On Friday morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he would be leaving Congress on the day before Halloween. Presumably, he already has a gig booked the next night as a pumpkin.
While the media suggest that Boehner’s ouster came as a surprise, it came as no surprise to readers of Breitbart, who learned from Matt Boyle yesterday that Boehner would not be able to retain his speakership “without Democratic votes.” Boyle reported:
The day after Pope Francis addressed the Congress for the first time—in front of a teary-eyed Boehner—the Speaker had planned to move forward by bringing forth a resolution to vacate the chair, then holding a vote for his reelection intended to prove he had widespread support in the GOP conference….Boehner quickly learned again that he does not have enough support in the House GOP conference to win re-election and called off still-preliminary plans to hold the vote on Friday.
Boehner simply headed off his own political demise at the pass – and in the process, slapped conservatives one last time. As a final parting gift, like a man leaving a lingering fart on a crowded elevator, Boehner will now sign onto a budget deal that would forestall a possible government shutdown over defunding of Planned Parenthood. According to Politico:
Now that he doesn’t have internal political considerations to weigh, Boehner is certain to push through a government-funding bill next week that funds Planned Parenthood and keeps the government open.
And according to the Washington Post, it won’t stop with giving Obama his budget:
Some Republicans are speculating that Boehner’s lame-duck status could free his hand to act on other measures that have bipartisan support but are despised by hard-line conservatives. Those measures could include a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, an extension of the federal debt ceiling, or a long-term highway bill. All of them have been opposed by the same conservatives who have pushed for Boehner’s ouster. “He gets a chance to really go out on a high note and now I think you’ll see a few things in October,” said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). “I expect to see a very busy month in October.”
Already, establishment Republican members of Congress are praising Boehner’s bravery in avoiding a shutdown, handing another major victory to President Obama and Democrats. Boehner, they say, has saved the Republican Party from the right-wing kooks who would ruin it by threatening to defund top Obama priorities. The idea here is that nutjobs like Ted Cruz threaten Republicans with electoral defeat. The conservative SmartSet™ base this opinion on reams of data including massive Republican victories following Cruz’s Obamacare government shutdown.
It was leadership like this that led to the conservative insurgence against Boehner that has been brewing for years, as covered extensively by Breitbart News.
According to media reports, however, this was all wildly unexpected. The bizarre, spur-of-the-moment announcement apparently sprang from Boehner’s visit with the Pope yesterday. Boehner asked the Pope to pray for him. According to Howard Kurtz of Fox News, Boehner decided this morning that he wanted to leave Congress:
Boehner says he told his wife last night he might just quit today, then decided after getting his morning Starbucks
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) September 25, 2015
Let’s assume, for the moment, that this was true – that Boehner knew the writing was on the wall, but decided not to fight after sipping a delicious cup of burnt-java steaming diarrhea from Starbucks. Boehner himself said he began thinking about retirement on Thursday night, then decided on Friday morning, “Today’s the day I’m going to do this.” That would be a microcosm of Boehner’s tenure: a blustery belief in victory, followed by a spur-of-the-moment decision to quit.
No wonder Republicans need new leadership.
President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid have been deeply ruthless advocates on behalf of the partisan left; their decisionmaking process has never been subject to whim. Boehner, who has been consistently outplayed by all three, is the sort of fellow who decides on a moment’s notice to give up the third highest office in the United States. No wonder Boehner got bamboozled over sequestration (he told Republican House members that members of Congress would certainly prevent sequestration from ever taking effect), Obamacare and Planned Parenthood funding, cromnibus funding for executive amnesty, and prevention of the Iran deal.
Boehner’s exit is an excellent development for the Republican Party. At the very least, it should provide some clarity. Those who believe Boehner’s legacy will be one of steady leadership through troubled waters, maintaining a Republican majority in the face of the Obama onslaught, will bring forward their candidate; those who believe Boehner’s legacy will be turning Congress into an evolutionary relic will bring forward their own. The stakes are high; the likelihood of a compromise candidate, a political manipulator willing to grant seats at the table in exchange for power, is higher.
But Boehner seeks to prevent any conflict between those who think Republican leadership’s main task is to maintain Republican leadership, and those who think Republican leadership’s main task is to stop Obama’s agenda. Instead, he said he had stepped down to stop the “turmoil that’s been churning now for the last couple months,” which is “not good for the members, and it’s not good for the institution.” That, presumably, would be the same institution Boehner has disgraced by making it a rubber stamp for the dictatorial executive branch.
Thus, to quell any potential conflict, Boehner has even anointed a successor: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “I think Kevin McCarthy would make an excellent Speaker.”
That endorsement is a good indicator that the reverse is true.
The media have a dog in this fight: they want it to seem as though Boehner resigned out of personal annoyance with the stupid right-wing Republicans, rather than because he has become wildly unpopular with voters. But conservatives should not be fooled: we need no more John Boehners. And conservatives should fight to place a proven conservative ideologue at the top of the Congressional food chain, not another “institutional” Republican.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.