Tag Archives: John Boehner

Boehner shows touch of grace

Just to let us know how things used to be in Washington, D.C., where Democrats and Republicans could say nice things about each out loud and in public, up stepped a former GOP House speaker to offer high praise to the individual who succeeded him.

John Boehner got misty while saluting the career of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Boehner said he wished for his daughter to emulate Pelosi, who is stepping down as speaker in January as the Republicans prepare to take control of the House of Representatives. Imagine any of the MAGA morons doing such a thing.

It’s not yet clear who among the GOP lawmakers will succeed Pelosi. Suffice, though, to acknowledge that whoever it is likely won’t show nearly any of the grace and class that Boehner has shown.

You see, Boehner — who battled hard against President Obama’s agenda — is able to set aside partisan differences to honor the service and love of country shown by a political adversary.

To think as well that Boehner only stepped away from the speaker’s chair in 2015. In just seven years, the atmosphere in D.C. has gone from relatively clear to damn near toxic in the partisan vitriol that fills the air.

I should point out that in today’s world, the attack on Pelosi’s husband, Paul, by a deranged moron who was looking to do physical harm to the speaker, has actually drawn snide and snarky comments from some prominent Republicans.

Thanks, therefore, belong to former Speaker Boehner for demonstrating a needed touch of class.


Glad he spoke out, however …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As glad as I am to hear former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner speak out against what he calls “political terrorism” within the Republican Party, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize an obvious element of history.

While the ex-speaker decries the harsh partisanship that has infected the current political climate, he needs to own his particular contribution to that infection.

He called the Affordable Care Act the greatest sin ever perpetrated on Americans. Boehner filed lawsuits to stop the implementation of President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. He did plenty of blustering and bellowing from the House floor about the evils of his Democratic colleagues’ intent.

Has the former speaker had an epiphany? Has he realized what he did contributed to today’s toxicity? I hope that is the case.

Still, to hear him refer to Sen. Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh,” and to express his profound revulsion over the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6 remains music to my admittedly partisan ears.

Boehner comes out swinging

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There he is, suddenly becoming a major newsmaker.

John Boehner had been in relative seclusion since walking away from political life six years ago. Make no mistake that he wasn’t my favorite pol when he served as speaker of the House, given his penchant for trying to block meaningful legislation pitched by President Obama.

Now, though, Boehner is back in the news. Suddenly he has become one of my favorites. How’d that happen? Because he is hanging “political terrorist” labels on some seriously bad dudes in public life today. They are, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and, oh yeah, Donald J. Trump of Mar-a-Lago.

Boehner has decided to reveal his deepest feelings about the insurrection of Jan. 6, about Trump’s conduct prior to and after the 2020 election, about what an a**hole Ted Cruz has been while serving in the Senate and Jim Jordan’s conduct as one of Trump’s suck-ups in the House.

In interviews, the former speaker has declared his disgust and revulsion at what has become of the Republican Party to which he has belonged for decades. The emotional politician shed a couple of tears on TV this past weekend talking to CBS News about his feelings watching the terrorists storm the Capitol Building at Trump’s urging.

Boehner is now a civilian. He won’t be back in the saddle. The former speaker of the House, however, remains a potent political antidote to the toxic mix that comprises today’s Republican Party.

Thus, I welcome his return to the limelight.

Former speaker takes his shot

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I once said the party of Lincoln and Reagan is off taking a nap. The nap has become a nightmare for our nation. The GOP must awaken. The invasion of our Capitol by a mob, incited by lies from some entrusted with power, is a disgrace to all who sacrificed to build our Republic.

So said former House Speaker John Boehner in a Twitter message.

I want to share it here for two reasons. One is for the message it contains. Speaker Boehner is right to condemn the riot on Capitol Hill.

I also want to share it for what Boehner’s tweet doesn’t do. It doesn’t call out by name of “some entrusted with power.” It doesn’t mention that the individual to whom Boehner no doubt is referring is none other than Donald J. Trump and the toadies in the House and Senate who continue to foment the lie about “rampant voter fraud” in the 2020 presidential election.

Had the former speaker shown the courage to name names and to paste the “seditionist” label on those who are responsible for the insurrection we witnessed, I would be delighted to heap unqualified praise on him.

Sadly, I cannot.

Now it’s a newbie GOP blowhard who gets all this attention

I have spent a bit of blog time and effort criticizing Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s instant fame in the House of Representatives. I have suggested she hasn’t earned all the attention she craves … and receives!

In fairness, I now shall blast a GOP blowhard who for the life of me I don’t understand how he gets all this publicity.

Step up, Matt Gaetz, a GOP congressman from Florida. He’s been in the House all of one term already; he is serving his second term.

But this is the clown who led that Republican assault on Capitol Hill this week that disrupted House committee hearings on the impeachment inquiry under way against Donald J. Trump.

Gaetz is a fanatic Trump supporter. He has attacked the “process” rather than defending Trump on the issues that are likely to result in his impeachment. Those issues deal with whether he violated his oath by seeking foreign government help for political purposes. Gaetz won’t say that Trump “would never do such a thing.” Oh, no. He’s attacking the alleged “secrecy” surrounding the closed-door hearings in the House.

The hearings will be made public. Probably soon at that. They are being held under rules established in 2015 by a Republican-run House, and signed by then-Speaker John Boehner; yep, he’s a Republican, too.

Now we have Gaetz showboating, prancing, preening and bellowing in public about so-called “sham” hearings.

This guy hasn’t earned his time in the spotlight any more than AOC has earned her time.

Settle down, young man. Rep. Gaetz, how about letting the process run its course as prescribed by the rules? 

Pelosi knows how Boehner felt?

She likely would dislike the comparison, but I’ll make it anyway: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is feeling some of the pain that was inflicted on one of her predecessors, former Speaker John Boehner.

Indeed, Pelosi handed the gavel over to Boehner when Republicans took control of the House in 2011; she was speaker during the previous congressional session, but the Democrat had to surrender her speakership to the GOP and to Boehner.

What happened to Boehner? He ran into the TEA Party buzz saw that made his speakership a form of holy hell. He eventually quit the House and disappeared from public life.

Now it’s Pelosi’s turn to deal with renegade elements within her political party. The culprits this time are the likes of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. They are the progressives in her Democratic caucus who don’t want to wait any longer before launching impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. They’ve seen enough and want action … now!

Pelosi ain’t budging. She doesn’t want to impeach the president, at least not yet. She wants more evidence. She wants some Republican buy-in, but so far she isn’t getting it.

Will this intraparty fight doom her speakership the way the GOP’s internal struggle sent Speaker Boehner heading for the door? Oh, I doubt it. However, it does go to show that divergent views do have this way of causing sleeplessness among political leaders, no matter which side of the aisle they do business.

Former speaker taking the ‘high’ road?

Well now. Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, who used to oppose legalization of marijuana, is now on board with it.

He says he wants MJ legalized, marking a dramatic shift in the Ohio Republican’s former stance.

In truth, he joins a list of prominent Republican public officials to extol the virtues of legalizing marijuana.

Former Secretary of State George Schultz is on board; so was the late conservative icon William F. Buckley; same for noted GOP-minded economist Milton Friedman; the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, too.

Former Speaker Boehner, as the West Texas saying goes, is walking through some mighty tall cotton by joining those individuals.

According to National Public Radio: “I feel like I’m like your average American who over the years began to look at this a little differently and I think over the last five years my position, it has kind of softened up and softened up,” Boehner said.

I suppose I could add that being liberated from the whims and wishes of political constituents who might believe differently had something to do with Boehner’s change of heart.

I am leaning that way myself.

Watch the body language at the SOTU

I don’t know about you but I plan to try to interpret some body language that will be on full display this evening in front of the entire United States of America when Donald Trump delivers the presidential State of the Union speech.

Sitting over his left shoulder will be a woman with whom he has had, um . . . words. Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited him to the House of Representatives chamber, then uninvited him, then reinvited him.

The president and the speaker aren’t exactly close. They’re fighting over The Wall. Trump wants money to build it along our southern border; Pelosi says it is an “immoral” request and opposes its construction.

Hey, we’ve seen this kind of thing play out many times over many decades. Speaker John Boehner and later Paul Ryan never looked all that thrilled when Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union speeches. The speakers were Republicans, the president was a Democrat.

How about when Speaker Pelosi sat behind GOP President Bush, or when GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich had to listen to Democratic President Clinton deliver the SOTU? Same thing, man. The speaker of a different party than the president usually doesn’t jump to his or her feet to applaud when POTUS delivers a line that suggests he expects some hand claps.

The animus between the current speaker and the president, though, is more visceral. Or so it appears. Sure, Trump said some nice things about Pelosi when House Democrats elected her speaker at the start of this congressional session. Did he mean them? Hah, you figure it out!

Pelosi, meanwhile, has been even less generous in her public comments about Trump. I believe the president knows it and likely will feel the speaker’s icy stare on the back of his neck while he talks about the State of the (dis)Union.

Pass the popcorn.

Paul Ryan: big-time letdown

I had high hopes for Paul Ryan when he was dragged kicking and screaming into the speakership of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Wisconsin Republican reportedly didn’t want to become the Man of the House when John Boehner resigned his speakership and left public office in 2015. Ryan had to be talked into it.

He took the job. I was hopeful that this policy wonk, a serious young man who knows the ins and outs of public policy would be able to manage the House effectively and work to enact meaningful legislation. I had hoped he could work effectively with the Democratic minority in the House chamber.

Then I had hope that after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 that he could resist some of the new president’s more bizarre impulses.

Well, he didn’t deliver the goods. He didn’t work well with the other party. He certainly didn’t resist the president. He became a Trump Man. Not a Republican Party Man. But a Trump Man. He became the president’s enabler.

Ryan ran on the 2012 GOP ticket for vice president. He and Mitt Romney lost that election to President Obama and Vice President Biden. He went back to the House, resumed his post as Budget Committee chairman. Then fate — and Speaker Boehner’s frustration with the TEA Party wing of his party — delivered him to the House’s highest post.

If only he could have shown a bit of spine as the Republican In Name Only president proceeded to hijack a great political party. There were faint signs of spine-stiffening, such as when he would offer mild criticism of some crazy Trump utterances.

But then he would roll over as Trump pushed through the House a tax cut that over time will benefit only the wealthiest of Americans.

Speaker Ryan gave a farewell speech today, bidding goodbye to the House where he served for two decades. He lamented the “broken politics” that afflicts the House. Uh, hello, Mr. Speaker? You helped break it.

I, of course, live far away from Janesville, Wis., from where Ryan hails. However, given that he managed the legislative body that approves legislation that affects all Americans, I have a significant stake in the job he did.

Thus, I shall declare that I won’t miss Paul Ryan.

Democrats might ignite firestorm if they oust Pelosi

Newly empowered U.S. House Democrats are playing with fire if they find a way to push their longtime congressional caucus leader out of the speakership.

Nancy Pelosi once served as the nation’s (so far) only female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. She wants her old job back now that Democrats have retaken control of the People’s House.

But … not so fast, Mme. Presumptive Speaker.

Some of her colleagues want her kicked to the curb. They want “new leadership.”

Let’s ponder this for a moment. The 2018 midterm election resulted in more than 100 women will join the House in January 2019. That makes this the Year of the Woman. Or does it?

I happen to believe Pelosi deserves to become speaker when the new Congress convenes next year. Thus, I want to caution the Democratic insurgents that they are dousing their own message if they manage to boot the veteran lawmaker out of the office she presumes is hers for the taking.

I just learned that one of the Democratic insurgents is U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville, who is casting doubt on Pelosi’s intended speakership. He says he believes “new leadership” is in order.

Yes, that’s a man saying it.

Pelosi’s first tenure as speaker (2007-2011) proved to be successful in terms of her organizational skills and her ability to hold her party caucus together. Indeed, she enjoyed far more success at that aspect of her job than her two Republican successors as speaker — John Boehner of Ohio and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — who had to battle with TEA Party and Freedom Caucus members of their own caucus.

It was on Pelosi’s watch that Democrats were able to enact the Affordable Care Act, legislation I consider to be a success.

So now Democrats think they need “new leadership”? They don’t, even though Pelosi has become a favorite punching bag for Republicans to pummel whenever they can find the opportunity. Indeed, one could hear Pelosi’s name in TV ads criticizing Democratic candidates for Congress. Here’s the catch: One of those Democrats, Colin Allred, had been joined at the hip to Pelosi by North Texas U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions; however, Allred defeated the Republican Sessions in the midterm election.

So, is it really a negative to be led by a speaker who knows how to legislate, how to organize an unruly body of lawmakers? I don’t believe so.

My advice to House Democrats? Be very careful if you seek to topple Nancy Pelosi in this Year of the Woman.