ADULT IN THE ROOM

A nondescript meeting room in the United States Capitol. September, 2015.

Republican Rabble: "WE MUST SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OVER OUR OPPOSITION TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD! BARGLE BARGLE BARGLE!"

John Boehner: "Guys we've been through this a few times already, remember? And remember how it always backfires and we end up looking worse because people like Obama and we kinda come off as a bunch of assholes?"

RR: "….Yeah, but we should do it anyway! BARGLE BARGLE BARGLE!"

JB: "Alright. Look. What is it you hope to accomplish with this?"

RR: "SHUT DOWN THE GUBBERMINT!" ("And defund Planned Parenthood") "AND DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD!"

JB: "OK well the problem is, a government shutdown doesn't really shut down the government, because we have to make a million exceptions to keep running all the parts of the government that it turns out people kind of like. And nothing about gutting PP is ever going to get past the Democrats in the Senate, or Obama. You have probably noticed that like, he doesn't really give a shit anymore. So what is this going to accomplish?"

RR: "WE WILL LOOK STRONG! LEADERSHIP! AMERICANS WILL APPLAUD OUR COURAGE!"

JB: "The most extreme third of the Republican base will applaud your courage, everyone else will think you're like a child who holds his breath every time he doesn't get what he wants. Turns out that isn't exactly electoral gold."

RR: "THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT, BECAUSE PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS EVILLLLLLL!"

JB: "Large majorities of Americans support birth control and abortion. Even most of the ones who talk about how horrible and immoral abortion is secretly hope it stays legal just in case their 15 year old daughter in private school gets knocked up."

RR: "EEEEEEEEVILLLLL!"

JB: "I agree guys, I'm against Planned Parenthood too. But the shutdown is just a game of chicken, and every time we play it we lose. You know exactly what's gonna happen. We're gonna get to the moment of truth and have to choose between burning our own country to the ground or caving and looking like a bunch of pussies. That's the exact opposite of what you said you want to accomplish."

RR: "BARGLE BARGLE BARGLE! YOU FAIL BECAUSE YOU DO NOT BELIEVE!"

JB: "Look I'm just pointing out that we've tried this several times and it never works. We can't do this over and over and expect a different result. Let's try something that hasn't already failed a couple times."

RR: *silence, throat clearing*

"LET'S SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT!"

JB: *grabs temples*

**************

How many times do you think you could tolerate having that conversation? I have no love for John Boehner, who has proven himself over the years to be little more than a stuffed suit and a partisan hack. However, compared to the current House Republican caucus he looks like Alexander Hamilton. He may not be bright and he may be as inspiring as a county board meeting, but it became pretty clear since 2010 that he was one of only a handful of adults in the room when the GOP caucus met. You can only stand in front of a roomful of people who are supposed to represent the highest elected body of the self-declared greatest nation on Earth and explain that, no, you can't do (insert Tea Party agenda item) because it's completely goddamn insane so many times before you'd step back and ask yourself, "What exactly is my motivation to keep doing this?" At some point, arguing with an ideologue becomes indistinguishable from arguing with a four year old. You speak the same language, but no amount of repetition is going to convince them that, no, we can't have ice cream and chicken fingers for dinner and Iron Man cannot live in the basement.

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47 Responses to “ADULT IN THE ROOM”

  1. Katydid Says:

    Standing up and applauding, Ed. You captured that perfectly. I'm positive that's exactly how that went down, and I'm sure Boehner made that exact assessment; there's no point in arguing with crazy, malignant idiots, and that's who the Republican party seems to be made up of anymore.

    Along those lines (and I swear this is true); this morning on the way to work, I followed a beat-up old Toyota Tercel (late 1980s/early 1990s) with a bumper sticker that said, "Trump–Make America Great Again". How do you even talk to someone like this?

  2. Wim Says:

    I was once behind a guy in a Hummer for about forty miles. He had a bumper sticker that read 'If you're still voting Democrat you're stuck on stupid', and his left turn signal was on the whole time.

  3. freeportguy Says:

    Failed Indiana GOP candidate Richard Mourdock stated that "bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view". In other words, no compromise whatsoever.

    Right wingers are like a virus, ie stopping at nothing and being totally uncompromising in their quest of taking complete control of the host it infected.

    And these are the very people in Congress calling Obama "radical" and a "tyrant"…

  4. Dave Dell Says:

    Adult in the room? Why, then, is he leaving his job as a congressman halfway through his term of office? Not exactly adult behavior in my book.

  5. Major Kong Says:

    You know things have gone off the deep end when John Boehner is the voice of reason in the room.

  6. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @Dave:

    He presumably has a liver the size and texture of an old basketball. This new shutdown scare probably reminded him that his supposed underlings won't be any less infantile in 2016 than they were in 2010. I, too, would decamp for K Street while I could.

  7. Peter Says:

    Time to cash in on the post-legislative corporate gravy train.

  8. doug Says:

    any guesses as to why he is leaving is speculation. He may not be sure exactly why. Given the level of idiots he had to work with, he did what he could.

    Only 'Partisan hacks' get to be speaker, Ed. That was redundant. See N. Pelosi for a D example…And watch the next speaker for same traits. Some in the house are determined to bring back feudal times w/o govt bothering rich resource owners. Let's hope they don't succeed.

  9. sluggo Says:

    @Good point, I never considered that.

    He simply sounded like a guy that hated going to work in the morning because of the crazy people that he had to deal with.

  10. cromartie Says:

    You think Nancy Pelosi is a partisan hack. That's adorable.

  11. RosiesDad Says:

    Unfortunately, there will be no fixing this until after the 2020 census and only then if Democrats win back many state legislatures. I am not particularly optimistic; things are likely to get much worse before they get any better.

  12. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @cromartie:

    It took me back to a simpler time pre-2011 when Pelosi was an eeeevil commie SDS Alinskyite stazi. The absolute loathing conservative comment-section morons had for her was impressive.

  13. Skepticalist Says:

    Remember when adults were allowed in Congress?

    The Baby Boomer generation, of which I am one, is living up to its designation. Its political stars are threatening once again to take their toys and go home because things are hard. Don't worry. It's what used to be the serious party of business and the enablers of American military overkill that believe they are put on earth to lead the way. After all, they alone saved the free world from communism by weeding out limp-wristed creeping socialists.

    Today, things are easier. In order to hold the line on silly progressive ideas and keep the country livable, all our saviors have to do is take away the allowance of three hundred million Americans–no matter how good they were.

    That'll show 'em.

  14. Mr. Frebus Says:

    "things are likely to get much worse before they get any better."

    I feel like I've been telling myself that for the last 14 years.

  15. Skippper Says:

    I pulled a Boehner in 2007. I'll spare you the details, but as an older adult with a lengthy — and if I do say so myself impressive — resume was stuck in a job that I compared to being stuck in seventh grade of a poorly run boarding school. One day, as I was going around the building to find some 30-something "supervisor" to sign my permission slip to leave early, I stood stock still in the middle of the hall and said, "I don't need this shit." And I went in and gave my notice.

    @Dave. It was one of the most adult things I've ever done.

  16. willf Says:

    And remember how it always backfires and we end up looking worse because people like Obama and we kinda come off as a bunch of assholes?"

    Perhaps you don't remember, but in the election that happened after the last time the GOP shut down the government, they retook control of the Senate and gained even more seats in the house. Why wouldn't they try it again?

  17. bb in GA Says:

    Mr Boehner:

    "Large majorities of Americans support birth control and abortion….."

    I may have been sucking on a fox news teat or somethin', but Mr B. while I believe the birth control part, can you show me some non-partisan numbers that say 'large majorities of Americans' support abortion ?

    Thanks,

    //bb

  18. zemadmax Says:

    bb:

    More Americans identify themselves as "pro-choice" than "pro-life," according to multiple sources.

    Gallup: http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx
    Pew: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/11/5-facts-about-abortion/
    Rasmussen: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/abortion/more_voters_think_it_s_too_easy_to_get_an_abortion

  19. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @willf,

    Exactly! I keep seeing in blogs and commentary like this how crazy, childish, and hateful the GOP is, and how just about everything they want to do is immensely unpopular. Yet they have firm control of the House, have a majority in the Senate, on most issues have a majority on the Supreme Court, and control most state governments. So people need to remind me again…what exactly is the political cost for all the crazy?

    This is what you get in a two-party system where one of the party's base is made up of people who generally don't vote in off-year elections. Until the Democrats figure out how to get their base to vote, the crazies in the GOP will rule the day, because their base pretty much ALWAYS shows up at the polls.

  20. John Says:

    Gallup and NPR show similar data that abortion under certain circumstances has enjoyed at least 51% support for the last 40 years.

    The numbers that support abortion under any circumstances usually hovers closer to 30%.

    That said, you're never going to find a lot of people that are "Woo! Abortion is awesome!" but given that people oppose overturning Roe v. Wade by a 2-1 margin, that's about as close as you get.

  21. Carter Says:

    @bbinGA

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

    about 50% of the country wants abortion to be legal in limited circumstances(*).

    about 20% of the country wants abortion to be legal under all circumstances.

    slightly less than 20% of the country wants abortion to be illegal under all circumstances.

    So slightly more than 70% of the country want some abortion access. Exactly what level of access is hard to determine, but almost certainly it includes "if push comes to shove, my daughter can fly to a blue state and quietly take care of things."

  22. John Says:

    @Gerald/willf

    The current state of gerrymandered districts in this country has more to do with that than any election turnout or support for the 2013 shutdown. About the only thing you can attribute to the lower turnout on the Dem side is the loss of the 8 senate seats, particularly in states like Colorado and NC.

  23. mothra Says:

    I don't blame Boehner a bit. I just wonder how it took him so long. He should have refused the majority seat after the last tussle. That should have proved to him that he was going to be trying to teach pigs to sing for the tenure of that position.

  24. Khaled Says:

    I don't have the number handy, and I don't have time to Google them, but I believe that for the past two elections, more people have voted for Democrats than Republicans in the House races, but the gerrymandering has basically allowed minority rule in terms of number of house seats. Ohio and Pennsylvania (the last two states that I've lived in) are states that are almost always 50/50 Democratic/Republican split for president/Senate, etc., but both have large Republican majorities on their House representation because of how the districts have been drawn.

  25. Skippper Says:

    Everyone wants to know why he stuck it out. Folks, he was second in line for the presidency. That allows you to put up with a lot of shit.

  26. Skepticalist Says:

    Now he can open a chain of tanning salons

  27. Robert Says:

    When polled about Congress, most voters have an unfavorable view.

    When polled about their own Representative, most voters have a favorable view.

    Result: lower turnover than most monarchies. There is a district near where I live that had two Representatives between the end of WWII and 2000.

  28. J. Dryden Says:

    I suspect that the writing was already on the wall, and I don't mean to render life in terms of (bad) fiction, but I rather wonder if Boehner resigned after being given permission to by Francis.

    The two men meet privately, and, assuming Francis's public persona is a good indication of his private one, you know Boehner wept–because of course he did–and it all came spilling out.

    And Francis being Francis, he told Boehner that he'd done enough–that there are plenty of ways of serving God, that God would forgive him, that Francis forgave him, etc.

    I think that might've been the last nudge.

    Or maybe I'm just trying to humanize the dipshit. I never, ever cared for Boehner–he always struck me as someone who wanted the position for power's sake–he liked the IDEA of "SPEAKER John Boehner"–but who had no notion of how to lead beyond back-door pleading.

    CITIZENS UNITED fucked him, of course, by opening the floodgates and guaranteeing that fucking lunatics who otherwise wouldn't have scraped up enough funds to buy a postage stamp could now acquire millions from one pet lunatic or two, and thus ran, and won, and answer to no one but said lunatic and/or the voices in their own heads.

    But, as Maher said of Reagan: "He was stupid before he got sick." And Boehner was a dipshit before he got saddled with the fucking peanut-pickers. The fact that his job became impossible doesn't mean that he was any good at it before it became so.

    I love that people are blathering now about how Things Will Get Worse in Congress. No, they won't. They'll be exactly the same. EXACTLY. An impotent man (a descriptor that will be literally true after a week in the Speaker's chair) will take the vacant seat, and proceed to do functionally nothing, just like Boehner.

    Saying Things Will Get Worse (or even Different) now that Boehner's gone is like saying that the New Guy who sits in the dunk tank is "really gonna shake up the game."

  29. bb in GA Says:

    So, the path to large majorities for abortion comes by adding the 'legal under any circumstances' to the 'legal under certain circumstances' numbers together. However, the general proposition of 'Pro Choice' historically and remains a bare majority.

    'Large majority' for me (it was undefined by 'Mr. Boehner') would start at around 60%

    Thanks for digging out the numbers.

    //bb

  30. doug Says:

    cromartie- I am glad you find me adorable, and I guess you find Ms Pelosi that way also. Thx…

  31. Whatver Says:

    Boehner caving to teatards to keep his job is no way to go through life.

  32. S M McBean Says:

    FWIW, I live in Boehner's district. During the shutdown I hand delivered a letter tohim to an aide doing the monthly constituent session. I told him exactly what he had to do: be Speaker of the House, not the Tea Party, overcome the Hassert rule, etc. I also told him he already would go down in history as the most ineffectual Speaker in modern times and he might as well resign. It took him a while but he finally took all my advice, so I take full credit (but not responsibility).

    Once he leaves office the people of the 8th district won't be represented, so no change there. Sadly, among the names bandied to succeed him is our county sheriff Richard Jones who's gotten lots of Fox airtime as a renowned Mexican hater. Yes, this is probably the most safely Gerrymandered Republican district in the state, so whoever wins the primary will certainly win the general. Some cycles the Dems haven't even found a sacrificial lamb to run against him.

  33. Katydid Says:

    @bb; you're missing the point that the people who want limited access to abortion and the people who want full access to abortion are, indeed, different groups and therefore can be added together as people who support the right of a woman to control what happens to her own body. It sounds like you are not for the right of women to bodily integrity; why is it that the "small gov't" types always seem to demand a gov't small enough to fit inside a woman's womb?

  34. Skepticalist Says:

    That sane members of Congress will miss John Boehner is a sad state of affairs because what's coming will be so much worse.

    It's over.

  35. Michael Says:

    "Perhaps you don't remember, but in the election that happened after the last time the GOP shut down the government, they retook control of the Senate and gained even more seats in the house. Why wouldn't they try it again?"

    WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER

  36. bb in GA Says:

    @Katydid

    It seems you have a superpower that I would like to possess – that of divining what other people want based on a few questions and replies on the intertubes.

    But I guess you are right. I hate women and want to ultimately control your lady parts…couldn't be any other possibility.

    //bb

  37. Katydid Says:

    @BB; this isn't my first day reading this blog–you've made your leanings clear, and you were more clear today. Sorry you are more transparent than you seem to think.

  38. Skepticalist Says:

    I was behind the curve when abortion became what it is today. By the very detailed video over the years and publications by anti-abortion freaks, I learned more about it than I thought possible. The anti-abortion twerps have done the country a favor by teaching how to do it safely and successfully and at the same time how to avoid their ranting psychotic supporters.

    I barely knew abortion existed or where to go until they began pointing it out. It's really been quite handy.

  39. Ed Says:

    Today Jonah Goldberg called for the return of Newt Gingrich as Speaker. Uhhh.

  40. Eau Says:

    Vintage bb.

    Cognitive dissonance, (deliberate?) misreading of data and quotes, false accusations, paranoia, passive aggression…. oh yeah. Now we just need a reference to the fact there are women in his family and/or he has friends who aren't white and my bb bingo card will be full.

  41. Katydid Says:

    @Skepticalist; Just a couple of years ago in Texas, a woman pregnant with a very-much wanted fetus suffered a medical catastrophe and died on her kitchen floor, and the "small gov't" fought her family to keep her slowly-rotting corpse alive to preserve the fetus, even though the lack of oxygen the woman's body had suffered unquestionably injured the fetus, and being housed in a rotting corpse was further disabling the fetus. The lunatics who thought they knew better than the woman's doctors and her husband are the same lunatics who drive Boehner out of office. There is a lunatic fanatic fringe who are quite happy to deny women their rights, deny minorities their rights, and run this country like a religious cult.

  42. Sharkbabe Says:

    Yes oh my god I'm so sad at the 90 million potential assholes who were prevented from being here in this paradise of existence! SO SAD and TRAGIC! All those snowflakes who never got to worry about paying their fucking bills for 80 years! When I drive to work each day and sit in gridlock I weep and think, why can't there be 90 million more cars here?

  43. Anonymous Prof Says:

    Pew just found that 72% of Republican voters in North Carolina believe that Muslims should be barred from running for President.

    40% of Republican voters in NC believe that Islam should be outlawed.

    But wait, let me guess- this is just the lunatic fringe of the GOP, and it's not fair to tar all conservatives with a broad brush, right?

    How dare you characterize these people by the beliefs of a mere 72% of the whole!

  44. The Grown-Up in the House | Shortwoman.com Says:

    […] just a little round-up of things people are saying about John Boehner's resignation. The consensus is that now there is no "adult supervision" of Republicans in the House of […]

  45. Beleck Says:

    BB… ah, your morals triumph over others, per the Republican fear of women killing babies. My God is always better than yours. lol. Sharia style, Christian take!! Keep women pregnant and in the kitchen where they belong, Right????

    imposing your view/religious on others. a true Republican value. not the least bit Christian, but in America, very few Christians are following Jesus. like all the Power mongers, lol. sad to see such willful ignorance aimed at other.

    we all have to right to be idiots, just taking away others "rights" is a Republican "right." lol

    just like the part in the movie, "Cabaret" where Michael asks the German friend about the Nazis. "so you think you/Germans can handle them now?" American Weimar "leaders" have led the dogs of hatred and partisanship out to devour its' own fellow American. Divide and Conquer! Kentucky's state motto, by way. Thank you Kim Davis for judging, and telling Jesus who is "worthy" and who isn't!

    sooner rather than later, at the speed of hatred led by the Republicans, America will enjoy a "real" taste of "American Exceptionalism" by one of the "Leaders" our fascist country has encouraged by "bringing America back." Back to the wonders of the Neo Feudal Age. Make the Gilded Age a crock of empty dreams. Fear and loathing of anyone not following the "Republican" Way. my way or the Highway.

    Amazing how ignorance and intolerance is the Culture Republicans live by. At this rate we will break up into fiefdoms where the Rich can do what they want so much easier without anyone "interfering" in their Right to Rule. and this has begun by the Right, as Upton Sinclair, and other wonderfully capable described during the Golden Age. Carrying a Flag Waving a Bible. Elmer Gantry/A Face in the Crowd type of propaganda.

    ah But i can just sit back here and read the comments while America is torn asunder by those who "know", just know what God has in mind for "ALL OF US." and be sure BB will provide the "customary Republican "Truth" we all "need" to believe. Spare me the BS, just send money. Otherwise, Mitch McConnell is in for the "next" serving of TEA party/Right wing payback.

    as they say, " they usually eat their own."

  46. Michael Says:

    "But I guess you are right. I hate women and want to ultimately control your lady parts…couldn't be any other possibility."

    …yes? It's pretty obvious.

  47. Katydid Says:

    @Michael; Yes, it is pretty obvious. It's also obvious that the entire pubie party hates women, or why else try to shut down the gov't because an organization provides basic healthcare and screenings 97% of the time to women (also men).