Political Animal


March 01, 2013 9:25 AM The Happiest Man in Washington

By Ed Kilgore

Today marks the beginning of hard times for a lot of people who are going to be laid off or furloughed, or who won’t be able to do their jobs effectively. But at least one person is very happy: John Boehner. Ashley Parker of the New York Times explains how Boehner’s decision to tie his own hands and refuse to even look at ways out of the drooling idiocy of sequestration has given him back the most precious asset a Republican “leader” can have these days: the admiration of “true conservatives:”

Speaker John A. Boehner, the man who spent significant portions of the last Congress shuttling to and from the White House for fiscal talks with President Obama that ultimately failed twice to produce a grand bargain, has come around to the idea that the best negotiations are no negotiations.
As the president and Congressional Democrats have tried to force Mr. Boehner back to the table for talks to head off the automatic budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, Mr. Boehner has instead dug in deeper, refusing to even discuss an increase in revenue and insisting in his typical colorful language that it was time for the Senate to produce a measure aimed at the cuts.
“The revenue issue is now closed,” Mr. Boehner said Thursday, before the House left town for the weekend without acting on the cuts and a Senate attempt to avert them died. Mr. Boehner said the dispute with Democrats amounted to a question of “how much more money do we want to steal from the American people to fund more government.”
“I’m for no more,” he said.
While the frustrations of Congressional Democrats and Mr. Obama with Mr. Boehner are reaching a fever pitch, House Republicans could not be more pleased with their leader.

Boehner has finally figured out there’s nothing like wallowing in mindless destructive inactivity to get your groove back. So as others deplore the sequester as the ultimate product of his party’s inability to do anything other than obstruct, he’ll bellow his atavistic intransigence proudly, since the only people on this earth he cares about are applauding.

“We asked him to commit to us that when the cuts actually came on March 1, that he would stand firm and not give in, and he’s holding to that,” said Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “I think Friday will be an important day that shows we’re finally willing to stand and fight for conservative principles and force Washington to start living within its means. And that will be a big victory.”
Representative Mick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican who was elected on the 2010 Tea Party wave and has had his differences with the speaker, was similarly complimentary toward Mr. Boehner.
“He’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do, and I think it’s working to our favor and to his,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “I get the feeling that our party is probably more unified right now than it has been at any time in the last several months.”

This and the other expressions of deep satisfaction with the sequester being heard in Republican circles almost everywhere seem to have rapidly replaced last week’s talking points blaming the whole thing on the president. I guess they just can’t stop the joy in their hearts from bursting into view at the dismay of public employees and the fear and confusion of “takers” everywhere. But happiest of all is the Orange Man who for once can go to sleep at night without fear of being shivved in this sleep by Eric Cantor or humiliated by his own supposed followers. So enjoy the day, Mr. Speaker; it won’t get any better than this.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • boatboy_srq on March 01, 2013 9:38 AM:

    All those nods of approval are going to swing the other way the moment all those cuts "hit home" - in all those jurisdictions where "job creators" are dependent on public largesse, and in all those jurisdictions where public sector employees will get furloughed. It's only a matter of time before the "job creators" become "mob creators" out to get the GOTea off it's no-more-spending spree.

    It'll s#ck for the rest of us, but we knew that long ago. For the Teahad, this is going to be a nasty shock.

    Boehner's fifteen minutes are about up - and he doesn't even know it.

  • c u n d gulag on March 01, 2013 9:38 AM:

    Congrats, Orange Man!

    I suppose that the cannibalistic serial killer in the prison who bites a few fingers off of a visitor, also gets a resounding "Standing O" from the rest of the sociopaths in the ward!


    I can hardly wait until this little epistemic-closure bubble bursts in a few weeks, after the poo-poo has hit the ventilator for a while, and the Republican CongressSociopaths hear from their beleaguered constituents, and we find out how truly "happy" the Republicans in the House will be with their current Speaker?

  • Josef K on March 01, 2013 9:52 AM:

    But happiest of all is the Orange Man who for once can go to sleep at night without fear of being shivved in this sleep by Eric Cantor or humiliated by his own supposed followers. So enjoy the day, Mr. Speaker; it won’t get any better than this.

    Actually, I think it will get better, at least for the Speaker. As he's apparently given up any pretense of governing, he's now free to do all the fundraising he wants amongst his corporate friends. Plus he's completely insulated from the actual affects of this idiocy, so he won't have to face what a mess he's made.

    The rest of his caucus is likely to get an earful, but I'm not sure they're speaking the same language as the rest of us to begin with (if indeed its any language at all). Whether this moves them or not is open to question. I suspect we'll be here for a little while.

  • Renai on March 01, 2013 9:54 AM:

    It's a good thing we have national propaganda tv to support these white collar treasonists, otherwise common folk might accidently see them for what they really are.

    I don't even counter conservatives with facts anymore, because it just sets their opinions deeper into the concrete of GOP spin.

    Like global warming, it'll take generations to clear the pollution from our collective consciousness. I no longer feel we have that luxury...

  • g on March 01, 2013 10:03 AM:

    So the sequester, which, according to the Republican presidential candidate, is a terrible thing, is President Obama's idea and put into place by him. The President tells us the sequester is a bad thing, and urges Congress to forestall it. The Republicans in Congress say the President is just trying to scare us, the sequester isn't going to be so bad - in fact, it's the right thing to do to make government smaller. Meanwhile, Boehner lame-names the sequester after the President, so that the President will be blamed for the ill effects of the sequester. And then Boehner refuses to do anything to stop it, gaining praise from conservatives.

    How many flip flops can a party do?

  • sparrow on March 01, 2013 10:14 AM:

    Says something about the man when his #1 priority is looking out for his own political skin rather than worrying about his fellow countrymen who are about to get skinned.

  • Josef K on March 01, 2013 10:21 AM:

    It occurs to me that we Americans have a rich and vibrant tradition of political violence, and there's nothing more likely to provoke violence than scaring people into thinking starvation and destitution is right around the corner for them and their children (especially when it isn't).

    Let's hope the aforemention tradition doesn't get exercised because of this.

  • Mimikatz on March 01, 2013 10:49 AM:

    Has there ever been a stupider leader and a stupider party than John Boehner and the GOP? Every morning I wake up hoping to read that he fell off a barstool the previous evening and isn't coming back. They are doing so much damage, they and their millionaire deficit scolds like Bowles and Simpson and Peterson. I don't see how the country puts up with it. Wal-Mart can't sell enough cheap Chinese junk to keep going because people have no money to spend. We are becoming more desperate by the day and Boehner and his Merry Pranksters just chuckle at all the pain they are inflicting. They say in a democracy the people get the government they deserve, but what did the other 60% do to get John Boehner except fail to go to the polls in sufficient numbers in 2010? I hope that lesson has been learned.

  • Bokonon on March 01, 2013 11:26 AM:

    Bunch of Leninists. Using their participation in representative government to make it dysfunctional and broken. All done in the bad faith hope that they will then be able to gain more political power in the long run ... based on that same dysfunction.

    It is a real problem when a legislative majority is committed to the failure of the legislature. And thinks that producing cute little attack videos about the "Obamaquester" is a replacement for governing.

  • Tom on March 01, 2013 11:34 AM:

    Eventually, the WH and Senate GOP will pass a bill replacing the sequestration measures, and/or the end of March spending bills. Boehner will bring a ridiculous Tea Party version to the floor, where it will be defeated. And then, he will bring the Senate bill to the floor which will pass with Democratic votes.

    Boehner doesn't have to do anything. He is irrelevant as the Tea Party accepts its role as a cranky opposition faction, rather than legislators. As long Boehner gives them the opportunity to make symbolic votes against "that mess in Washington", the Tea Partiers don't care. In the end, Boehner will do what is needed.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on March 01, 2013 12:12 PM:

    I bet that streaky-orange Oompa Loompa is happy.

    Anybody notice how the GOTeahadists have suddenly accepted Obama as their dear leader who's supposed to inspire them to work together blah, blah, blah... As if prior to Nov 6, 2012, they weren't embarrassing themselves enough by claiming he wasn't even an American.

    I bet all of these tea party ass hats are just eating up the "blame-the-President" meme. Let 'em, says I. I'm expecting some serious gastric repercussions when crap meets fan.

  • Th on March 01, 2013 2:38 PM:

    Ed; I agree that Boehner's triumph will not last long before reality from the Defense industry smacks him in the face. When that happens, I hope the Democratic liberals are able to convince Boehner that his only chance to hold the line against tax increases is to repeal the sequester and not replace it. It is our only chance to stop Obama from slashing SS, Medicare and Medicaid. Pelosi needs to keep Boehner away from Obama. I have new empathy for the Republicans who were thrilled with Bush's election in 2000 only to watch him pass No Child Left Behind and the Medicare drug expansion.

  • MuddyLee on March 02, 2013 12:31 PM:

    Damn, Boehner - you know you're on the wrong track when Mick "Edenmoor" Mulvaney, crooked developer and disciple of Ayn Rand and distributor of Atlas Shrugged, is singing your praises. Turn back John, before it's too late. And I hope somebody is keeping score on how the budget cuts are affecting your own district.