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It’s official now: Republicans control the House of Representatives and Ohio Congressman John Boehner is the new Speaker of the House.
There is much to admire in Boehner’s working class background. But somewhere along the way, he rejected his family’s Democratic Party roots and became a Republican.
Booted out of his party’s leadership a few years back, he’s returned in a major way. But he’s known for his amazing capacity to cry as much as for anything else.
The shortest verse in Scripture is “Jesus wept.” Sentences only a bit longer may serve as the history of this new Congress: “The Speaker wept.” Or, “The Speaker then wept some more….”
Okay, I’m having fun with this because it’s so easy to do. No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with grown men crying, even in public if it’s justified. But you have to admit, there’s something a little strange about the frequency and the ease with which Boehner can shed the tears.
I only wish he could cry some for the people who are going to be hurt by the policies of the conservative Republicans he leads. For example, 30 million people are slated to eventually have health insurance under the health care reform law, but that doesn’t matter to Boehner and his party.
As this was written, House Republicans were poised to repeal the new health care law. The purpose of this was to stick it to President Obama politically, but it shows their true colors: they care more about the profits of insurance companies than they do about 50 million Americans without affordable health care.
Where, Mr. Speaker, are your tears when it comes to Americans who don’t enjoy the same kind of health benefits that you, as a member of Congress, receive?
I’d like to think that the president and the Democrats in Congress will give him a lot to cry about. But, frankly, that’s more likely to be the extremists in the “tea party,” whom he will now have to please.
To decorate their entry into power, Republicans organized a live reading of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor, something conceived by none other than Virginia’s Sixth District Congressman, Bob Goodlatte.
I wonder if they noticed, as they were reading it, that there’s nothing in that document that says we can’t have universal health care. Nor are there any passages that say military spending is sacred and above question.
Congressman Goodlatte might take comfort in something else that’s not there: the Constitution doesn’t forbid members like him who start their careers by promising they’ll serve only a few terms and then stay for decades.
How smug and pretentious for conservative Republicans to act as though they, and only they, value our Constitution. They didn’t seem to care much when the so-called Patriot Act threatened to cut it into shreds.
Tears and theatrics? Is that all we can expect from this ruling party in the House? They’re sure to demonstrate the correctness of the label I assigned to them recently: the Get Rich or Starve Party.
That’s their true philosophy, and they demonstrate it at every turn: If you can’t get rich under God-given capitalism, then you may as well starve, because we won’t use the government to help you.
Working class Americans need to wake up. They need to start paying attention. Perhaps Boehner’s tear-driven rule will finally get them to notice just what this party and the conservative movement believes.
There will be plenty of reason to cry when we see the results.
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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.