Matt Taibbi takes a “Must Read” look at the political career of the new Speaker of the House over at the Rolling Stone site. He leaves Boehner in shreds but doesn’t spare the rest of Congress, of either party, along the way…
Voters are fatigued not only by the seemingly endless kinky-sex and corruption scandals emanating from Capitol Hill, but also by the increasingly infuriating fact that no matter which party is in power, the leadership inevitably borrows like dice addicts on the Vegas strip and uses the money to pay for huge Frankensteinian initiatives that bloat the size and power of the federal government, often without semblance of sense or plan. The underlying dynamic is bought-off congressmen ignoring real social problems and using the legislative process to construct massive perpetual handouts for their campaign-contributor sponsors. Both parties have now made the servicing of the giant handout machine their primary raison d’être — and it’s this perception, that Washington is occupied by an unbreakable bipartisan conspiracy of favor-churning hacks, that has inspired anti-Washington revolts like the Tea Party.
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The anger of Tea Partiers …erupted when they suddenly realized that their elected leaders in Congress had developed a primary allegiance not to constituents back home or even to ideology, but to themselves and their own dissolute, pay-for-play, you-scratch-mine, I’ll-scratch-yours intramural bureaucratic calculus. Voters got mad when leaders covered up sex scandals, partied on corporate junkets when they should have been working on the public dime, wasted mountains of taxpayer money on political witch hunts instead of working to stave off another financial crisis or terrorist attack — and they got mad, especially, when congressional leaders stopped having the common decency to hide the lavish gifts funneled to them by their lobbyist pals in exchange for political favors, parading around in public with their goodies in hand without even caring how it looked.
They’re all odious, Taibbi says, but Boehner is the creme de la creme:
Boehner just represents a certain type of hollowly driven, two-faced personality unique to the Beltway. It’s not so much that he’s likely at any moment to start pounding his fist in favor of something that only yesterday he was denouncing as a threat to the American way of life (when benchmarks in Iraq were a Democratic idea, Boehner said they would ensure failure; when George Bush came out for them, he said they were “very important”). Nor is it so much that he’s prone to descending into hysterical hyperbole when the well-being of his campaign donors is threatened in even the vaguest way (he called the watered-down Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” with the ant in question being a financial crisis that wiped out over 40 percent of the world’s wealth). It’s more that . . . well, you have to spend a lot of time in Washington to know the type, but he’s the kind of guy who would step over his mother to score a political point.
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It was good times in America for a while. A man could wait for his local congressman to get caught diddling a 16-year-old, make a run for his seat, and then spend the next 20 years getting hustled around the world on golf junkets and showered with campaign checks and apartments and corporate-jet flights, and nobody would utter so much as a peep of protest. Congress was an easy job for any man with a nice fairway stroke, a limited moral compass and a keen sense of bureaucratic loyalty; it was half an acting job and half clerical work, taking orders from industry captains and selling the resultant giveaway bills to your voters as principled blows for Adam Smith, the flag and the free-enterprise system. Back when America was still a feared international bully that was flush with borrowed Saudi and Chinese cash and could stand to blow a few hundred extra billion in public funds every year on budget-padding deals — back in the Bush years — John Boehner was the perfect candidate for congressional leadership, a lifetime company man who didn’t give a shit about most Americans but could shed tears on national television on behalf of Jamie Dimon’s bottom line.