Well, the day that I have long been waiting for has now finally arrived. That day being, of course, the day Speaker John Boehner would finally announce that he would resign his seat in Congress and put down the speaker’s gavel he took up back in 2011. And that day finally comes at the end of October. Too bad he couldn’t have done it much sooner, because at this point I fear that it might be all for naught. And I have this little voice in the back of my head telling me that this is nothing more than his last attempt at sabotaging the 2016 election for the Republicans. After all, it had been reported that Boehner would face an all-but-certain floor vote this fall that could’ve ousted him from the position, so apparently he chose to leave on his own.
Considering the fact that Boehner was first elected to the House back in 1990 he’s had a pretty good run of 25 years. He was part of former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s leadership team when Republicans took over the House in 1995 for the first time in four decades but was ousted from his leadership role in the wake of the GOP’s rather disappointing performance in the 1998 midterms. And it was in 2006 that he won the race to succeed Tom DeLay as the House’s No. 2 Republican when DeLay stepped aside as majority leader. And it in 2007 after Democrats retook the chamber that he maneuvered himself in the job of top Republican. And he has essentially been nothing but an abject failure ever since assuming the position.
As speaker, his tenure has been defined by his early struggles to reach budget agreements with Barry “Almighty” and his wrestling with the expectations of Tea Party conservatives who demanded a far more confrontational approach. In 2013, conservatives drove him to reluctantly embrace a ‘partial’ government shutdown in hopes of delaying implementation of the new health care law. Now, Tea Party lawmakers have been pressing him to retry the tactic to try to take away federal funding from Planned Parenthood following the disclosure of controversial videos involving its practices of procuring fetal tissue for research purposes. Boehner’s time as Speaker has been ruled by his unwillingness to take the fight to the Democrats.
Gathered below are just a few of the reasons that Boehner’s nearly five-year run left him embattled in his own party, and finally lead to his resignation.
- He is unpopular among conservative voters — “Of the 4,025 polled, less than 6 percent would want their Representative to re-elect Boehner as House Speaker if the election were held today,” Citizens United President David Bossie wrote in July. “Grassroots conservatives are through being patient with John Boehner.”
- His frequent crying does not instill confidence — In the past, Boehner has wept openly while giving speeches, adding a heartfelt touch to political events that can often be quite dry. In July of this year, however, he shed tears while speaking to an interviewer from The Golf Channel, of all places — an incident that many commented was a bit strange.
- He lost many Obamacare arguments in the media — This year, several left-leaning media outlets sought to hold Boehner accountable for his past predictions about the Affordable Care Act, and he failed to hit back. Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet the Press” asked Boehner if he was wrong on Obamacare, as more people had insurance as a result, and the country added jobs the year it was implemented. Boehner’s response quickly went into the weeds, talking about hours worked and employer burdens — arguments few found compelling.
- He has been slow to react to political opportunities — Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Florida, was kicked off the Rules Committee after he publicly criticized Boehner for his shortcomings. He specifically called out Boehner’s 18-month delay in appointing a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks, as well as his months-long delay in filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s overreaching executive actions.
- He has a record of voting to inflate the nation’s debt — As FreedomWorks reported, Boehner voted at least five times from 2002 to 2008 to increase the U.S. debt by $450 billion to $900 billion at a time. “[I]n total, John Boehner voted to increase America’s debt by 3.631 trillion-with-a-t dollars,” the conservative outfit reported.
- He is unlikely to fight for defunding Planned Parenthood this fall — After multiple undercover videos have called into question whether the organization has violated the law in performing abortions, many high-profile Republicans called for defunding. After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled an unwillingness to fight in the face of a likely veto from Obama, Boehner is likely to follow suit.
- He worked with Democrats to pass the “cromnibus” bill funding Obama’s immigration plans — This past December, 67 Republicans voted against the legislation, while Boehner sided with the opposition party, harnessing 57 of their votes to pass the bill. He then offered empty rhetoric to his conservative colleagues, vowing an immigration fight in 2015 that has yet to materialize.
Obviously I am not the least bit sad to see him go. And like I said earlier, I wish he could have come to this decision with there being more time left in this congressional session. He has been nothing short of useless while in the position of Speaker. And something tells me he will be yet another one of those who simply refuses to quietly ride off into the sunset. But while I am thrilled to see Boehner go I’m less than thrilled to find out that his replacement is likely to be Kevin McCarthy. Because as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to being a genuine conservative McCarthy differs very little from Boehner. And keep in mind, we still have that spineless hack, Mitch McConnell, in the Senate. And I doubt very much that we’ll be able to get rid of him.