Friday, July 2, 2010

John Boehner's America

"They are snuffing out the America I grew up in."
-House Minority Leader John Boehner on Obama and Democrats
The Man Who Would Be King was born in 1949 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Earl Henry and Mary Anne  Hall Boehner. Little John grew up in a time dominated by the presidencies of three liberals and a retired war hero whom today's conservatives would call a RINO. During John's eighteen halcyon years, the New Deal coalition controlled and at times dominated Congress. But John may not have this mind when he reminisced: He may be thinking about his home state, run by the Taft machine named after the isolationist who opposed the Nuremberg Trials. (After all, Taft reasoned, suppose that America started a world war and massacred 6,000,000 people. Would you really want us to be held accountable?)

Evil things were afoot in John's America: Earl Henry and Mary Anne (if she were allowed to have an opinion) no doubt looked askance at President Truman's decision to desegregate the Armed Forces. Nonetheless, America was on the brink of an unprecedented run of prosperity, despite a top tax rate of 82.1% the year of his birth and a tax rate of 91 or 92% throughout the Eisenhower Administration. Still and all, it must have seemed like a great time to bring a child into the world, what with unemployment at 3.8%, even though union membership did peak and even though the tax policy did encourage wealthy business owners to reinvest in their business rather than exercising their God-given rights to live it up like 21st Century investment bankers.

When John reflects about the good old days, one wonders whether he recalls the segregated south, Emmitt Till's torture-murder (in 1955, when young John was a happy lad of 6 with his first tanning bed still years in his future), and the white South's courageous stance of civil disobedience against anti-lynching legislation. Of course, the Supreme Court desegregated schools in 1954, another step toward socialism that must caused a concerned Earl Henry and Mary Anne (if she were allowed to have an opinion) to hold their little first-grader tight with worry.

From 1950-54, the junior senator from neighboring Wisconsin overcame profound alcoholism to wage an uncompromising battle against Communists in the federal government. No doubt visions of protecting the little John Boehners of America inspired Joseph McCarthy to destroy one life after another (all in good fun, of course).

Did 14-year old John weep with grief when the Ku Klux Klan murdered four little girls in a Birmingham, Alabama, church? Did he cry with joy when Martin Luther King expressed faith that the American dream was open to all Americans? Did he express solidarity as feminists campaigned for the rights deprived his mother? As for lesbians and gays, well, Catholic Cincinnati was no doubt heavily closeted, so Earl Henry and Mary Anne didn't have to worry about Johnny falling victim to the Homosexual Agenda.

Of course, factories and cars polluted American skies and waters with impunity, and exterminators merrily sprayed DDT in neighborhoods across the country. (Did Little John trail happily in the wake of DDT trucks? This might explain his orange skin.) Mammograms did not come into wide use until the mid-60s, so Mary Anne's risk of untreatable breast cancer was much greater back then. The first colonoscopy didn't come along until 1969, so everyone had to worry more about colon cancer; discovery of the link between PSA count and prostate cancer was far in the future, no doubt causing Earl Henry to have many sleepless nights.

But maybe none of this has anything to do with why John frets that Democrats have turned America into the set of a political snuff film. Maybe what he really means is that the America for which he yearns so nostalgically was an America with white men on top and where women and minorities knew their place: In other words, an America run by Earl Henry Boehner for Earl Henry Boehner and for bequeathing to John Boehner. An America undespoiled by John Lewis and Patty Murray and Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor and Keith Ellison and Barney Frank and Raul Grijalva. An America where the new boss was always and forever the same as the old boss...

Washington state doesn't necessarily like the idea of sending the oil-response vessels that protect its waters to the Gulf of Mexico...

Surprise surprise surprise: Yet another Republican canard aimed at exploiting a tragedy to score ideological points...

The World's Biggest Skimmer is ready. But don't get your hopes up...

9 comments:

Roy said...

I have a feeling that Boehner's golden-age America also includes darkies serving him mint juleps on the porch and calling him "Massa". Nothing convinces me more that these people are out and out racist pigs than the harping on Thurgood Marshall that's been going on the last couple of days in the Kagan grilling.

Great clip of The Who! These guys were always best seen live. And of course this one includes one of the two greatest rock&roll screams (the other one being Robert Plant's in "Whole Lotta Love").

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Saw him in a partial interview on Parsley's Pics recently. He's unbelievable. Nice write-up. Brings the term "Boss Man" to mind.
Being from the deep south I wonder if there is 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 or 1 in 1,000 who saw the injustices going on back in the 50s and 60s. It seems as though the country is split down the middle between conservatives and liberals. Didn't the 60s teach these folks anything? How can people continue to be so narrow-minded?
Exciting video!

K. said...

Well, Cincinnati is right across the river from the old Kentucky home...

I was lucky enough to see The Who in 1976 -- Keith Moon's last tour. I caught them a couple of times after, but it was nothing special. With all due respect to Kenny Davis, he was not the right drummer for them. But I caught them again in 2002 shortly after Entwhistle's death. Even though they were really the Townshend-Daltry band by then, they were dynamite. Zak Starkey on drums energized the band, and Pete even smashed his guitar!

Robt Plant and Allison Krauss gave one of the best concerts in recent memory. Plenty of yowls, and boy can he pose! One of the most incongruous pairings ever, and yet they pulled it off as if they were brother and sister.

K. said...

Lizzy, I think the 60s taught them what happens when the liberals take over. We lose wars, minorities riot, free love drowns out morals, etc.

I suspect that most people in the north got good at turning a blind eye to what was happening in the south. And I'm sure that to many of them, segregation was just fine. What was the old saying? In the south, a black man can get close as long as he doesn't get too high; in the north, he can get high as long as he doesn't get too close...

tnlib said...

If people haven't gotten the message that I detest Boehner, something is wrong with my writing. But, to be fair, Boehner was not born into a family with loads of money. He was one of 12 siblings and he worked his way through college by working in the campus cafeteria. I suspect that, if anything, like some who aren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths, they have this driving need to be rich - through cunning, lying and deception. And in much the same way as McCain, he has a pathological need to be in the limelight. They're both schmucks.

Excellent piece.

K. said...

Exactly. Suppose Boehner had been one of twelve in Mississippi and been black instead of orange? Being born an American white male in 1949 put you ahead of 99.9% of the world right off the bat. have no use for these guys who delude themselves into believing they are entirely self-made and had no head start whatsoever.

Darlene said...

Thanks for mentioning Raul Grijalva. Not all of the Arizona politicians are nut cases. My Representative, Gabrielle Giffords also has her head screwed on right, but I don't always agree with her.

Barry Knister said...

Only someone with a solidly Calvinistic work ethic could put together such a profile. Thank you. Reading about Boehner biting the New Deal hand that fed him makes me think of Clarence Thomas biting Affirmative Action for helping to deliver a mediocrity like himself to the Supreme Court.

K. said...

Thomas is a piece of work. In some ways, I feel sorry for him: All that self-loathing must be an unbearable burden. He wouldn't be where he is without Affirmative Action, and yet he doesn't want women and other minorities to suffer as he has. The most psychologically warped individual in American public life since Richard Nixon.