I’m sitting at my computer and enjoying a can of Skyline Chili. It’s one of the great delicacies to come out of Cincinnati and a favorite of the Ohio locals in John Boehner’s 8th Congressional District.
If you’ve never been to a chili parlor in the Midwest, there’s nothing like a bowl of Skyline or Gold Star Chili done 4-way; with their secret recipe chili, beans, spaghetti and cheddar cheese piled so high you might have to get yourself a ladder. Smother hot sauce on your masterpiece, and it’ll warm you up like nuthin’ else will on a cold Ohio night. Yum, yum!
About a year ago, I was asked to help with a political long shot, help find and support a candidate to run against Mr. Boehner in his home district.
I had the opportunity to not only enjoy the glorious chili, but get to know many of the people in the area just north of Cincinnati. I got the chance to understand their politics and learn the draw of Mr. Boehner back home.
I found out, anecdotally of course, not that Mr. Boehner was beloved back home, but feared. The local media did what they could to keep other candidates out of the spotlight, and local politicians froze with fear at the slightest suggestion of working with or endorsing another candidate. Although, most said they would if they could, but they all feared repercussions; whispers of lost jobs, withdrawn support, disappearing campaign funds and more were all told behind closed doors.
The fear I witnessed in Ohio’s 8th District played out in real time in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, when the largest rebellion of party members against an incumbent speaker since the Civil War took place. In an act of courage, 24 Republicans stood up against John “Mr. Grudge” Boehner.
As I watched the votes pour in online, my mind wandered, wondering what was going on behind the scenes. I pictured the ruthless, take-no-prisoners Rep. Frank Underwood, protagonist in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” Francis would never take disrespect and changed votes lying down. Punishment of those who voted against him would have been swift and painful.
Fast-forward an hour or two after the vote. Mr. Boehner became Frank Underwood in real life. Speaker Boehner quickly removed Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent from the powerful Rules Committee, for standing up and daring to run against His Majesty. Proving, once again, that fears from Ohio and Republicans in Congress are justified.
Politics is a blood sport, but the will of the people must be taken into account. The American voters sent a strong message: Fix things now!
Republicans in the House ignored that message by blindly re-electing Mr. Boehner to another term as speaker.
No one should be satisfied with the status quo. We are $18 trillion in debt (and it’s growing by the millisecond). Americans are unemployed or underemployed at alarming numbers, illegal immigrants swarm our borders with little or no consequence and Obamacare is proving to be an unmitigated disaster. Even liberal professors from Harvard University who originally supported the law are outraged, because Obama”doesn’t”Care has suddenly hit their paychecks.
Mr. Boehner was the engineer of some of the worst deals, blunders and caves in U.S. history. His record of standing up to the president has been poor at best, and now the incumbents in the House have cowered and acquiesced to that lousy leadership.
The ruthless attacks on conservatives serve no purpose but to divide the Republican Party. In an era where those in power should embrace the grassroots, Mr. Boehner chooses to attack those who gave him the gavel.
It appears Mr. Boehner has kept his subscription to Netflix current, and is anxiously awaiting season three of “House of Cards” to find out what he should do next.
Frank Underwood might be impressed with Mr. Boehner’s leadrship, but I would prefer to see the speaker use those tricks against the president’s agenda and not against those he purports to represent.