Beware this Republican Narrative
November 03, 2009
With the House set to vote on a full health care reform bill as early as this week, Republican leader John Boehner has announced that the GOP leadership will introduce a formal alternative of their own. The proper response, I suppose, is "Are you kidding?" By my count, it's been more than eight months since President Obama announced that health reform would be his top domestic priority, signalling that it would be the dominant issue of 2009. Republican leaders had countless opportunities to step forward with a proposal to hold up against the Democratic approach.
Boehner: "Not Inclined" to Tell the Truth
November 02, 2009
House Minority Leader John Boehner recently released a memo arguing, among other things, that the House Democrats' health care bill would result in "massive cuts to Medicare benefits for seniors" and "a negative impact on seniors' benefits and choices." It's nothing the Republicans haven't said before. But this time, to justify the claim, Boehner said he was relying in part on a finding finding from Factcheck.org.
Lieberman's Acting Just Like Howard Dean (Again)
November 02, 2009
When Joe Lieberman declared on yesterday's “Face the Nation” that no health care reform bill at all would be preferable to one with the public option, he reminded me less of a wannabe John Boehner than a bombast on the other end of the political spectrum: Howard Dean. Like his former opponent, Dean is no stranger to grandstanding for attention. Less than two months ago, Dean made a similarly extreme proclamation at a DC town hall event I attended, declaring that no reform bill would be better than one without the public option.
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.