As a rule, those who ask House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) about his relationship with President Obama tend to hear the same answer: the two leaders "get along fine
," the Ohio Republican likes to say.
But as Boehner's frustrations mount, his commitment to a respectful tone has disappeared. The Speaker sat down with KTGO in North Dakota on Friday and showed real contempt for the president with a tone that seemed unusually caustic
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted President Obama's domestic and foreign policies in a recent radio interview, saying Obama was "not prepared for the job." [...] Boehner also blamed global tensions on Obama's "apology tour" five years ago.
In political science circles, there are often spirited debates about whether anyone is ever truly "prepared for the job" of the presidency, but the fact remains that Barack Obama has some of the most significant accomplishments of any president in a generation, even in the midst of crises few of his predecessors have had to endure. Boehner, on the other hand, is routinely ignored and bullied by his own members, struggles to complete even routine legislative tasks, and his most notable accomplishment as Speaker -- indeed, arguably his only accomplishment -- was a government shutdown with no apparent purpose.
One of these two leaders is probably "not prepared for the job," but it's not who Boehner thinks.
As for the Speaker's reliance on the "apology tour" talking point, it's a painfully dumb
argument, but more importantly, it's beneath Boehner's office. We expect lazy, recycled rhetoric from random talking heads on Fox, not the Speaker of the House.
Wait, it gets worse.
"There's nobody more frustrated than I am, but we're the minority party," Boehner added.
Well, not really. Boehner is the Speaker of the House because his party isn't in the minority, at least not in the House. It's a divided government, but Boehner is nevertheless the ostensible leader of the majority party in one chamber.
Boehner said he is committed to reforming the country's "broken" immigration system, but until "we have an administration committed to security the border, it won't happen." "We've tried and tried and tried, but he just won't go there," he said.
Wait, does the Speaker now want sympathy? The truth is, the Obama administration has already improved border security, and would improve it further as part of comprehensive immigration reform. Boehner won't even bring a popular, bipartisan bill to the floor, refuses to unveil an alternative, refuses to negotiate with Democrats, and refuses to even consider a compromise.
"We've tried and tried and tried"? Have all of these efforts happened in secret because when it comes to immigration policymaking, it appears the only folks who aren't trying are Boehner and his far-right caucus.
As for the larger point, does the Speaker believe such rhetoric will improve governing prospects over the next couple of years? Almost certainly not, though by all appearances, Boehner no longer cares.