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.
The other Vietnam syndrome.
October 09, 2006
At the beginning of August, President Bush introduced a war-weary American public to an old conservative slander disguised as a new approach to the Iraq war. Shifting from his earlier rhetoric of optimism, he gave a series of election-timed speeches that were noticeably grim. Bush no longer emphasized the prospects of success; rather, he spoke of the danger of defeat. "Some politicians look at our efforts in Iraq and see a diversion from the war on terror," he said in a speech late last month.
September 11, 2006
Surry Hill. So reads a plaque at the end of the long, winding private road that leads to the crown jewel of McLean, Virginia: the 18,000-square-foot mansion that Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers and his wife Edwina call home. To get there from Washington, you drive across the Potomac River and along a parkway that, in the summer, is canopied by lush green trees. Shortly before the guarded entrance to the CIA, you turn off McLean's main road and then down a private lane, passing through brick gate posts adorned with black lanterns and into a grand cul-de-sac. A massive brick Colonial with majestic
February 20, 2006
When scandal-plagued Tom DeLay finally gave up his quest to regain the leadership of congressional Republicans, the preternaturally tan Ohio Republican John Boehner sat down and drafted a 37-page political manifesto to win the votes of his colleagues. Boehner, himself long known as a friend to K Street, issued a tempered critique of the Republicans’ sale of indulgences to lobbyists like Jack Abramoff.
January 23, 2006
A REFORMED REFORMER The race to succeed Tom DeLay as House Republican Majority Leader isn't exactly a study in contrasts. Both candidates, Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri and Ohio Representative John Boehner, are hard-line social and business conservatives with similar voting records. Seeking some toehold against Blunt, Boehner has ingeniously chosen to cast himself as a reformer who can lead a battered House Republican caucus past the Jack Abramoff scandal.
May 22, 1995
In the last four months, House Speaker Newt Gingrich has compared himself to a variety of Capitol Hill forebears: Nicholas Longworth, House speaker during the 1920s; Henry Clay; and the leaders of the Radical Republicans who dominated Congress after the Civil War. His press secretary, Tony Blankley, has likened him to Churchill, de Gaulle, Eisenhower, even Gandhi. (“I knew there would be snickering,” Blankley says.) Beneath the hyperbole, however, is an undeniable fact: undeniable by conservatives and liberals alike. The surprise of the 104th Congress is how effective an executive Newt Gingric