It’s a sad state of affairs to realize that former Speaker of the House John Boehner, someone who led the House of Representatives during one of the most obstructive times in our country’s government, seems “moderate and reasonable” based upon today’s Republican Party.
Unfortunately, that’s the case.
While I know most conservative voters today can’t stand Boehner, with many thinking he was a sellout who never stood up to Barack Obama (which is absurd considering he obstructed nearly everything he possibly could. See: 2013 government shutdown and bipartisan immigration reform bill), the former Speaker of the House is still a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who helped contribute to the propaganda that eventually created the environment for someone like Donald Trump to be elected “president.”
That said, since his retirement, Boehner has been somewhat vocal in calling out the more extreme elements of the GOP and even the party’s lies about repealing Obamacare. That’s rather ironic coming from someone who spent years as House Speaker saying Republicans were going to “repeal Obamacare” — when he knew they never had enough power in government to do so.
Nevertheless, during an interview with Politico, Boehner had some choice words for the “right-wing idiots” in the conservative media who’ve embraced pure fiction and conspiracies in the name of bigger ratings and more money.
I always liked Rush [Limbaugh]. When I went to Palm Beach I would always meet with Rush and we’d go play golf. But you know, who was that right-wing guy, [Mark] Levin? He went really crazy right and got a big audience, and he dragged [Sean] Hannity to the dark side. He dragged Rush to the dark side. And these guys—I used to talk to them all the time. And suddenly they’re beating the living shit out of me.” Boehner, seated in his favorite recliner, lights another cigarette. “I had a conversation with Hannity, probably about the beginning of 2015. I called him and said, ‘Listen, you’re nuts.’ We had this really blunt conversation. Things were better for a few months, and then it got back to being the same-old, same-old. Because I wasn’t going to be a right-wing idiot.
And he’s right. While I loathe people like Levin, Hannity, and Limbaugh, I don’t actually think they believe most of what they say. They’re a bunch of frauds and con artists who realized many years ago that selling lies, misinformation, outrage, conspiracies, and fear was a very lucrative business when your audience is comprised of conservatives. For these bottom-feeders, the more people are angry, irrational, misinformed and divided — the better.
While I certainly commend Boehner for speaking out, it’s hard for me to give him too much credit considering it’s too little, too late. Especially from someone who partially helped empower the more nutty aspects of the GOP during the rise of the tea party by pushing the expectation of repealing Obamacare, not strongly condemning the racist elements that became more vocal during the Obama administration, and even allowing our government to shut down when he knew doing so was absolutely pointless. It’s easy to speak up when you’re retired and never have to run for office again, but it takes real grit to do so while you’re still in office and have something to lose.
It’s just a shame Boehner never found that courage while he was in Congress.
Still, based on the craziness we’re all currently witnessing in this country, any voice speaking out against the insanity is welcome.