Herein lies the existential question of the age: is Lucy to blame for constantly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown just as he’s about to kick it, or is it his fault for giving her so many chances to make a fool out of him?
Let us consider this question as President Obama signs the “zombie budget” into law this week, which increases spending and explodes debt limits because a Republican Congress has deemed that to be “governing” when viewed through the lens of John Boehner’s nicotine-soaked tears.
Except Mr. Boehner can’t help himself. If his aura were a cologne it would be called “pathetic desperation.” Yet the sad fact of the matter is most of us have too many little Boehner doppelgangers dancing around inside our own psyches to be an effective antidote to the machinations of GOP establishment hacks.
We are constantly triangulating, equivocating and obfuscating. How else did a guy who really didn’t want to become speaker of the House, and who didn’t have the backing of the conservative base that caused Mr. Boehner’s demise, succeed Mr. Boehner? Paul Ryan was actually on both sides of the zombie budget deal within a 24-hour period, yet he was somehow anointed anyway with no substantial opposition.
We clearly just don’t know what we want. Not really. We say we want to resurrect the spirit of Ronald Reagan. We create things like the House Freedom Caucus. We extoll the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and talk about faithfully defending the U.S. Constitution.
But then we hear that little Boehner on our shoulder whispering in our ear, just like he did with Mr. Ryan when he reportedly convinced him to run for the job by laying “every ounce of Catholic guilt that I could on him.”
“This isn’t about what you want to do,” Mr. Boehner continued. “This is about what God wants you to do.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. The man who has routinely lambasted conservative Christian legislators for being difficult or unrealistic, when attempting to protect life, marriage and religious liberty in the service of God and country, is now claiming one of the few Republicans to vote for ENDA, the unholy grail of the Rainbow Jihad, is on holy ground?
“Pulled the God card, huh?” asked CNN’s interviewer, Dana Bash.
“Oh, I pulled it all out,” Mr. Boehner replied. “Paul was the right guy. At the right time. I know he didn’t want to do it. He kept telling me he didn’t want to do it. But it was obvious to me that he was the right person for the job.”
And so it was that we will tell tales to our grandchildren, and they in turn to theirs, that Paul Ryan was called to climb the mountain by the great prophet Boehner, who rendered the House Freedom Caucus inert by electrocuting them with his tanning bad.
Oh yes, Mr. Ryan was certainly the man for the job. In his own interview on CNN with Ms. Bash after becoming speaker, Mr. Ryan wrote this Hallmark Card ode to weakness concerning the possibility of defunding Planned Parenthood. But since this is what God apparently wants, it is worth quoting in full:
“I think we need to be very clear about what we can and cannot achieve and not set expectations that we know we can’t reach given the constraints of the Constitution. I don’t think Planned Parenthood should get a red cent from the taxpayer. I’ve always believed that, even before these disgusting videos came out. But I believe we need to do our oversight. We’re just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That’s important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood, I think, should be in the driver’s seat overseeing this process. …
“This is what I mean when I say being an effective opposition party. I think being an effective opposition party means being honest with people upfront about what it is we can and cannot achieve. But we also have to push issues where we can push issues, we have to speak truth to power. We have a president that isn’t willing to listen, that isn’t going to sign lots of our bills into law, we have a Senate that has a very difficult process when it comes to actually getting bills voted on, so knowing that we have those constraints, we have to operate within those constraints.”
Let heaven and nature sing! Nothing stirs the souls like preemptive surrender. Let infanticide roll on like a river, taxpayer funding for it like a mighty stream.
With those words Ryan has already told us to expect more of the same. Albeit in a prettier, less revolting package. We wanted new leadership and simply got a rebrand instead.
Thank goodness, though, that the party is united around the new speaker or some garbage like that. That’s what the Boehners inside our heads are telling us right now, leading us to believe that the future will somehow be different if only we do evil so that good may come of it just a little while longer.
God wants Mr. Ryan to spend more time with his kids but mine get an extra heaving helping of debt and total moral collapse. This GOP deal just keeps getting better all the time.
(Steve Deace is a nationally syndicated talk show host and also the author of the book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)
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