As we move deeper into the sixth year of President Obama’s administration, stalemate is still the issue. Many people claim that this stalemate is due to the right wing’s obsession with just hating the President. They are partly right. However, the biggest reason we have been mired in this stalemate is a lack of leadership.
Both in and out of the military, I was an instructor. I even taught Leadership and Management courses. One of the tools I used to help show the different types of leadership skills was the movie “12 O’clock High”. If I were still teaching this course, I would put together a clip of John Boehner’s flip-flopping as a prime example of what happens when there is no leadership.
Speaker Boehner has allowed a minority of his own party to kill every single piece of meaningful legislation he has dared to offer. He has allowed “outsiders” to run roughshod over his caucus which has basically “scared the living shit” out of normally reasonable thinking men and women. His lack of courage to stand up to these misfits has led to the stalemate we have had to endure.
For example, John Boehner and Eric Cantor were prepared to introduce a continuing resolution to fund the government through December. It included a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act, but was structured in a way that would have allowed Senate Democrats to strip that provision, pass the rest of the bill, and send it to the White House. Ted Cruz and his emissaries warned the House conservatives of the ploy, support collapsed, and the bill was pulled. After that, Boehner was forced to go along with conservatives’ plan to hold a firm defund-Obamacare line, and a government shutdown ensued.
Earlier this year the House Republican leadership introduced its “principles” as an opening volley in the chamber’s comprehensive immigration reform debate. Boehner introduced the principles at a retreat in late January, and initially, the plan had some support among House Republicans. But then, Cruz stepped in, again.
House Republicans who supported the “principles” of immigration reform floated by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, late last month grumbled Tuesday that the plan was dead on arrival because Cruz blasted it as “amnesty,” spurring a blizzard of negative phone calls to House Republicans.
“After that it was ‘We’ll get back to you on immigration reform,’ ” said one Republican congressman who declined to be identified. [...]
Finally, A House working group led by Rep. Kay Granger unveiled its legislation to address the border crisis, with only a week-and-a-half left to get something done before Congress adjourns for the August recess. The bill only allots $1.5 billion in spending to address the issue — well below President Obama’s asking price and Senate Democrats’ $2.7 billion proposal — not great, but at least it is a starting point.
But the great Canadian Senator wasn’t pleased with this. He actually held a confab with House conservative members a full hour before this legislation was even unveiled. He was “urging House Republicans to reject legislation addressing the border crisis, arguing that passing a bill through the lower chamber would play into the hands of Senate Democrats.” Since that intellectual thinker Rep. Steve King agrees with the Canadian Senator, this bill will likely die before it comes to a vote as well.
Why is this happening so often? For one, Mr. Boehner doesn’t have the courage to tell the Canadian Senator to stay the hell out of House business. If he is opposed to something the House is passing, he will have his opportunity to kill it in the Senate. Mr. Boehner seems happy to allow Cruz to act as the de facto Speaker of the House.
One of the things that makes a leader is the ability to make a decision! Mr. Boehner has shown time-and-again that he lacks that ability. This is because Mr. Boehner wants to be “liked” by his caucus. A leader is not going to be “liked” by everyone. A leader needs the courage to step on some toes once in a while. That is part of the job of being a leader. That courage is something that Mr. Boehner is sorely lacking.
Until the Speaker is willing to step up and be a real leader in the House, we will continue to have this stalemate. By refusing to do “what is right” regardless of political outcry, Mr. Boehner is no more than a shell in a suit. That has allowed Cruz to become the de facto Speaker of the House. Something he was NOT elected to be.
The Republican Party has a lot of problems as we know. They can’t get out of their own way when it comes to diversity. They can’t help but think the only way to win an election is to repress the vote. They apparently hate women, blacks, Latinos, LGBT, and anyone who is not a White Evangelical Christian. But, the real problem in the Republican Party is that its so-called “mainstream Republicans” lack leadership and courage. As long as that persists, we will not see an end to the stalemate anytime soon. And, We the People, will continue to suffer.