As you may have heard, Time magazine just plastered the pontiff on its cover as person of the year. Some of us in the US take that to mean that, indeed, the meaning of life is not about how many securitized derivative products you can create that will cause the collapse of banks and financial markets. Nor is it about how many government shutdowns you can mastermind, or how many food stamps you can take from the hands of the hungry and poor.
Hark the herald angels are finally singing, one of whom is … tada! John Boehner.
The Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, who earlier this fall shrugged his shoulders at a corporatist-led shutdown of the federal government, appears to have gotten the pope’s memo. Or maybe Representative Paul Ryan passed the pope’s memo to Boehner. Ryan, the former GOP vice presidential candidate has also shirked his Tea Party masters by authoring a budget deal that will stave off any more shutdowns and defaults, at least for two years.
When asked this week if the modest US budget deal worked out by Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray deserved to be immediately blasted by conservative groups, Boehner delivered his own scathing bit of fire and brimstone:
You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?
That was just the warm up. Boehner then expanded on his sermon by unmasking the GOP civil war that has not only plummeted the Republican party into a death spiral but also hijacked Congress by keeping it from doing any meaningful work on behalf of the American people.
They are using our members and they are using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous. Listen, if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement, Boehner said.
We’re thankful this holiday season that Boehner has decided to (finally) declare that the emperor has no clothes; that the Koch brothers, Ted Cruz, the Club For Growth, Dick Armey and Freedom Works are now the Wizards of Oz left standing naked before us. The American people deserve to see just how it is that the so-called “grassroots” movement called the Tea Party was long ago co-opted by these billionaire corporatists.
Never mind that nagging voice inside our heads that begs the question: where was this version of Boehner three months ago? Did he develop a conscience and a spine in two months? Can a merlot hangover produce some long overdue cut-the-crap honesty?
Or maybe it was the pope, because some of us consider the Time magazine cover of an alms-delivering pontiff and Boehner’s political epiphany as very good signs, even if they’re simply, oddly, coincidental.
In a time when the anti-government forces got a little too close to being “in charge” of Congress during the $24bn-in-lost-revenues-courtesy-of-Ted-Cruz’s shutdown, some of us have even had a fleeting, flirtatious idea about converting to Catholicism. A world leader who is willing to call the end game of capitalism antithetical to humanity? What? When did the Vatican take over the wheels of John McCain’s straight-talk express?
Boehner’s latest “outburst” is so out of left field, so refreshing, that some of us wonder whether Boehner’s brain and Twitter accounts might have been hacked.
So far, it doesn’t appear to be that way. There are no retractions, no capitulating to the campaign-donor captors who threaten primaries against Republicans who dare to make deals with Democrats.
Today, Boehner went back to the congressional leader’s pulpit and expanded on his civil-war-cracking diatribe against the handful of rich people who are trying to goad an entire nation to work against the interests of a majority of its people. As he said:
You know, they pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare … It wasn’t exactly the strategy I had in mind. But if you recall, the day before the government re-opened, one of the people at one of these groups stood up and said, ‘well we never really thought it would work.’ Are you kidding me?
No, sir. You’ve got to be kidding us. Even since the days after Boehner and Barack Obama went golfing and tried to cook up the grand bargain, Boehner toddled away from the reservation called procedural and policy sanity.
However, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela’s forgiveness, which the South African leader granted his jailors, we’ll forgive Boehner, who has finally emerged from a three-years-long, Club-For-Growth-induced coma.
Welcome back to the real America, Mr Speaker.