RINGSIDE TURKEY OF THE YEAR: JOHN BOEHNER
Each year during the Thanksgiving season, Americans enjoy turkey as the main course in cherished family dinner traditions. However, at Ringside Politics, we evaluate political or media “turkeys” who have been nominated for our annual award.
As usual, we had plenty of nominees to consider for the 2014 “Turkey of the Year Award.” Unlike most honors our award is not coveted, for the honoree should hold his or her head in shame. The winner is someone who engaged in especially dumb behavior, befitting of the pea brained fowl we carve up each year at the holiday dinner table.
Past winners have included political “turkeys” like former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and former New Orleans Congressman Bill Jefferson, who both sit in federal prison today; filmmaker Michael Moore, who continually embarrasses himself; and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose idiotic statements could be cataloged into several volumes.
At Ringside Politics, our awards are bestowed in a bi-partisan manner, so, this year, it is especially appropriate that we give the “Turkey of the Year Award” to a Republican, Speaker of the House John Boehner.
When Mr. Boehner is not crying during an interview, tanning at the salon, or playing golf with Barack Obama, he is “leading” congressional Republicans. He is the most powerful Republican in the country today, as he is third in line to the presidency, but he does not exude confidence or leadership ability. He is a dyed in the wool member of the establishment, so he holds the Tea Party in low regard.
Sadly, the Speaker is bereft of courage, principles and political instincts. Despite the overwhelming Republican victory on November 4 and the President’s unconstitutional executive amnesty order, Speaker Boehner abdicated his authority and left for Thanksgiving vacation.
While the President is running roughshod over a Congress that has been called “inert” by constitutional professor Jonathan Turley, Boehner refuses to act decisively. For example, it took almost two years for a special house committee to be established to investigate the Benghazi attack. When Attorney General Eric Holder refused to provide Congress the needed documents on the Fast and Furious investigation and former IRS official Lois Lerner refused to cooperate on the charges her agency harassed Tea Party groups, both were held in Contempt of Congress. Unfortunately, nothing else has happened to either transgressor.
In the most recent outrage, President Obama creatively expanded executive power to grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants. In response, Boehner did nothing, which is how he responds whenever the President violates the constitution.
He has moved to the left by signing a climate change agreement limiting our carbon emissions, appointing a very liberal Attorney General, and offering a bold plan to increase government oversight of the Internet. All of these initiatives are threats to this country and they should be met with a confident and clear response as Republican leaders should explore all political and legal remedies.
Since losing the mid-term election, the President has become emboldened, acting aggressively on a range of issues. He is not compromising; he is pursuing his agenda, regardless of Congress.
The Republicans just won the mid-term elections, but they are acting like the losers while the President, the big loser, is acting like the winner. Boehner is advising caution, while Obama is swinging for the fences. Republicans won the mid-term because Americans wanted the GOP to stop the Obama agenda, but, to stop it; Boehner needs to show courageous leadership.
Unfortunately, while he is reluctant to tangle with the President or illegal immigration activists, Boehner is more than willing to fight the grassroots conservatives in his own party. Maybe conservatives looking for a champion can find one in the 2016 presidential line-up of candidates, but they do not have one as House Speaker or incoming Senate Majority Leader for that matter.
Conservatives flocked to the polls in the mid-term election to restore Republicans to leadership positions in the U.S. Senate and retain control of the House, but to what avail? If the GOP in Congress will not stand up to Obama, what good is having the leadership positions?
Some in Congress have called for impeachment, lawsuits or defunding all of the activities associated with the executive amnesty. The least attractive option is to do nothing, but that has been the congressional response to date. Boehner says that the House “will act” and that Obama is “damaging the presidency,” but such rhetoric is just empty words if it is backed up by no response.
In the mid-term races, many Republican candidates campaigned on the illegal immigration issue, claiming they would stop amnesty. Now, efforts to eliminate funding for executive amnesty are being opposed by House GOP leaders who claim they do not have the power to deny funding. Baloney, according to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who asserts that Congress “has the power” to remove such funding and that “it can be done.”
Maybe Boehner and the GOP establishment are worried about a government shutdown or too afraid of their big business donors who demand cheap labor. Maybe they are scared of Hispanic leaders who will cry racism if Republicans advocate following the existing law, building the border fence and prosecuting businesses that knowingly hire illegal labor. Who knows the exact fears, but while the GOP is frozen with inaction, the President will move forward with the next radical item on his agenda, oppressive environmental regulations for example.
This inaction could split the tenuous Republican coalition that assembled for the mid-term elections. Without action on key issues such as executive amnesty, Tea Party conservatives may start to bolt from the GOP.
At the current time, bold action is required from the Republican Party, but Americans should expect little to nothing since the GOP is saddled with John Boehner at the helm.
Thus far he has proven to be a perfect “Turkey of the Year” but not much of a Speaker of the House.