A lot happened in the intervening four months since the last post on this blog. Namely, I went through an extremely difficult quarter of college mathematics, physics, and programming (hence the blog blackout). But that’s not today’s subject.
Today, we need to talk about the massive budget deal that occurred in my web absence.
The mainstream media has portrayed the deal as a step forward on the path to political detente, and hopefully an end to partisan cliffhanger deals. That’s probably a good thing for the country, though this kind of compromise and political plodding probably will not produce any groundbreaking reforms or political achievements. Speaker Boehner seems like an entirely different politician: he put together a bipartisan compromise, and then lashed out at his own party in the process. Media reactions are of course too varied to generalize, but a lot of them seem to be positive — Forbes even goes so far as to use Boehner’s performance as a case study for handling enemies (1).
The sudden deification of Boehner is discomforting. John Boehner is still the same person who handed out checks from the tobacco lobby on the floor of the house in the 90s (2). He is still the same person who wasted millions of taxpayer dollars by holding over 40 votes on anti-Obamacare bills that were doomed from the start (3). He is still the same person who deliberately prolonged a government shutdown, even though the ending resolution had the votes to pass. Even by Washington standards, Boehner leaves a lot to be desired.
In the past few years, when Boehner was showing his true colors, I was angry, yes, but also content with his portrayal in the media and in the public eye. He was behaving irresponsibly and deviously, but that was exactly how he came across to the public. Boehner’s perpetual negative image was a small beacon of hope that one day he would be ousted in place of a more honest and competent leader.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated at the start of the Obama presidency that his primary goal was to make Obama a one-term president (4). That kind of attitude was shockingly partisan and unpatriotic in 2009, and it still is now. So I would not go so far as to say my main hope for the House is to watch Boehner fail. Given the choice between progress and no progress, I choose progress. But despite the Speaker’s new-found love for compromise, he is not part of solution. He is still a scheming, hypocritical politician who casually throws aside progress in exchane for quick political gains. America can progress much further if it does so without John Boehner.
(The Zqueaky linker isn’t working at this time; URLs must be manually copied the old-fashioned way.)