Saturday, December 24, 2016

Boehner the Retiree Reminds Me Why I am Glad He Is Gone

For my part, I am glad that John Boehner is gone.

He was a great spokesman when he served as the House Minority Leader.

As Speaker of the House, he had more slips and fails than successes.

He spent too much time being Barack Obama's friend.

He refused to double-down and fight. When Congress went into shut-down mode, he was not working hard enough to ensure that the Democrats would do what they needed to do. He has a number of weak Democrats which he could exploit because of their swing district status.

Yet he refused.

Two months later, Boehner would announce to the public on Jay Leno's program that the shut-down was our fault, and that he should not have done it.

Worse than that, he was a cheerleader for amnesty, or as he blithely liked to call it, "immigration reform".


The American people of all backgrounds do not want amnesty. They want the rule of  law enforced. Why is this a matter that is so confusing and difficult for lawmakers to understand?

So, when I heard the news that Boehner was stepping down following Mark Meadows (R-NC) discharge petition, I was all kinds of happy!

And now, Boehner has had to adjust to life outside of the Beltway.

Politico has some interesting reporting, which can be quite informative.

What has Boehner since he was bounced out of office?

Life after power: John Boehner's uneasy adjustment to retirement

NAPLES, Fla. — John Boehner has been doing a “lot of laundry” since he left Congress. He’s been ironing a lot, too, and vacuuming his floors. Plenty of time to do all kinds of little things, he says.

This is one fascinating aspect of the American system. No political figure can claim their royalty status forever. Once they walk out of Congress (or our forced out or thrown out!), it's over.

They got back to civilian life and relative obscurity. Such was the genius of the Framers and our Constitutional Framework. No one becomes a demi-god or a civilian king.

“My apartment looks like it’s brand new,” he told POLITICO here in his first interview since he departed Congress.

This is life after power.

This statement is misleading. True power rests with the individual citizen, and it should not rest with the federal or state governments. They are not serve as our servants, not our masters.

Boehner first won public office in 1981, when he was elected Union Township trustee in West Chester, Ohio. He was quickly elected to a seat in the Statehouse in Columbus, and six years later left for Washington, where he served until the end of October. Then, after 34 years, it all vanished. The staff. The massive office. The rigid schedule.

John Boehner has a new reality. He’s now just John Boehner.

Let us never forget that Politico is left-leaning, and they treat political power as an ultimate.

“It’s weird,” Boehner said, standing in the Naples Beach Hotel. Minutes later, he would give his first speech as a private citizen in three decades.

“No job, no office, hardly any staff,” Boehner said of life these days. “I’m used to going all the time. Then you’re not going all the time.”

That sounds like a dream for lots of people. They wish that they could retire after an incredible career of any kind. How much does Boehner get because of his pension as a Congressman and then Speaker of the House?

“It’s,” Boehner said with a pause, “different.”

The man who bounced around the country in motorcades supported by a staff of dozens is suddenly facing a strange new reality.

“I haven’t lived anywhere in 20 years except in hotel rooms,” Boehner said in his first speech since resigning from Congress, an upbeat, hourlong talk to the Forum Club of Southwest Florida. “You spend 200 nights a year traveling around the country, I don’t know, where do you live? I haven’t driven a car for nine years. I did a couple of weeks ago. I have a valid driver’s license. I was very careful. But, you know, I need a car. So do I get a car in Ohio? Do I get a car here? Do I get a car in D.C.? I don’t know. Much less try to figure out what I’m actually going to do.”

Living in hotel rooms? You mean like the Mexican billionaire and other rich elites? I have worked with and talked with other professionals who spend most of their working lives on the road and in careers. It's not fun, they tell me. They would like to be more stable, in a home location.

It’s quite the transition. Boehner has been a major player in Washington for more than 20 years, serving as President Barack Obama’s foil for the past five. But to hear Boehner now, he’s just a man trying to find his way.

“I honestly can’t wait to see what the next chapter of this life of mine is going to look like,” Boehner admitted to the audience here.

Who cares?

He’s assembled a small staff to figure it out. Boehner has hired Squire Patton Boggs’ partner Dave Schnittger, a longtime trusted aide, to handle news media calls and deal with whatever else comes up. He has another staffer to look after his political matters, and an aide to keep track of appointments and other issues. Boehner has millions of dollars in campaign cash to deal with, bills to pay and Republican organizations salivating for his support. Robert Barnett, the D.C. power lawyer, will handle the possible book deal. And Boehner is beginning, quite slowly, to sift through offers to give paid speeches.

Oh, poor baby does not know what to do with himself and his life? He gets to give speeches, and get paid big money to give them. Wow, it's a hard-knock life, isn't it! (*single tear*)

Boehner is splitting his time between his condominium in nearby Marco Island, Florida, his home in the Cincinnati area and Washington. On a recent afternoon, he was spotted shopping at the Harris Teeter in Navy Yard in D.C., pushing his own cart as he grabbed groceries.

Well, that's a welcome sight. I wonder ... how do Congressmen feed themselves when they are in Washington?

Not everything has changed, however. On Friday, with the temperature reaching 90 degrees, Boehner wore a dark blue suit and light blue tie — his preferred Capitol couture — and swirled a glass of red wine at a reception before a noon lunch. Capitol Police officers still trail Boehner, but the detail is shrinking. Instead of a crew of five or more police officers, just a couple stood by the former speaker as he shook hands and chatted at a hotel here alongside a browning golf course.

Fair enough. There is good reason to maintain detail of a certain kind around former lawmakers who held such pre-eminence as Boehner.

Asked in the interview with Politico whether he is keeping an eye on Congress, Boehner said initially said “no” before reversing himself: “Well, kind of, but you know.” He hasn’t gotten accustomed to the fact that he’s a private citizen. He still refers to Republican members of Congress as his “colleagues,” and the speakership as “my job.”

"Private citizen" is the highest calling in the land. No one should reject that title.

But he is certainly entering a new phase, and the speech here was the first of many in the coming years that will make the millionaire Boehner even wealthier.

"Millionaire Boehner" -- and how did he get so wealthy?

His hourlong talk — a roughly 15-minute speech and 40-minute Q&A — was part variety show and part history lesson, with a dash of machismo. Since Boehner left Washington, he’s almost completely dropped his guard. He said it “saddens” him he was never able to complete a comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration laws “because the country needs it.” That comment would’ve ignited fury just months ago.

ARGH! This arrogance shows everything that is wrong with Washington. He did not learn the lesson. He was so tone-deaf to the what the country needed, and what the voters really wanted. They wanted enforcement, not reform. They wanted a big beautiful wall, not

He also veered into the personal. He joked to the crowd of hundreds here that his wife recently told friends that she’s been able to stay married to him for 42 years because “he’s only been around 10” years.

The rest of us in Washington and around the country could not stand him.

Mike Pence (now the Vice President) waned to run for minority leader after (now disgraced) Dennis Hastert stepped down. What would have happened if the roles had been reversed?

He called the House Republican Conference a “band of renegades,” but said newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan has a “real opportunity” to lead them. As for Boehner, he’s the “same jackass that walked into [Congress] 25 years ago,” he said.

The arrogance is just too hard to ignore, Once again, everything that is wrong with Washington, you can find this abrupt and arrogant attitude. How much more wine does he plan on drinking in this interview, I wonder?

Speaker Paul Ryan has endured similar blow-back to what Boehner endured. Apparently, the leadership in the House tightened up the rules in order to prevent another discharge petition from emerging.

Boehner also offered the crowd some behind-the-scenes glimpses of his past life. When members of Congress came to him to ask for favors, Boehner said he would “lean back and take a puff of my cigarette and say, ‘That’s just not going to happen.’”

“At the end of the day, when you’re open and honest with people, at the end of the day they respect you far more,” Boehner said.

This statement is the biggest crock of them all. This man was routinely undermining the grassroots. He was dead-set on getting amnesty of some kind passed.

Notice in this video how he mocked his conservative peers in the House of Representatives, who refused to go along with immigration "reform":

I think this was the last straw for many Republicans, not just in the House Conference, but across the country. The men and women elected to the House Majority were not sent there to open up the nation's orders, but to protect American interests.

Boehner seemed so intent on ignoring that.

Early signs are that Boehner won’t be the political animal in retirement that some expected. In the past, Boehner took credit for urging Jeb Bush to run for president. But asked now, he seemed to have no use for the 2016 contest, refusing to weigh in on the GOP field. He said he watched the recent debate for “as long as I could.”

Well, that says it all, doesn't it. Boehner may have left Washington Establishment, but Washington Establishment did not leave him. That's more of the problem. There really is something in the water in that town. Draining the swamp will prove very difficult, especially for those

Boehner even admitted he previously misled reporters when he said he watched the presidential debates in 2012. What he really wanted to say: “I listen to that all day long, why would I want to listen to it all night long?”

In his most direct terms so far, Boehner spoke of the group of lawmakers that pushed him out of the speakership. He said during the speech that he fought with them over tactics, not strategy. Many of his GOP colleagues are perfectionists in a system of government that doesn’t allow for perfection, Boehner said.

Tactics and strategy are the same thing! The fact that the former Speaker cannot tell the difference is a big part of the problem. Strategy and tactics are the same, and they need to be coordinated toward doing what is best for the country!

The governing class routinely resists a fight. They have more of an appetite for passing legislation rather than doing the best to uphold the rule of law. On some issues, there is no room for compromise. None. The federal government continues to spend money that the country simply does not have. Entitlement reform is a must. Enforcement of our borders is a priority, and there should be no deal-making in the process to make it happen.

“Nothing was good enough,” Boehner said, in a kind of reflective comment he never would’ve made as speaker. “When we protected 99 percent of the American people from an increase in taxes, most of my Republicans colleagues voted no. When we did the big money-saving bill, $2 trillion in 2011, half of my Republican colleagues voted no. Even when we passed these changes to Medicare earlier this year and solved the payment system for how we pay doctors for Medicare patients, which has been a problem for 15 years, and no one could solve it, [Nancy] Pelosi and I got it solved, and paid for it from these long-term changes to Medicare.

How about massive entitlement reforms altogether? Where was he to try to force another repeal of Obamacare? Why won't Republicans collude better with the grassroots to put pressure on President Obama and the left-wing juggernaut of anti-American folly?

“And yet 40-something of my colleagues voted no, while almost everyone else in Congress voted yes,” he continued. “Why? Because it wasn’t good enough.”

The "colleagues" whom he despised were respecting the will of the voters and the grassroots conservative who brought Congress back into Republican hands. No one should blame them for holding Congress in light esteem following decades of taxation and spending with no long-term focus on making America great again.

“You just can’t do perfection in a system of government like we have.”

Not necessarily perfection, but a rigid dedication to order. That is what is needed.

Boehner’s critique of congressional paralysis is familiar. He said voters get information — right or wrong — very quickly, and it pushes them to extreme poles. He likened the system to a pressure cooker and said, “Paul Ryan has got to succeed in a very difficult environment.”

Congressional paralysis will continue to be the norm until Congress repeals Obamacare, gets rid of the amnesty bitter-clingers, and starts getting rid of its inordinate power acquired over decades of citizen inaction.

“I got to the point when I [had] to sneak into the White House to see the president,” Boehner said. “Because if I went to the White House to see the president, the right would get all worked up, wondering what I was up to. The left gets all worked up, wondering what the president is up to. ‘What are these two going to do now?’”

Those reactions are healthy. There is nothing wrong with political distrust. Nothing at all

Boehner did say his decision to leave Congress was tied to the Pope Francis’ late September visit. He recalled one moment, after a private meeting, when the pope asked for a glass of water. Boehner thought the pontiff was readying to baptize his young grandson. Instead, he just took a sip.

“It was the greatest head fake in history,” Boehner said.

What does a pope drinking water have to do with anything? With everything? John Boehner was forced out because of Meadow's discharge petition, which in turn was a result of leadership's brazen attempt to kick him off a committee chairmanship.

Boehner wanted an establishment brand of politics, the same ol' status uo, passing measures paven. WRONG.

Bringing the pope to the Capitol was the capstone of his career, but Boehner’s legacy will be inextricably tied to another man: Obama.

Yes, and for that reason, too, he was pushed out. Obama even featured the former speaker as a friend of his in his private viewing room. All of this is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Boehner criticized Obama’s policies at length, from how the president handled the 2009 stimulus, to the health care bill to the president’s Middle East strategy. Two weeks before he resigned, Boehner said he had sharp words for Obama. As Boehner was trying to craft a budget deal, he said he told the president that he “didn’t call to listen to you lecture me.”

But after he announced his resignation, Boehner said he was on the phone with Obama, and the president said, “Man, I’m going to miss you.”

“Yes you are, Mr. President,” Boehner recalled telling Obama.

Now I know that I am going to be sick!

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