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Tag: john boehner

Looking Right Through Kevin McCarthy

Of all the Republican politicians who have ascended to leadership in Congress during the past few decades, none is a duller and more obvious hack than Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The House minority leader possesses none of the villainous charisma of Newt Gingrich or the ruthless greed of Tom DeLay, the ideological fervor of Paul Ryan or the puppyish desire to please of Eric Cantor, the louche cynicism of John Boehner or the predatory criminality of Dennis "Coach" Hastert.

Nobody expects the transparently empty McCarthy to stand up for principle of any kind. It is giving him a lot to call him a small-minded partisan, an assiduous corporate fundraiser, and a mediocre climber for whom ideas and ideals are so much grist for the Fox News mill. His far-right rivals in the GOP caucus, such as Rep. Jim Jordan, allow him to hold power because they can manipulate him so easily. His theme song should be "Mr. Cellophane" from the musical Chicago.

Weak in both intellect and character, McCarthy embodies the most banal defects of his predecessors — and so it is that he presides over the final stages of Republican decay, as the party formed to preserve the Union and democracy degenerates into an instrument of fascist insurrection.

As a perfectly hollow hack who first rose under Boehner's tutelage, McCarthy makes the hack Boehner now seem like a big man. McCarthy was against Trump's big lie before he was for it. After denouncing Trump, he ran with his tail between his legs to Mar-a-Lago, parroted the big lie and backed a lawsuit to overturn the election results in two states. Then he denied supporting Trump's claims of election fraud and grudgingly admitted that President Joe Biden had won. And then, within hours after the January 6 attack on the Capitol that clearly terrified him, he nevertheless voted against certifying the Democratic victory in two states — after he had told a reporter that he knew Biden was the legitimate victor.

McCarthy has continued this ridiculous dance — both accepting and not accepting Biden's legitimacy — while he obviously covers up the seditious conduct of his extremist members, from Reps. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene to. Matt Gaetz and Madison Cawthorn.

But since his attempts to block any investigation of the conspiracies that led to the Capitol takeover on January 6, have failed, McCarthy has become an even more desperate performer. This week he sought to obstruct the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack by absurdly pretending to be a mob boss, as he made an unconvincing threat against telecom companies if they comply with lawful requests from that panel. Though he didn't specify any consequences, he warned that Republicans "will not forget" when they regain the majority.

Rarely has a politician so obviously exposed such blatant consciousness of guilt. Opening himself to an ethics complaint, which has now been filed against him, McCarthy continues his bad acting, showing his fear that the suspicions and speculations about the gang of loony Republicans in the days before that insurrection are true.

McCarthy led the expulsion of Rep. Liz Cheney from her position as the chair of the House Republican Conference to satisfy his insurrectionist caucus. But there's another reason he purged her. She's got his number. And now she's the vice chair of the January 6 investigative committee. McCarthy has reason to engage in his silly threats, his obvious obstruction of Congress, his false bravado. He's scared. But the more he dances, the more everybody sees right through him.

I tell ya Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane shoulda been my name,

Mr. Cellophane 'cause you can look right through me ...

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Former GOP Speaker: Trump Lies ‘Incited That Bloody Insurrection’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is blasting Donald Trump, laying blame for the deadly January 6 insurrection squarely at the former Republican President's feet. True to form, Trump and his team punched back below the belt.

The New York Times reports Boehner writes in his new book that Trump "incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he'd been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November."

"He claimed voter fraud without any evidence, and repeated those claims, taking advantage of the trust placed in him by his supporters and ultimately betraying that trust."

Boehner, whose tenure as Speaker was focused on trying to first tamp down then ride the Tea Party wave and the growth in power of the far right House Republican Study Committee. He was unsuccessful, and exited in 2015, the same year the even more extreme House Republican Freedom Caucus formed, and Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign.

He is now warning the GOP it must "take back control from the faction that had grown to include everyone from garden-variety whack jobs to insurrectionists."

It does not appear that will happen. Just as the extremist Tea Party took over the Republican Party, Trump, Trumpism, and his MAGA acolytes have already taken control of the GOP.

In typical Trumpian fashion, the Times reports, the former president's current spokesperson, Jason Miller, "called Mr. Boehner a 'Swamp Creature' and accused him of favoring 'Communist China' (The former speaker's lobbying firm represents the Chinese Embassy in the United States). In a separate email to the Times, Mr. Trump asked of Mr. Boehner, whose love of merlot wine is legendary in Washington: 'Was he drinking when he made this statement? Just another RINO who couldn't do the job!'"

Former GOP Speaker Denounces ‘Reckless A-hole’ Cruz In New Book

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is not pleased with the Republican Party and the newly-released excerpts of his forthcoming book make his disdain quite clear.

On Friday, April 2, excerpts from the 12-term lawmaker's new book On the House: A Washington Memoir were published by Politico. Boehner recalled an orientation he conducted for the influx of freshman lawmakers elected in 2010. Although Republicans managed to fair well in that primary election, Boehner admits in his book that he was not very fond of the new group of lawmakers.

"I had to explain how to actually get things done," Boehner said. "A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn't have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn't their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That's why they thought they were elected."

He added, "To them, my talk of trying to get anything done made me a sellout, a dupe of the Democrats, and a traitor. Some of them had me in their sights from day one. They saw me as much of an "enemy" as the guy in the White House."

Boehner also admitted that around that time, the Republican lawmakers' political ammunition was based solely on their stark disapproval of former President Barack Obama.

"People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America," Boehner wrote.

The former lawmaker went on to share the moment he realized the Republican Party was approaching an uncomfortable impasse. When he pushed back against the baseless claims about Obama's birthplace, Boehner noted that he faced stark criticism for doing so despite telling the truth.

"My answer was simple: 'The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That's good enough for me,'" Boehner said. "It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I'd called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were."

Boehner also lambasted his political party for spiraling into "crazytown" and entering a state of heightened paranoia as he expressed concerns about the dangers of a "reckless a--hole" takes center stage. He made it clear he was referring to none other than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Boehner's book, On the House: A Washington Memoir, is set to be released April 13, 2021.

When Politicians (Sometimes) Understood That Honesty Is The Best Policy

Let me be blunt, please: Most of us ink-stained wretches in the political press corps are complete suckers for candor from politicians when speaking about themselves. Candor can truly be disarming.

Early in the first Reagan term, on Aug. 19, 1981, in a major incident, two Libyan fighter jets attacked two U.S. Navy F-14 fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean Sea. Understanding orders to fire if fired upon, the Navy pilots — in a dogfight lasting just one minute — shot both Libyan jets down. His White House staff chose not to wake President Ronald Reagan, who was sleeping in California and was not informed until some six hours later, when he awakened.

This report led to renewed questions about the president's age and possible disengagement from his own administration and his duties as commander in chief. Reagan, who, frankly, did occasionally nod off at less than scintillating briefings, silenced most critics with this rejoinder: "I have left orders to be awakened at any time during national emergency ... even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting."

Equally appealing to the cynics on the press bus was presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who, when asked why he had shifted during the South Carolina primary from calling the Confederate flag "a symbol of racism and slavery" to instead maintaining he "understood both sides," publicly confessed his regrets: "I had not just been dishonest." He subsequently admitted: "I had been a coward, and I had severed my own interest from my country's. That was what made the lie unforgivable."

Confession is not only good for the soul but also good for favorable press coverage, which McCain would prove during his presidential campaign when asked what he saw as his own imperfections and defects. Believe me, this is a question which ordinarily elicits from candidates the most self-serving verbal oatmeal, such gems as, "I admit I'm a perfectionist" or, "I sometimes work too hard at the job and shortchange my personal responsibilities."

McCain admitted and accepted full responsibility for the failure, after his five-and-a-half-years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi, of his first marriage and added that he had been a lousy student, finishing fifth from last in his graduating class at the United States Naval Academy and admitting that, yes, he did have a quick and bad temper. Americans are mostly grown-ups who know that none of us, most especially those pursuing the presidency, is without sin and serious flaws.

When Republicans controlled the U.S. House, the Senate and the White House, just four short years ago, and were predicting a quick and easy "repeal and replace " of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner gave the press and the public, to say nothing of his fellow GOPers, a dose of candor: "In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time, agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once." That was true then and is still true today.

Just maybe Walt Whitman knew something about the weaknesses of those with a press pass when he wrote: "All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor."

To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

#EndorseThis: Colbert Celebrates Pot Reform By Helping Cheech & Chong Find New Jobs

Looking for a true miracle in the world today? How about marijuana law reform in the age of Trump? The past few months have brought good news for the cause of pot decriminalization, including a ringing endorsement from Chuck Schumer and a shocking directive from the White House for law enforcement to respect states’ rights. Somewhere, Jeff Sessions is weeping.

Any socio-economic progress, including legal pot, leaves someone out in the cold and needing a new career path. In this case it’s Cheech Martin and Tommy Chong, long-time marijuana advocates who can’t afford sage seeds now that need for their work is diminishing. Stephen Colbert finds the legendary comedians in a surprisingly bad mood during a live interview on The Late Show. 

Pot “used to be rebellious,” laments Cheech. “This news sucks.” Chong complains that even “John Boner” (Boehner) is no longer a convenient comic foil. But don’t worry. Martin, Chong and Colbert find plenty of other ways to be funny…as you might imagine.

Click for a few non-stoner laughs.

Two Women Tell New York Times That Trump Touched Them Inappropriately

By Roberta Rampton and Emily Flitter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two women accused Donald Trump of inappropriate touching in a story posted on the New York Times website on Wednesday, accusations his spokesman called “fiction” but which may further damage the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign with only four weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election.

One of the women, Jessica Leeds, appeared on camera to recount how Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt in the first class cabin on a flight to New York in or around 1980.

The second woman, Rachel Crooks, described how Trump “kissed me directly on the mouth” in 2005 outside the elevator in Trump Tower in Manhattan, where she was a receptionist at a real estate firm.

Trump’s campaign denied there was any truth to the accounts and a senior adviser told Reuters that Trump is preparing a lawsuit against the New York Times.

“This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous,” the Trump campaign’s senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.

Reuters could not independently verify the incidents described in the New York Times story. Leeds and Crooks did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

The report comes on the heels of a 2005 video that surfaced on Friday that showed Trump bragging about groping women, kissing them without permission, and trying to seduce a married woman.

Trump said during the second presidential debate on Sunday that he had not actually done the things he had boasted about, and apologized for his remarks, which he called private “locker room talk.”

A spokeswoman for his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, said Wednesday’s report was “disturbing.”

“These reports suggest that he lied on the debate stage and that the disgusting behavior he bragged about in the tape is more than just words,” said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign.

Trump’s assertion that he had not groped women spurred one of the women to speak out, the New York Times said in its report.

Neither of the women reported the episodes to authorities, but they did tell friends and family members about the inappropriate touching, according to the New York Times report, which included accounts of some who were told about the incidents.

The New York Times reported that Trump, in an angry phone call, denied the incidents and threatened to sue the newspaper.

“We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm of public service journalism,” a New York Times spokeswoman said.

In the hour immediately following the publication of the New York Times story, other media outlets published reports describing other incidents.

The Palm Beach Post reported a claim by Mindy McGillivray, 36, a woman in South Florida, that Trump had grabbed her bottom 13 years ago while she was working at his Mar a Lago estate as a photographer’s assistant.

“There is no truth to this whatsoever,” Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Post. McGillivray could not be reached for comment.

CBS showed clips from its show Entertainment Tonight in 1992 with Trump addressing a group of 10-year-old girls, telling them he would be dating one of them in 10 years. He was 46 at the time. Hicks did not respond to a request for comment on the CBS report.

The release of the video plunged Trump and the Republican Party into a crisis that has jeopardized his chances of winning the White House, when he was already lagging Clinton in national opinion polls, and has possibly put Republican control of the U.S. Congress in danger.

He was chastised by Republican leaders, and some called on him to drop out of the presidential race.

Trump escalated his attacks on U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday, after Ryan said he was no longer going to campaign for or defend Trump and advised House Republicans not to support the White House candidate if they did not want to.

Trump told thousands of supporters jammed into a livestock arena in Ocala, Florida, that Ryan and others had not congratulated him on his debate performance, and the crowd booed in sympathy.

“There is a whole deal going on there. There is a whole deal going on and we’re going to figure it out. I always figure things out. But there’s a whole sinister deal going on,” Trump said.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview on Fox News Channel that he would vote for Trump in spite of being “disgusted” by his comments, because he wanted to see conservative justices named to the Supreme Court.

The interview was taped before the New York Times story was published, but Boehner said he thought it was likely that more negative stories would emerge in the last month of the campaign.

“What more could be said in this election cycle than has already been said?” Boehner asked. “It couldn’t be any worse, could it?”

(Additional reporting by Emily Flitter, Jonathan Allen, Emily Stephenson, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Michelle Conlin, Eric Beech and Eric Walsh; Editing by Caren Bohan and Bill Rigby)

IMAGE: Republican nominee Donald Trump holds up signs at the end of a campaign rally in Lakeland, Florida, U.S., October 12, 2016.   REUTERS/Mike Segar

GOP Big Wigs React To Trump Meeting

Following a meeting with presumptive party nominee Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., top Republican politicians appear to be cautiously embracing Trump, while those who already supported him are now even more unequivocal in their endorsements.

“This is our first meeting, I was very encouraged with this meeting, but this is a process. It takes some time, you don’t put it together in 45 minutes,” said House Majority Leader Paul Ryan following the meeting.

“I think you will see people unifying behind the nominee … people don’t want four more years of this administration under Hillary Clinton,” said top Republican Sen. John Cornyn shortly after the meeting concluded.

“Anyone who thinks Donald Trump can’t win, just watch,” said former House Majority Leader John Boehner. He also said Ryan was probably “trying to help shape the direction of Trump’s policies,” an oft-hypothesized reason for why the current House Majority Leader said last week that he “wasn’t ready” to endorse Trump.

“How an elected official can message to America, ‘Don’t vote.’ I find that embarrassing for them. I find it unbelievable that any elected official would message to people ‘Don’t vote.’ That’s why I’ve said these people are becoming irrelevant,” said Chris Collins, a Republican member of the House from New York.

“I’ve made the same message to to my fellow members. You may not, and I don’t agree with Mr. Trump on every issue. For Republicans to say, ‘I’m not going not vote on this upcoming election,’ I just am baffled by that.”

“Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, I will do what I can to help him run a successful campaign,” said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch. “Many constituents in my home state of Utah have serious reservations about Mr. Trump. To help unify the party and broaden his appeal, I hope Donald will listen to policymakers and carefully consider his approach to issues like international trade, religious liberty, and entitlement reform.”

“While I may disagree with the rhetoric Mr. Trump uses and some policy positions, he is the better option than Hillary Clinton in the White House,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden. “That’s why all along I’ve said I intend to support the GOP nominee.”

“Dreaming big for everyone and turning its back on no one,” said the highest-ranking woman in the House, Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She called the meeting a “very important first step.”

“This is a chance for them to get to know each other, find where they have points in common,” said Oklahoma representative Tom Cole. “I think those exist.”

“Clearly the party’s not in a good place right now, when many of the members are having a hard time rallying around the presumptive nominee. It’s a tough spot,” said Pennsylvania representative Charlie Dent.