So I get into my car after a great face-to-face interview that I was looking forward to writing up and getting out on SOFREP (coming soon). As I turn on the radio and tune to my favorite Washington D.C.-area news radio station, they make their breaking news announcement. My first thoughts were, “Ah crap…did my Papal visit article jinx the poor guy? Has the zombie apocalypse started? Did I forget to unplug my curling iron?” But no, nothing of the sort.
Apparently, one of the pandas at the national zoo in D.C. gave birth…and House Speaker John Boehner suddenly announced that he was resigning. In that order. (Sorry, Mr. Speaker, Ling-Ling…Bai-Ling…Ring-a-Ling…whatever the baby panda’s name is, pulled a Kanye West and stole your headline.) Boehner’s resignation came after some within his party made it clear that they were displeased with what they perceived as his waning determination and willingness to oppose the Obama administration. I’m sure he sensed a potentially humiliating battle that he would rather not see come to fruition.
This got me thinking. Given the already wide rift between the Republicans and Democrats, why do those in government find it so easy to turn like sharks in a feeding frenzy and eat their own?
Okay, before we go any further, two things need to be put out there. First, I detest politics. Yes, I know that it is a necessity, but I just cannot bring myself to embrace the notion that these men and women (with a few exceptions) truly want what is best for the nation. Their constituents possibly, and their own selves most certainly, but the nation as a whole? I mean every man, woman and child of every race, color, and creed? I have yet to see evidence that this is true, and it bothers me immensely. I believe that most, if not all those in politics start out starry-eyed and ready to take on the world, but then the world gets in the first punch and they realize that there is a game that has to be played in order to get even one of your campaign promises pushed through, and even then it comes through as a mere shell of what it was originally. And once they make that compromise, the change for many is irreversible.
The second thing is that I have never been and will never claim to be a politico—I just call it as I see it, and readily take in the opinions and points of view of those who know much more about this than me. In the end, I vote for the candidate—Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc.—who I believe will do the best job (and so far in this upcoming election, I am not impressed by anyone).
So with that footnote out of the way, the question still remains: Why do politicians turn on one another so quickly? To the outsider looking in, it makes no sense and further pushes forward the image that they are only out for themselves. Boehner’s case is a perfect example. Love him or hate him, he was a champion for the Republican cause, and seemed to be the golden boy—and not just because of his awesome tan—of the party. He was not afraid to call out the president, and when he did so, his passion for doing so was just short of losing control.
He was not afraid to show emotion, even shedding tears on occasion. Am I gushing over the man? No, not in the slightest. But I give him a grudging respect for standing up for what he seemed to truly believe in. But in politics there is an invisible, unspoken line that must not be crossed. And written in big, bloody letters on that line is the word WEAKNESS. Apparently, Boehner slipped across that line, and when he did, his political opponents—within his own party—pounced. And today’s announcement was the result of Boehner recognizing the blood in the water and getting the hell out.
It isn’t just Republicans who play the “you’re on your own” game. Hillary Clinton is no doubt feeling the heat on the back of her neck; President Obama is standing by and silently shaking his head as she flounders in the deep end of the “email-gate” pool. Vice President Joe Biden, although he has not formally announced his plans to enter the presidential race and run against Clinton, has also remained silent. According to an Associated Press article run in Business Insider, in a moment of “doing what’s right,” the Obama administration “has discovered a chain of emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to turn over when she provided what she said was the full record of work-related correspondence as U.S. secretary of state.” Whoops.
When Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – California) leveled allegations that CIA Director John Brennan illegally ordered Agency cybersecurity elements to snoop into Senate staffers’ computers in retaliation for probing into the infamous torture program, other Dems, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also spoke out, calling the alleged actions “appalling.” But in a not-so-surprising turn of events, when Brennan countered Feinstein by declaring that those same staffers violated security policy by removing (via email and hard copy) classified materials from Agency servers (thus prompting the probe), crickets from her supporters.
And so the bloody game continues, and in all likelihood will never stop. In the political arena of Washington D.C., your time on top lasts only as long as you can spin the scandal or hide your weakness. Fail to do either, and the sharks will turn on you. Although no successor for Boehner had been named as of the time of this writing, rumors abound that Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, is being viewed as the favorite to succeed him, though McCarthy would likely face a divisive fight from the party’s more anti-establishment wing. Whoever takes the reigns, they would do well to remember the unwritten rule: The political monster eats its young.
Update: Here’s a fun, please-God-don’t-let-it-be-true prediction by some politicos. Some believe that Boehner’s “too weary for the fight” signals that the rumored government shutdown for October 1 is a definite reality–and one that the former speaker wants no part of (read: blame). I officially have a headache.
(Featured image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk)