The speaker needs to go
I call John Boehner the “Grim Weeper.” That’s because he cries at the drop of a hat. Much of what he does as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives makes me cry, too.
Last week, the Republican-controlled House voted 221-201 to give Barack Obama and the Democrats a blank check to spend as much as they want through March of next year by suspending the federal debt limit. The next day, the Senate also voted to give Barack Obama and the Democrats a blank check. The national debt sits at $17 trillion and where it will stop, no one knows. Can you say $20 trillion? Why not $25 trillion?
It was Boehner’s decision to allow this vote, which was passed with the support of only 28 Republicans. So, the question before us is, “Why did he do this?” He did it because he is an “establishment Republican” along the lines of George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller.
As big-government Republicans, these politicians do the bidding of corporate interests, bankers and the elite—not the will of the people according to the dictates of the Constitution. Fortunately, the bulk of Boehner’s G.O.P. caucus is not establishment, big-government Republicans. That was clearly demonstrated last Tuesday when 201 of them voted NOT to suspend the debt ceiling.
The vote came only a few days after Boehner was reportedly “tuned up” by about 80 members of his caucus. They dressed him down because of his plan for “comprehensive immigration reform,” better known as amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. The caucus recognized amnesty would have been the gift that keeps on giving to the Democratic Party for the next century.
The caucus laid it out for the “Weeper.” If he continued to push the plan, he would no longer be Speaker. Those who knew about Boehner’s “trip to the woodshed” were not surprised when he publicly announced the “amnesty” plan was dead in the water.
After Boehner’s back room “spanking,” he was probably humiliated and angry. That may have been why he decided to stick it to the vast majority of his caucus by allowing a vote on this immoral sellout of the American people. In doing so, he hurt himself, his fellow Republicans and his fellow citizens. And it was all so unnecessary.
Since the Republicans took over the House in 2010, they have had at their disposal a “nuclear option.” By having the ability to freeze the debt limit, the G.O.P. has in its hands REAL power. The Republicans, if they chose, could have used the debt limit as a bargaining chip. They could have killed Obamacare with it. They could have demolished entire unconstitutional federal government agencies with it. If they had used the “option” wisely, they could have started the process of returning Washington to something akin to constitutionally limited government.
Borrowing is extremely important to politicians of most stripes inside the Beltway. That means the G.O.P. could have held Washington hostage by saying no to more borrowing. But, for some reason known only to Boehner, the Speaker never wanted to use that leverage. Shortly after he became the Speaker in 2011, he told the world the debt limit would be raised, without question. Since then, he has made sure it has happened again and again.
This side of Heaven, we may never know the precise reason he has chosen to cave on this issue of the debt ceiling, but the real question ought to be, why is he still the Speaker? He is a complete disaster for the party as the Republicans head into a critical mid-term election that will decide who controls not just the House, but the Senate, too.
Three years ago, 187 House Republicans stood opposed to raising the debt limit. But, Boehner and his leadership team went to work. They twisted arms. They handed out favors. They cajoled. They passed out plum committee assignments. Those 187 Republicans started folding under all that pressure, not to mention the temptation to grab a handful of those political perks. When the vote was taken, only 22 House Republicans actually opposed the hike.
Last week’s vote suggests Boehner has lost his grip on his caucus. It suggests he doesn’t really believe he will be able to retain his Speakership after the November elections. It suggests he is more committed to the establishment he serves than to the folks who chose him as Speaker. It suggests he is in bed with big-government Republicans. It suggests he serves something other than the Constitution and someone other than the people.
The polls show what the American people want when it comes to the debt limit. Eighty-five percent of Republicans want Congress to freeze the debt limit. Seventy percent of independents want Congress to freeze the debt limit. Sixty percent of Democrats want Congress to freeze the debt limit.
You’d think the Republicans would be smart enough to ride that wave to victory in any election. But the G.O.P. has not always been accused of having a lot of political savvy. John McCain opposed freezing the debt. Mitt Romney opposed freezing the debt. The “Grim Weeper” opposes freezing the debt.
So what should Republicans voters do in the 2014 mid-terms? The best option is to support G.O.P. candidates who are pledged to ousting the old leaders, the Beltway Barnacles. The American people need to reject the Republican establishment’s timidity. They need to vote for the tea party types who are bold and who stick to their core values in the face of Democratic and Republican establishment opposition. They need to shock the world with a Senate and House cleaning. Boehner and his ilk need to go.
With three more years of Barack Obama’s presidency to look forward to, Americans need members of Congress who stand in fierce opposition to his policies and his party. Those same members need to uproot the entrenched Republican establishment in D.C. and show the enablers and appeasers the door. Maybe then the debt will be frozen, spending will be cut and the federal budget will be balanced.
Ed Baswell pastors The Clarion Church and is the host of Crossfire Radio, weekdays from 7-9 am, on The Promise, 90.7 FM. The show is streamed live worldwide at promisetalkradio.org and at ktbs.com. It can be seen each day on the KTBS 24-hour, digital news channel.