- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 27, 2015

House Speaker John A. Boehner derided his conservative critics as “false prophets” making impossible promises, even as his shock decision Friday to step down was proving divisive not only on Capitol Hill but on the presidential campaign trail as well.

Mr. Boehner announced his resignation one day after the historic Pope Francis address to a joint session of Congress, an address that the Ohio Republican orchestrated. The decision to retire from Congress October 30 came after continued sniping and open rebellion from a faction of House GOP conservatives who said Mr. Boehner should have taken a more confrontational stand on issues ranging from repealing Obamacare to the funding of Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Boehner told “Face the Nation” on CBS Sunday that his detractors, both in Congress and among outside conservative activists, were “false prophets” who “whip people into a frenzy” to make legislative demands that “are never going to happen.”

“The Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there spreading, you know, noise about how much can get done,” said Mr. Boehner, who has vowed to avoid the government shutdown many conservatives have sought as a way to block new abortion funding.

Mr. Boehner’s decision also divided the GOP presidential field, with some praising his realism and others cheering the fact that he had been effectively driven out of Washington.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Mr. Boehner would be missed by a party that may find it even harder to achieve its goals once he departs.

“I think people are going to miss him in the long run, because he’s a person that is focused on solving problems,” Mr. Bush told “Fox News Sunday.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also tweeted his appreciation for Mr. Boehner.

“I admire @Speaker Boehner for his dedication and service to this country. He’s a good man and I wish him well,” he wrote.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, yet another relative moderate in the field, said on “Face the Nation” that the people who caused Mr. Boehner to leave the speakership were part of the problem, not the solution.

“A lot of the people who were doing the complaining and saying, ‘Why isn’t anything getting done,’ maybe they ought to look in the mirror,” Mr. Kasich said. “What have they accomplished? I mean, are they just speech makers?”

But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, once called a “jackass” by Mr. Boehner, was jubilant over his exit announcement.

Addressing the Values Voter Summit, a meeting of strong social conservatives, he gleefully announced, “Yesterday, John Boehner was speaker of the House. You all come to town and somehow that changes. My only request is, can you come more often?”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said it was time for a new speaker, time for new conservative leadership.

“The time has come to turn the page,” he said at the same event. “The time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country.”

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina implied that Mr. Boehner was right to leave because his effectiveness as speaker was waning.

“I think every leader has a season, and I think John Boehner’s season was coming to an end and he understood that,” Ms. Fiorina said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I hope now that we will move on and have leadership in both the House and the Senate that will produce results.”

Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, said that Mr. Boehner has had a “long and distinguished career,” but hoped the next speaker would be able to stand their ground a little more and not give in to so much compromise.

Mr. Boehner “is a compromiser at a time when a lot of people on the right feel that too much compromise has already resulted in a situation that they’re not very happy with,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Mr. Boehner did get some kind words on the campaign trail — from the other end of the political spectrum.

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, seeking the 2016 Democratic nomination, said that he admired the GOP speaker’s tenacity and ability to stick it out for “five tough years.”

“John has had an impossibly difficult job trying to reconcile the conservative wing of his caucus with the extreme, extreme right wing of his caucus that really will not do anything and pass any legislation that Barack Obama will sign,” he said.


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