by Joe Shea
September 1, 2011
BOEHNER: A SLUGGISH CLOG IN A DUMB MACHINE
BRADENTON, Fla., Sept. 1, 2011 -- House Speaker John Boehner's rejection of President Obama's request to address the nation about American jobs and our economy was not only supremely rude, but broke new ground in how insulting elected officials can be towards the occupant of our nation's highest office.
According to those who keep the records, it was the first time in American history that an American president was denied his request to speak to a joint session of Congress.
Just as one of Boehner's jerks shouted "Lie!" during the President's State of the Union speech a few years ago, now Boehner himself has crossed the line of essential civility, setting a standard for ugly behavior that will likely endure into many future Administrations and one day become the norm. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Speaker.
What this nation needs to do, Boehner's action says, is to pay more attention to what is going on outside Congress, where nothing is going on that would improve our unemployment rate, standard of living (our birth mortaility rate has now fallen below Poland and Slovakia's) and the value of our homes. We need to pay more attention to the oncoming NFL and presidential seasons, Boehner says, and less to the inaction the GOP has mandated with respect to our pressing needs for employment and restoration.
A servant of those who believe in not paying taxes and fail to do so each year with increasing impunity, Boehner is an emotional chameleon who can transform his mood from rage to tears in seconds. Yet he is merely a sluggish clod in a dumb machine.
Having at first reluctantly given ground to the extreme right wing of his party, he is now feeling crowded by the ascendancy of Eric Cantor, the GOP majority leader. He recognizes that should his speakership be put to a vote today, Cantor and not he would win, backed by the new Tea Party Republicans whose goals for America are formed by outside forces composed of giant businesses and billionaires, including the dangerous Koch brothers.
Yet there is hope. The great American center is slowly but very surely coming to recognize that left to themselves, or given a little more power, the Boehner/Cantor right would damage not only our standing in the world and our faltering economy, but the very dreams and values that truly drive this country to greatness.
Among those targets of the right wing are the idea of the safety net that Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and other federal programs have offered to a people now falling very steeply from comfort to poverty; the safeguards against poisoned skies and water, dangerous drugs, flawed cars, trucks, trains and planes, and crumbling infrastructure; and, worst of all, the supremacy of the American heritage in the community of nations.
Almost the complete opposite of the protectionists of the earliest part of the last century, they would remove all protections our economy enjoys, whether from unfair trade partners or corporations that deliver millions of American jobs to China. Although their economic ideas are incoherent, their agenda is shaped by powerful people whose ideas have far more clarity.
These are the Kochs, whose first concern is their own wealth, and then the wealth of others like them - the billionaires who run oil companies, the banks and manufacturing behemoths. These folks want to remain untaxed and free to shape a new economic order that has no use for national boundaries. For them, John Boehner is an otherwise useless termite who is steadily chewing away at the foundations of American greatness, a proposition the Koch brothers and friends find too expensive to sustain. When he becomes toothless, Eric Cantor will take his place.
In the Senate, if they ever had their way, Sen. Harry Reid would give way to Sen. Jim DeMint as majority leader, and the wreck of this country would become, for them, the economic opportunity of their lifetime.
Americans are not blind. They can spend a lot of time in self-denial, and they can be stubbornly wrong-headed if they want to be, but they can ultimately see through the agenda of the Kochs, the Boehners, the Cantors and the DeMints. They know the ordinary American is not going to be better off when these people get through with them.
America is now in a race to determine whether evil and self-centered people rise to greater power and get to fulfill destructive agendas, or whether the awakening American electorate will recognize before it's too late that we have been privileged to have a leader of the intelligence, compassion and spirit of President Barack Obama.
When Speaker Boehner drew the noose a little tighter around his neck with his rudeness and ground-breaking insubordination, he made me all the more certain that he and his kind will not prevail.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article was riddled with typographical errors that were corrected in Microsoft Office but failed to copy over when pasted here. In addition, a formatting error caused this article and one before it to become conjoined. We apologize for those issues. AR Editor-in-Chief Joe Shea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.