September 13, 2009
On Saturday, September 12, America threw a gigantic temper tantrum in Washington D.C. Organizers called it the “largest gathering of fiscal conservatives in history,” and they’re probably right. But for an angry, anti-government fit, the march was remarkably civil. They had come in large bands--14 buses from Morristown, New Jersey; 12 from Harford County, Maryland--prepared with picnic baskets and lawn chairs. They festooned their hats with teabags and dressed in Revolutionary-era finery.
Be Careful What You Wish For, John Boehner
September 04, 2009
So, the Republicans want a rebuttal to President Obama’s big health care speech next Wednesday. A “balanced perspective,” John Boehner says, can “only be achieved” by a response on network television from one of their own. There are two strange elements to this approach. One is the brouhaha Republicans made shortly after Obama’s election about the apparently nonexistent attempt to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which cropped up again just last month.
John Boehner, Cleverest Republican In Washington
November 19, 2008
The House Republican leadership elections are today, and GOPers will almost certainly reselect John Boehner, their eternally tan, chain-smoking, long-suffering caporegime, as their leader - and not only that, but they'll also probably approve Boehner's entire hand-picked roster of candidates for the caucus's other leadership positions. On the face of it, this seems nothing short of crazy. In 1998, Newt Gingrich lost the GOP less than ten House seats and was promptly defenestrated.
October 22, 2008
These have been terrifying days--and not just because of the spectacle of the nation's financial infrastructure crumbling before our eyes. Our political elites were warned of the immediate need to restore confidence in a failing system. But, instead of acting, these elites (of both parties) balked, or behaved like buffoons. When asked to play a reassuring role, they turned in a deeply unsettling performance. By now, the litany against the Republicans is well known. House Minority Leader John Boehner swung wildly from one position to the next.
October 22, 2008
Whatever their squabbling in Washington this week, one thing Democrats and Republicans were able to agree on was the apparent novelty of the country's current financial woes. "We have an unprecedented crisis," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, in a phrase frequently invoked by other congressional leaders. But, in truth, the dire situation in the United States does have a precedent: It looks remarkably like the crisis that struck Japan 20 years ago, when a stock market meltdown exposed years of speculative lending, mostly dependent on real estate, and led to an economic collapse.
The Death Knell
September 26, 2008
Perhaps because I just finished writing a book of history, I've been thinking a lot about how historians will look at the last few weeks in 25, 50, 100 years. This isn't a very useful frame--since we don't know what will happen tomorrow, we can't know the full context of events happening today. But it has pushed me to ask what really matters in the news cycle and what is just noise. One thing I think historians will look at is how the financial crisis has quickened the dissolution of modern conservatism.
Republicans' Message Nightmare
May 15, 2008
Poor NRCC head Tom Cole is catching the brunt of the flak for the GOP meltdown in the House, but when I heard the party lifted their new slogan from the antidepressant Effexor -- the painfully banal and self-help-y "The Change You Deserve" -- I thought instantly of John Boehner. I did a feature on Boehner about a year ago, and found that his approach to leading the House GOP -- and to rebranding the party in general -- was essentially to boost self-esteem: Boehner's smile reminded me of the grin he debuted about a month after he took over as House majority leader for Tom DeLay in 2006.
Jeffrey Goldberg conducts an interview about Israel with Barack Obama. House Minority Leader John Boehner willfully misrepresents it. Goldberg responds: Mr. Boehner, I'm sure, is a terribly busy man, with many burdensome responsibilities, so I have to assume that he simply didn't have time to read the entire Obama interview, or even the entire paragraph, or even a single clause. If he had, of course, he would have seen that Obama was clearly calling the Middle East conflict, and not Israel, a sore. Why, there's no one who would disagree that the Middle East conflict is a "sore," is there?
The Life Coach
May 21, 2007
The morning after President Bush vetoed the Democrats' Iraq supplemental bill, House Minority Leader John Boehner was in a House press conference room, working himself into a fine lather. With his pinstriped suit, sherbet-orange tie, and deep tan, Boehner looked less like a congressman than a Miami kingpin's flamboyant defense lawyer--and he mimicked one in manner, peering down the mics at the journalists clustered before him with unconcealed hostility.
October 30, 2006
Most parents feel a twinge of anxiety at the thought of leaving their teenagers unsupervised for any length of time. It’s not that the kids are bad; it’s just that, set free from parental oversight, the urge to run wild can prove irresistible. The 1983 Tom Cruise hit Risky Business provided a worst- case template for how quickly things can spiral out of control: One minute, your super-responsible son is lip-synching Bob Seger tunes in his underpants.