treaty that one could argue emboldened Vladimir Putin.

Four years later, after seemingly countless battles where Boehner and company caved to Democrat demands, the conventional wisdom has been that Boehner and the like are cowards who are unwilling to take on an African-American president out of fear that they will be called racists.  Now, however, following revelations that Boehner and the rest of the leadership lied to GOP caucus members to secure passage of the so-called CRomnibus bill, it is now clear that Boehner and his ilk are not cowards.  No, it’s much worse than that.  They are complicit in this continual boondoggle.  Perhaps the Republican congressional leadership agrees with Jonathan Gruber that Americans are just too stupid to stop what they’re doing.

In light of this latest betrayal, Angelo Codevilla’s analysis of American politics is even more relevant.  In his book The Ruling Class, Codevilla claims that Democrats and Republicans are part of a ruling class that seeks to maintain and expand their power over the “Country Class.”  Who is the Country Class?  That would be you and I, dear reader.  We’ve been had.  However, at least we now know where John Boehner truly stands: with Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

This all reminds me of that fantastic Warner Brothers cartoon where “Ralph Wolf” and “Sam Sheepdog” meet up at a time clock.  They speak congenially with one another, wishing one another a good day.  Upon clocking in, however, the two assume their natural roles: Ralph tries to catch a sheep, while Sam tries to stop him.  Sam basically beats the crap out of Ralph for the duration of the cartoon, but they eat lunch together, and when the two clock out at the end of their shift, they once again assume their cordial relationship.

The analogy is clear: GOP leaders appear to doggedly oppose Democrats’ agenda, but in reality, they are complicit in it.  It is all political kabuki theater that is meant to assuage Tea Party anger and give the impression that Obama is being stopped.  However, and it is not just clear – it’s right in our face with neon lights – that we are being duped.

For example, the national debt has continued to climb, even after the GOP took over the House, arguably the most powerful political body when it comes to spending.  This is possible only because the House allowed for multiple raisings of the debt ceiling.  And what did they get in return?  Nothing.  Nothing notable, that is.  An average undergrad poli sci major could tell you that if you have political leverage, you should use it.  However, this assumes that Boehner and the like want things to change.  I am now convinced...finally...after giving them the benefit of the doubt for years, that they really want to turn this ship around.  Instead, they want to slow the ship down so it doesn’t hit the iceberg as hard as the Democrats seem to want it to.

I recently had a very illustrative conversation with a colleague, who is a very ardent moderate Republican.  He actually said that Republicans should seek to give citizens “more bang for their buck” in services.  Not streamline and cut, but maximize the utility.  This is the mentality that conservatives are up against.  Meanwhile, employment and wages are stagnant, as are real economic growth and opportunity.  However, I’m here to argue that this can change, and all it will take is the courage of 29 souls.

The current GOP leadership has got to go; this has ceased to be an arguable point.  We cannot count on these people to do what is right.  Conservatives did not give them majorities in both chambers for them to keep playing the same game.  

To retain his position as speaker of the House, John Boehner must receive 218 votes, which is a simple majority.  There will be 246 Republicans in the House in the 114th Congress.  This means that 29 Republicans must state that under no circumstances will they vote for John Boehner for the speakership.  Yes, there are stories of bribery and intimidation by the leadership, but this point in history has to be the conservative caucus’s Alamo.  They must stand here.  If they don’t...well...I don’t even want to think about what will happen.

Layne Hansen is a Ph.D. student in political science.

It is time to stop thinking of John Boehner and the rest of the Republican congressional leadership as being cowardly and recognize them for what they are: part of The Ruling Class that believes it has the right to tell the rest of us how to live.

Since conservative voters handed a majority in the House of Representatives to the Republican Party in 2010, there have been countless missteps and opportunities to stop Democrats.  It began with that first lame duck session when Republicans gave Obama some victories that eventually boosted his popularity and washed away the memory of the landslide victory that had just occurred the month before.  Among these “accomplishments” was the dubious START, a missile treaty that one could argue emboldened Vladimir Putin.

Four years later, after seemingly countless battles where Boehner and company caved to Democrat demands, the conventional wisdom has been that Boehner and the like are cowards who are unwilling to take on an African-American president out of fear that they will be called racists.  Now, however, following revelations that Boehner and the rest of the leadership lied to GOP caucus members to secure passage of the so-called CRomnibus bill, it is now clear that Boehner and his ilk are not cowards.  No, it’s much worse than that.  They are complicit in this continual boondoggle.  Perhaps the Republican congressional leadership agrees with Jonathan Gruber that Americans are just too stupid to stop what they’re doing.

In light of this latest betrayal, Angelo Codevilla’s analysis of American politics is even more relevant.  In his book The Ruling Class, Codevilla claims that Democrats and Republicans are part of a ruling class that seeks to maintain and expand their power over the “Country Class.”  Who is the Country Class?  That would be you and I, dear reader.  We’ve been had.  However, at least we now know where John Boehner truly stands: with Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

This all reminds me of that fantastic Warner Brothers cartoon where “Ralph Wolf” and “Sam Sheepdog” meet up at a time clock.  They speak congenially with one another, wishing one another a good day.  Upon clocking in, however, the two assume their natural roles: Ralph tries to catch a sheep, while Sam tries to stop him.  Sam basically beats the crap out of Ralph for the duration of the cartoon, but they eat lunch together, and when the two clock out at the end of their shift, they once again assume their cordial relationship.

The analogy is clear: GOP leaders appear to doggedly oppose Democrats’ agenda, but in reality, they are complicit in it.  It is all political kabuki theater that is meant to assuage Tea Party anger and give the impression that Obama is being stopped.  However, and it is not just clear – it’s right in our face with neon lights – that we are being duped.

For example, the national debt has continued to climb, even after the GOP took over the House, arguably the most powerful political body when it comes to spending.  This is possible only because the House allowed for multiple raisings of the debt ceiling.  And what did they get in return?  Nothing.  Nothing notable, that is.  An average undergrad poli sci major could tell you that if you have political leverage, you should use it.  However, this assumes that Boehner and the like want things to change.  I am now convinced...finally...after giving them the benefit of the doubt for years, that they really want to turn this ship around.  Instead, they want to slow the ship down so it doesn’t hit the iceberg as hard as the Democrats seem to want it to.

I recently had a very illustrative conversation with a colleague, who is a very ardent moderate Republican.  He actually said that Republicans should seek to give citizens “more bang for their buck” in services.  Not streamline and cut, but maximize the utility.  This is the mentality that conservatives are up against.  Meanwhile, employment and wages are stagnant, as are real economic growth and opportunity.  However, I’m here to argue that this can change, and all it will take is the courage of 29 souls.

The current GOP leadership has got to go; this has ceased to be an arguable point.  We cannot count on these people to do what is right.  Conservatives did not give them majorities in both chambers for them to keep playing the same game.  

To retain his position as speaker of the House, John Boehner must receive 218 votes, which is a simple majority.  There will be 246 Republicans in the House in the 114th Congress.  This means that 29 Republicans must state that under no circumstances will they vote for John Boehner for the speakership.  Yes, there are stories of bribery and intimidation by the leadership, but this point in history has to be the conservative caucus’s Alamo.  They must stand here.  If they don’t...well...I don’t even want to think about what will happen.

Layne Hansen is a Ph.D. student in political science.