Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why John Boehner's opinion of Trump matters

You may have read by now that former Speaker John Boehner has called Trump a "complete disaster."  Observe my total lack of cognitive dissonance.  If you are reading this, there is a high likelihood that you have, at some point, taken a class from me or otherwise heard me gush about the brilliance of John Boehner, and my opinion of Trump is basically the same as that of most people with Ph.D.s.  (According to 2016 NES data, those with Ph.D.s voted for Clinton by about 3 to 1-- this is the only election in which I have ever been comfortable publicly admitting my choice, but seriously, folks... seriously...).

So anyway, I like Boehner, I hate Trump, Boehner hates Trump.  Yay for cognitive consistency!  However, I'd like to elaborate here on why it is so important to pay attention to Boehner's opinion.  It has to do with why I am so fond of Boehner.

Trump fancies himself a deal-maker.  Maybe you've heard about that.  He pretends that he wrote a book about it, although the actual author of the book claims that Trump is a raging psychopath, and has profusely apologized for his part in aiding Trump's public rise.  Regardless, Trump doesn't know jack fucking shit about deal-making.  You know who does?  John Boehner.

Nobody in modern congressional history has ever had a more difficult job than John Boehner.  The basic problem he faced was that his caucus was filled with, well, let's call them "donkey-raping shit-eaters," although Boehner himself just called them "knuckleheads."  You now know them as the House Freedom Caucus, but in the past, they have gone by such names as the Tea Party, the Visigoths, and the Reavers.

After the 2010 election, these mouth-breathers decided it would be fun to threaten to blow up the economy of every country on the planet by not raising the debt ceiling.  And they would never vote for any deal.  Ever.  This put Boehner in one hell of a pickle.  The normal job of a Speaker is to hold the majority party together.  Boehner's job, though, was to split the majority party apart, and get a bunch of Republicans to join with the Democrats to vote for deals, when those Republicans would rather stick with the Reavers thinking they would avoid primary challenges.  Reavers, after all, are cannibals.  So, take the normal job of Speaker-- cajoling Members of Congress into doing something that they don't want to do-- and add to that the problem that Boehner had to split the party apart rather than unify it, and he had the toughest job around.  The natural state of a party when every member is basically a conservative is unity.  The natural state, when those same members are scared of primary challenges rather than general election challenges, is moving to the right, and not joining with the Democrats.  Everything Boehner had to do meant fighting against the tide.

This country would have defaulted on the debt, several times over if Boehner weren't as smart as he is, and as savvy a deal-maker as he is.

Do you spend any time in the kitchen?  If so, you have probably chopped a bunch of onions.  It is a routine task.  In normal times, so is raising the debt ceiling.  No points for that, in normal times.  However, if you chop an onion, one-handed, blindfolded, with a dull knife, I'll be impressed.  John Boehner chopped an onion, one-handed, blindfolded, with a dull knife.  If he hadn't, we'd all be fucked.  (More fucked).

And then there's Donnie-boy Trump.  Deal-maker.  How's that deal-making going for him?  Yeah.  Complete disaster.  Well put, Mr. Boehner.

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