When John Boehner teared up like a schoolgirl last November on election night, it became clear to most of the folks who had cast votes that ultimately propelled him to the top of his profession that the Speaker in waiting had no clue as to what had just happened to propel him to that office.
There were reasons for tears of joy, but the House career ladder was not one of them. For some mystifying reason, the man from Ohio thought his storybook rise to power was the point.
Uh John, it was not. Let me help you out.
The point was that there is way too much power -- and way too much of our yet to be earned money -- concentrated around folks in Boehner's profession. The point is that we want to reduce, not celebrate, that power. And yet, the election's final score was not even determined when we got our first sobering reminder that Boehner had no idea what had just happened. (Not that this shocked us frankly.)
He was celebrating what Washington had just done for John Boehner -- while we were steamed about what Washington has done to all of us.
So just what perverted John Boehner, the tough-minded business owner who was first elected to Congress in the early 90's? That's the Boehner we need now, not the one whose tear ducts and skin pigment have been put on high alert after nearly two decades of power and privilege in D.C.
Alas, we can only assume that business ownership and other realities of life outside government are but a distant memory for Boehner. Let me clue Mr. Boehner in: running a business now is infinitely harder than it was when he last tried it. In fact, doing almost anything is harder now. And Washington is the reason. Clearly, the Ohioan has lost touch with that reality.
And speaking of losing touch with reality, consider how tone deaf Boehner and others are vis a vis the politics of a government shutdown in 2011. It is obvious that the template in Washington prevents folks inside that bubble from seeing this clearly. Boehner and the GOP are running scared, and there is no reason to do so.
My message to them is shut the sucker down! You will not get blamed. There will be no blame. There will be credit. When we all see that no one gets vaporized when the government "shuts down," there will be a fresh wind of a national teachable moment out there for all to see.
Yes I know, Newt Gingrich is out giving advice on where he went wrong and where he over reached in 1995 after the '94 Contract with America Congress. And of course Boehner will remember those days himself. Apparently, he cannot see beyond 1995. I guess this is what happens when you stay in Washington too long. Most folks get so wrapped up in the ignorant groupthink of that town that they lose all perspective. Besides, we should have written off Newt as a serious player when he sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi.
Actually, many outside the beltway did just that.
So let's take a look at what has happened outside Washington since 1995. It's a brave new world out here Mr. Speaker. I invite you to take a peek at it.
Fox News is now the dominant cable news network outside Washington D.C. In '95, CNN and C-Span were the only real cable news networks and the big three networks and the big two newspapers dominated the media for the most part.
In fact, phrases like "the mainstream media," let alone "lamestream media" and "liberal media bias" and "Jurassic media" and so on were not part of our political vernacular. Now they're practically base assumptions on the part of a huge swath of American voters.
Rush Limbaugh was on a few hundred stations, but nothing like the 600 plus he is on today. Meanwhile, Hannity and Beck and Levin and Humphries and Wilkow and Savage and Larson and Cain and Lewis were names no one knew -- because they were not yet conservative talk show hosts. These folks are all now popular out in the 50 -- or is it 57 -- states.
Al Gore had not yet gotten the internet up to speed with hundreds of conservative websites and blogs. There was no American Thinker, NRO, Red State, Sweetness and Light, Lucianne, Free Republic, etc etc. Folks still got their daily news from a handful of national newspapers or magazines. One of those magazines was recently sold for a dollar. In 95, it was an opinion mover.
There was no Facebook or Twitter, nor was there a certain Alaskan with the power to dominate the national debate with but a single tweet or post on given subjects. Is there one now? You betcha!
In 1995 the term viral normally meant a discussion of AIDS; today it means a YouTube video is out exposing just what typical government union employees are all about as they act like spoiled lunatic children in Madison's formerly stately capitol grounds. Boehner should check one of these out one day.
There was no Obama Care legislation that had passed back in 1995. If you remember correctly, Hillary Care failed -- and while it was a driver of the 94 elections, it was not around in 95 as exhibit A of out of control government. Today, we can say safely that ObamaCare is still alive and still animating an anti-government movement.
There was no such thing as a "Massachusetts Republican" anywhere to be found in Washington that I can remember. Now, one occupies "the Kennedy seat." (OK, he's flawed, but I'm talking about the change in the national dynamic here).
And then of course, there was nothing around in 95 like today's tea party movement. And believe you me, this is not a movement that went into hibernation after the elections. It may be impossible to define the tea party to everyone's satisfaction, but trust that it is still out there and it is still adamant about reducing the size, scope, power, reach and spending of government. That's what the election of 2010 was all about. Let me repeat that: reduce the size, scope, reach, power and spending of government.
Now there is nothing that could be a better way to start to reduce all of that size, scope, reach, power and spending than by shutting her down. Not only will that immediately reduce all of that by a tiny amount, it will send a clear signal that we don't need or want this government that we cannot afford -- even if we did want it. And we certainly do not!
And those who make this come to pass will not be blamed. They will be given credit. So Mr. Boeher: wipe the tears, man up, and shut this sucker down. You will be glad you did. The producers among us are counting on this.