Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a founding member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, made no secret of his contempt for former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) when they served together in Congress. Indeed, the Idaho congressman plotted against Boehner for quite a while, contributing to the former Speaker’s decision to quit last year.
Given this history, Labrador’s comments to CNN on Friday probably didn’t come as too big of a surprise.
Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador said Friday that John Boehner was “the worst speaker of the House in history.” […]“I’ve been pretty good at trying not to attack John Boehner on a personal basis, even though I thought he was the worst speaker of the House in history. He was a terrible leader. And now I think the gloves are off,” Labrador added.
Labrador was apparently outraged by Boehner’s criticism of Ted Cruz during a public appearance last week, prompting the congressman’s furious response.
But the thing that jumped out at me as Labrador’s unfortunate timing: on Wednesday, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was sentenced to prison after a judge concluded he was a serial child molester. Two days later, Raul Labrador concluded someone else was the worst House Speaker ever?
It seems as if much of the political world doesn’t want to think too much about the implications of the Hastert scandal. It’s uncomfortable realization – the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history, a man who was two heartbeats from the presidency for eight years, sexually assaulted several minors – and as a result, some in D.C. prefer to simply look away.
And Labrador’s comments help drive the point home. It apparently didn’t occur to him, 48 hours after Hastert’s sentencing, to think the serial child molester might be the worst Speaker ever.
To be sure, Boehner wasn’t good at his job. His tenure was marred by an alarming inability to lead, prioritize, or even govern effectively, and the Ohio Republican leaves behind no legacy or record of accomplishments. As Speakers go, it’s difficult to see Boehner as anything but a failure.
But his immediate Republican predecessor is headed to a penitentiary after lying to the FBI about covering up his record of sexual misconduct. The race for the ignominious Worst Speaker Ever title appears to have been wrapped up.