From the Hart: Orange is the new back-out

tsj column writers - from the hartBy Ron Hart

Speaker of the House Boehner’s sudden resignation resulted in a chain reaction of Republicans looking to fill the leadership void he has occupied for five years.

The “barbarians at the gate,” conservatives demanding Boehner’s resignation, might be quelled in the short run. But herding the cats of the GOP, with their intense insurgents, wealth of ideas and impatience to stop the Democrats’ leftist agenda, is a difficult task. Getting the various factions of the GOP to agree on legislation is like gift wrapping an octopus.

Boehner, a historic figure as the first orange Speaker of the House, will move on. With all the bronzer he uses, he might be looking to head the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. He might have an easier time leading that group than the cantankerous Republican caucus.

Democrats, monolithic lemmings interested only in power, are easy to lead. If Pelosi or Reid tells them to vote for something, they comply without question. When is the last time Democrats had an impassioned and divisive policy dispute? Never!

They learned not to stand up for what they believe in; that way, Obama can’t sell them out. Dems enforce party discipline like the Mafia enforces its franchise with equal parts intimidation and reward.

Nancy Pelosi wants to be in charge again and will enforce party discipline to get there. The evil Pelosi will not rest until she again controls Congress or captures all 101 Dalmatians.

Boehner was the lightning rod for various factions of the GOP. Libertarians wanted less war, government and debt. The evangelical wing of the party wanted to station U.S. troops at all gay weddings. Grandstanding Republicans wanted to use the currency of the party to embark on things like defunding Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and the Iranian deal, which were not veto-proof—and therefore not doable. Boehner told them to be realistic, not symbolic, and that political patience would pay off in winning the White House.

He chose a very large gavel when he took over as Speaker. Methinks the large gavel is Boehner compensating for his small government.

The media do all they can do the help Democrats. They lead the narrative that Republicans shut down the government when their demands are not met—and not that Obama is being obstinate. When it was said politicians were shutting down the federal government and leading us over the “fiscal cliff,” most of us were pulling for gravity to work and hoping for low tide on the rocks below. My concern is not how to continue to make government work, it’s how to make it stop.

Threats of government shutdowns will continue. Such standoffs have no easy off-ramps for either side; neither wants to be the first to blink. But Dems have the decided advantage since Nancy Pelosi has not blinked since the sequester.

The tactic of government throwing a temper tantrum when denied massive funding has run its course. Is $3.7 trillion it spends a year not enough? We are left with a swollen, bureaucratic morass that intimidates its funders: the taxpayers. Our government is structurally incapable of spending just a little less than it did the year before and seeks revenge when we ask it to live within its means.

History will treat Boehner kindly. He’s a good man and likable. The hard drinking, golfing and smoking son of a bartender, he just fell in with the wrong crowd: Congress. The National Enquirer reported that Boehner had a couple of affairs, one with a lady lobbyist. If so, that certainly refutes Republicans always being “The Party of No.”

He opposed Obama as best he could and was rewarded with betrayal when he tried to negotiate in good faith. He sat behind Obama and endured his State of the Union speeches. During those diatribes, Boehner looked like a man enduring an old lady’s long story at a Walmart return counter.

If there is a government shutdown in Washington because Boehner steps down and more militant Republicans take over, I am all for it. During the last one, no one noticed. What they ought to do is shut down government in D.C., see what we actually miss that they do, then hire a few of them back.

Both Boehner and Bernie Sanders will be OK. If the lights go out in D.C., Boehner will still glow. And aging curmudgeon Bernie Sanders will try to clap his hands to turn the lights back on.

(Ron Hart is a libertarian op-ed humorist columnist, author, and TV and radio commentator. He can be contacted at Ron@RonaldHart.com or RonaldHart.com.)

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