Former Speaker of the House John Boehner made news last night when he made an appearance at Stanford University.
“You can call me boner, beaner, jackass, happy to answer to almost anything,” said former Speaker of the House John Boehner as he took the stage at CEMEX Auditorium on Wednesday evening. Boehner joined David M. Kennedy, faculty director and history professor emeritus, in a talk hosted by Stanford in Government (SIG) and the Stanford Speakers Bureau.
Naturally, the discussion focused on Boehner’s time at the helm of the House of Representatives, but they also discussed his view of the presidential race.
Segueing into the topic, Kennedy asked Boehner to be frank given that the event was not being broadcasted, and the former Speaker responded in kind. When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
Boehner went on to say that he’s “texting buddies” with Donald Trump, has played a lot of golf with him over the years, and that, although he doesn’t agree with all his policy proposals, he would vote for him in November. However, he bluntly said that he would not vote for Ted Cruz.
During his time as Speaker, Boehner struggled to deal with the non-reality-based Freedom Caucus rump of his party, and Sen. Ted Cruz played a big role in egging that faction on. This explains most of the animosity that Boehner is nursing now. But it would be a mistake to see Boehner as very grounded in reality himself, because he easily slips into the most submental conspiratorial gibberish.
On Clinton, Boehner’s reviews were more mixed. Early in the talk, the speaker impersonated Clinton, saying “Oh I’m a woman, vote for me,” to a negative crowd reaction. Later, he added that he had known Clinton for 25 years and finds her to be very accomplished and smart.
Boehner also speculated about surprises that could come closer to the Democratic National Convention if Hillary Clinton’s emails became a larger scandal.
“Don’t be shocked … if two weeks before the convention, here comes Joe Biden parachuting in and Barack Obama fanning the flames to make it all happen,” Boehner said.
At least in theory, the president could use his influence over the Justice Department and the Intelligence Community to turn Clinton’s email server issue into a crippling liability right before the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. He might then, in typical Frank Underwood style, orchestrate things so that Joe Biden could “parachute in” and act as the party’s savior.
But, despite Boehner’s previous seat in the highest corridors of power where he might have gleaned animosities that are invisible to the rest of us, there isn’t the slightest outward sign that President Obama is displeased to see Clinton emerge as his likely successor. The president has remained ostensibly neutral during the primaries, but he quietly got his message out that he preferred Clinton to Sanders, and that was reflected in (among other things) how the black community voted in the South and elsewhere.
It could be that the president actually would prefer Biden to Clinton, but to suggest that he would misuse his powers to sabotage Clinton at this late date in order to secure the presidency for his friend Biden is heat-fevered lunacy as far as I am concerned.
Boehner is supposed to be the sane one, and yet he’s just as infected as the rest of them.
Still, the fact that he wouldn’t vote for Cruz is a canary in the coal mine. Consider that during part of Boehner’s speakership his partner was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And McConnell stated publicly just before the New York primary that he was still hoping for a brokered convention that could stop Trump. The most obvious beneficiary of a brokered convention would be Ted Cruz.
This is the definition of a fractured party.