Open Thread: Alas, Poor Orange John

Matt Taibbi’s new Rolling Stone article on “The Crying Shame of John Boehner” starts promisingly:

John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.

It’s well worth clicking over and reading all six pages, not just for the anecdotes (I had not heard about Boehner campaigning for Marcy Kaptur’s opponent, Rich Iott, the guy who enjoyed dressing up as a Nazi for military reenactments) but for Taibbi’s merciless portrait of a highly specialized corruptocrat dinosaur, the political equivalent of a GM or IBM middle manager, ten minutes after the giant meteor changes the environment forever:

It was good times in America for a while. A man could wait for his local congressman to get caught diddling a 16-year-old, make a run for his seat, and then spend the next 20 years getting hustled around the world on golf junkets and showered with campaign checks and apartments and corporate-jet flights, and nobody would utter so much as a peep of protest. Congress was an easy job for any man with a nice fairway stroke, a limited moral compass and a keen sense of bureaucratic loyalty; it was half an acting job and half clerical work, taking orders from industry captains and selling the resultant giveaway bills to your voters as principled blows for Adam Smith, the flag and the free-enterprise system. Back when America was still a feared international bully that was flush with borrowed Saudi and Chinese cash and could stand to blow a few hundred extra billion in public funds every year on budget-padding deals — back in the Bush years — John Boehner was the perfect candidate for congressional leadership, a lifetime company man who didn’t give a shit about most Americans but could shed tears on national television on behalf of Jamie Dimon’s bottom line.
Things are different now….

57 replies
  1. 1
    Alex S. says:

    Good morning,
    Dick Morris thinks that Obama’s new CoS will be Richard Daley:

    And I think that John Boehner’s hackitude is destroying him from the inside.

  2. 2
    Some says:

    Anyone know whether he’s as much of a boozer as I guess him to be?

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:

    Hunter Thompson might have been a bit premature in the late 1980’s.
    I think that what we’re seeing now IS the “Generation of Swine.”
    God, I miss Doc…

  4. 4
    morzer says:

    If you want a truly alarming story about the venal and corrupt, check out this piece from the British Medical Journal. It seems that the vaccines causing autism story was fraud, pure and simple:

    In the first part of a special BMJ series, Brian Deer exposes the bogus data behind claims that launched a worldwide scare over the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and reveals how the appearance of a link with autism was manufactured at a London medical school

  5. 5
    J. says:

    Matt Taibbi is my idol. Swoon. His prose are soooo dreamy. Sounds like a great piece. Thanks for the excerpts and link, Anne Laurie.

  6. 6
    Capt says:

    the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich

    You’re too kind. He is much worse than blue mold.


  7. 7
    Perfect Tommy says:

    More monkey milk;

    … over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of enacting H.R. 2 on the federal budget as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in deficits in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.

    … enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections.

    Boehner’s Blog

    CBO: Repealing ObamaCare Will Cut $540 Billion in Spending, Prevent Job-Killing Tax Hikes

  8. 8
    Richard R says:

    Read the piece and also read Griftopia. Taibbi is the best – a throwback to the days when journalists thought for themselves, worked hard to learn what’s going on, and could write.

    In one section of Griftopia, Taibbi explains the current goings on in the commodity markets, which have been ignored by everyone, including the best of the financial bloggers. He describes a new way the banks rape and pillage that immediately and negatively affects everybody. This is an important read.

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    The Taibbi piece looks wonderful, based on the snippets you quoted, but it’s impossible to read on a BlackBerry (or, I assume, any mobile device) — 20 pages of text without a single paragraph break. So I’m going to have to wait until I’m close to a proper puter or can get hold of a dead tree copy.

  10. 10
    lacp says:

    It’s going to be fascinating watching the Orange Weeper navigate his way through the Tea Party piranha and the Wall Street leviathans for the next couple years.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Alex S #1: Wow. Even for Dick Morris, that is weapons-grade stoopid.

    Disclosure: I actually disabled FNC on my TV years ago, but I’m semi-addicted to Media Matters (for all their self-righteousness) and Newshounds (for all their substandard writing and cumbersome attempts at snark) — not to mention TDS and Colbert — so I am generally aware of the more egregious utterings of BeckOReillyHannityVanSusterinRove and the whole Fox gang. But Morris combines pomposity, ignorance, and shamelessness to an extent that just makes my jaw drop Every. Single. Time.

  12. 12

    I just saw this mentioned at another blog I follow. As I said over there, what I find so annoying is that there was very little mention in the media fawning over Boehner this week that he was speaker once before and the voters actually rejected his House once before and handed power to Pelosi and the Democrats. But that was oh, what, 4 years ago and we have such short attention spans, right?

    Meanwhile, Jan Brewer’s Arizona death panel kills another transplant patient, a 27 year old woman named Tiffany Tate who needed a double lung transplant. Gov. Brewer says the state is broke and “we can only provide so many optional kinds of care.”

    Because having functioning organs like a heart or lungs is “optional.”

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Jeffro says:

    *cigarette time*

  15. 15
    amk says:

    @Alex S.: Maroons will be maroons. Fuck the msm giving these punks a facetime.

  16. 16
    Ash Can says:

    @Southern Beale: Actually — no thanks to the way it was constructed — I think the article says Tate is still alive, and was simply interviewed for this piece. The idea is the same, though — Brewer and her AZ GOP cabal are criminals.

  17. 17

    Digby did a neat little post on the Republicans’ new meme: “Job Killer.” Note that the phrase “job killer” and “job killing” is being repeated with strict message discipline in every single TV appearance, blog post, article, etc.

    But the thing is, healthcare added 36,000 jobs last month. Health insurance companies are hiring. It’s simply not true that the healthcare bill is a “jobs killer.” But they keep repeating this line (as they do with everything: “job-killing cap-and-trade,” “job-killing EPA,” fuckit why not the “job-killing START Treaty,” I wouldn’t put it past them!) And NOBODY in the media ever asks them what they mean by that. NOBODY. They are allowed to mouth these little bumper sticker slogans without ever being challenged on it. Just ONCE I’d like someone to ask them: “Healthcare sectors added 36,000 new jobs last month. Just what do you mean when you say healthcare reform is a ‘job-killer’?”

    This is how these things become part of the “conventional wisdom.” Tax-and-spend Democrats, job-killing legislation, liberals are weak on defense. Yada yada.

    PLEASE would someone for ONCE challenge these slogans before they get embedded in the national consciousness? PLEASE?


  18. 18

    I have great faith in the mendacity of the current Republican leadership.

  19. 19

    @Ash Can:

    I thought the article said Tate was interviewed before and has since died. But whatever. I hope she is still alive!

    I am definitely needing more coffee, just woke up so I wouldn’t be surprised if this went over my head.

  20. 20
    amk says:

    @Southern Beale:

    PLEASE would someone for ONCE challenge these slogans before they get embedded in the national consciousness? PLEASE?



  21. 21
    gypsy howell says:

    @Alex S.:

    In fairness, it took me about 3 days to realize we weren’t talking about Richard Daley. No wonder my comments to friends about selling off parking meters in DC and the actual DC Beltway to the Saudis were met with quizzical looks.

  22. 22
    Ash Can says:

    @Alex S.: That’s just too funny! I didn’t watch the clip — did anyone even try to correct the poor idiot?

  23. 23
    BobS. says:

    @Southern Beale: The easiest way to disarm the “job killing” meme is to use it to describe RepubliKKKans and their legislative agenda, e.g. “job killing” tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, their “job killing” opposition to the (already insufficient) economic stimulus package, etc.
    That effort would be benefited by conforming to reality.

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    @Southern Beale: The article is confusing. It starts out by saying that a second person has died, and then goes right into a discussion of Tate. Then it mentions again that two people have died to date, and names them. Neither one is Tate. Then it goes on to say that she has received funding from someone to get her back onto the list, and that she continues to advocate for those who were dropped from the list and are still off of it. It’s not a well-constructed article, but at least it’s press coverage of a situation that’s in extreme need of such coverage.

  25. 25
    Alex S. says:

    @Ash Can:

    Well, Morris was talking to Steve Doocy, so no, but even Doocy had to add that Daley was Clinton’s commerce secretary which was unmentioned by Morris even though both of them worked for Clinton, Morris in 1996 and Daley from 1997 till 2000.

  26. 26
    Ash Can says:

    @Alex S.: I’d like to think that, even among the Fox faithful watching these clowns at the time, there might have been someone among the viewers — if only here in Chicago — thinking, “Gee, this guy doesn’t know Bill from Richie.”

    Yeah, I know — too much to hope for.

  27. 27
    Sko Hayes says:

    @Perfect Tommy:

    Read Krugman’s short blog piece:

    Today we have an article entitled In Battle Over Health Law, Math Cuts Both Ways. So what’s the math that cuts in the Republicans’ favor? Well, they

    complain that the projections omitted $115 billion in spending required to administer the law as well as $208 billion needed to prevent scheduled reductions in Medicare payments to doctors.

    Ahem. The great bulk of that administrative spending would happen whether or not the health law goes into effect; and all of the “doc fix” will happen regardless of the health reform. Both of these complaints have been hashed over at length, being thoroughly refuted; these are zombie lies. But you’d never know that from the reporting.


    Views Still Differ on The Shape of the Planet

  28. 28
    Lavocat says:

    Once Taibbi’s finished with you, consider yourself bitchslapped. No one else alive today can savage so brilliantly and completely as does Taibbi. This column no doubt not only made Captain Orange cry, but I am also sure it darkened his undies just a tad.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lavocat: I doubt it phased him. Not that it isn’t a brutal and vicious tear down, but someone like Boehner will 1) dismiss it as a liberal smear, and 2) be immune to criticism from anyone but his paymasters.

  30. 30
    Cat Lady says:

    @Ash Can:

    Reminds me of something I read back in the early 80’s in my (at the time) local rag in northern California. The subject was Clifford Irving’s book The Hoax about his forgery/scam re Howard Hughes’ autobiography, and the columnist for the paper wrote a whole column about how such a noted novelist of such works as Hotel New Hampshire and the World According to Garp had stooped so low and should be ashamed. Whoops. So, not only did the column get written, but it got past an editor and publisher for the entire peninsula south of San Francisco to read. I wrote a “colorful” letter to the editor that alas, wasn’t published, even though it contained way more factually accurate information than what was published.

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    @Lavocat: I’m betting Rep. Orange long ago wrote off Rolling Stone as nothing but a bunch of DFHs and ignores anything they publish. The article makes for a fun read for us, though.

  32. 32
    Michael D. says:

    Here’s a good story that’s underreported.

  33. 33
    Sko Hayes says:

    This is some great writing:

    At the very moment when millions of GOP voters were celebrating their ouster of the great socialist enemy Obama in the name of patriotism and liberty, Boehner was tearing up over what an awesome job he had finally scored for himself.
    “I’ve spent my whole life…[chokes up]…chasing…[chokes up]…the American dream,” he sniffed. Becoming verklempt, Boehner waved his hands in a “No, I can’t go on” gesture, then went on anyway, as the crowd nonsensically chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
    “I put myself through school, working…” — he choked up again — “every rotten job there was, and I poured my heart and soul into running a small business.” The words “small business” were too much for Boehner to take (remember, this is a man who went on 180 corporate junkets in six years, who took 45 flights on private jets), and so he cried again, putting a fist over his mouth and squeaking “Uha!” before pronouncing himself “ready to lead.” Boehner later repeated his election-night performance in a 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, not just crying but weeping — he looked like a Girl Scout watching a puppy get pushed through a meat grinder — as he flogged his “I’ve been chasing the American dream my whole life” act.

  34. 34

    I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again; if they ever find a way to weaponize Tabbi’s prose, we’re all fucked.

  35. 35
    WarMunchkin says:

    I liked that article. But recently, the article that has affected me and my thinking about modern society/politics the most was the one by Chrystia Freeland that DougJ linked about rich people. That one just left crazy chills.

    On a whim, I poked around at the Goldman Sachs website the other day. It’s basically Ivy League extended into the financial sector. They think they’re the economy’s Harvard, and they kind of are, seeing as how they attract so many top-tier graduates from across the nation. Our meritocracy is messed up somehow, in more ways than just not everyone starting at the same place.

  36. 36
    rachel says:

    @Alex S.:

    Dick Morris thinks that Obama’s new CoS will be Richard Daley

    What is wrong with that guy?

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @rachel: How much time do you have?

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @gypsy howell #21:

    In fairness backatcha, you are not a ridiculously overpaid teevee blowhard whose fucking JOB is to provide commentary on the political news of the day.

  39. 39
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Southern Beale:

    If they keep that up they will eventually be known as the Jobs Killing Party!

    I wish.

    I think it’s hilarious that after Morris the Dick resigned due to his liaison with a prostitute, he headed off the deep end and turned into a Republican pundit/sphincter licker. He decided that the prostitute came out of that situation far better than he did so he decided to become a prostitute for Rupert Murdoch. I guess he’s just not happy unless he’s getting screwed by someone. Being as ugly as he is he’s had to pay someone to ‘do the job’, but now he’s raking in the bucks doing the same thing. Hell, his career was over in the Democratic party but the Republicans have embraced him with open arms.

    Just like he’s one of them. Go figure!

    People look at a prostitute and think, yup, that’s a prostitute. People look at Morris the Dick and say yup, that’s a prostitute!

  40. 40
    geg6 says:

    Gawd, that article was almost as good as sex. I need a cigarette. If we must live through these times without the late, great Dr. Gonzo, at least we have Taibbi.

  41. 41
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Tax-and-spend Democrats, job-killing legislation, liberals are weak on defense.

    Be prepared to wait. Max Planck used to say that in physics new theories aren’t actually ever adopted — what actually happens is all the people who came up under the old theory eventually die.

  42. 42
    agrippa says:

    Boehner is normal for Republicans. Eisenhower was a ‘one off’; a war hero/father figure. The GOP has always been full of hack do nothings such as Boehner. A few have been narcissistic con men such as Gingrich.

    Basically, there was no ‘modern Republicanism’. essentially, the GOP has no interest in governing; they have two concerns: low taxes; rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies ( paranoia will destroy ya).

    Boehner is an ordinary political hack.

  43. 43
    agrippa says:

    Democrats are weak on defense eh? hah.

    GWB, by virtue of invading two countries for no reason at all – and losing both – , has proved that Republicans are disqualified on national security grounds.

  44. 44
    Mike in NC says:

    John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.

    That’s frigging poetry. I downloaded “Griftopia” on my eReader last week and can’t wait to read it.

    Boehner is 61 years old, drinks like a fish, and smokes three packs a day. Whether he’ll even survive to oversee the next two years of GOP House mendacity is debatable.

  45. 45

    is it too soon to wish that Jan Brewer DIAF? would that hurt Sully’s fee-fees too much?

  46. 46
    New Yorker says:

    I’m impressed that Taibbi found what appears to be an intellectually honest Tea Partier. That guy Littleton appears to hate Boehner and wants deep cuts in defense spending! Good for him. I’m sure I’d find I agree with Littleton on just about nothing (except the defense spending part) but I’m sure he’s less repulsive a human being than, say, the editorial board of the Weekly Standard.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: You could wish for boils. Painful and unattractive ones. You know, as a compromise.

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @New Yorker:

    … but I’m sure he’s less repulsive a human being than, say, the editorial board of the Weekly Standard.

    That is a pretty low bar you are setting.

  49. 49
    Triassic Sands says:

    @New Yorker:

    ..but I’m sure he’s less repulsive a human being than, say, the editorial board of the Weekly Standard.

    You’re “sure?” That sounds to me like choosing between Marburg and Ebola. Being willing to admit you don’t care if people suffer may be intellectually honest, but it’s not exactly a quality I’d associate with non-repulsiveness.

  50. 50
    JD Rhoades says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Taibbi sometimes writes as if he’s channeling Thompson at his most enraged.

  51. 51
    PS says:

    @Southern Beale: No, Boehner was not Speaker before, Hastert was.

  52. 52
    CaffinatedOne says:

    It’s a great read, though I see two issues with it:

    1) I think that it gives teabaggers far too much credit in that outlines them as collectively, honestly wanting to clean up government and rein in spending. They’re not that coherent and don’t seem to have any sane plans to do either of those things other than just rhetorically rail against them. Even the sane sounding Littleton in the article wanted to cut defense spending (yay) and social security. Seeing as social security has nothing to do with the deficit or debt as it’s self funded, it must just be from his heartfelt belief that our seniors don’t get enough catfood in their diets.

    2) Repeating the trope that “we’re broke” and we can’t spend on things anymore. Well, I think that we’re actually as a country richer than we’ve ever been, it’s just that most of it goes to a group that it’s apparently awkward to actually request help pay for things; especially as they seem to get quite a bit from the government that they’re working hard to strangle.

  53. 53
    gypsy howell says:


    true dat. In my own defense, I was pretty busy with work stuff for the first few days when this story came out (hilariously, I was actually in chicago, but obviously not paying too much attention). I heard “Obama– chief of staff–Daley–Chicago” and my brain naturally put together RICHARD Daley. :-D

  54. 54
    sukabi says:

    Yeah Anne, Boner held a fundraiser / campaign rally for Iott right before the election, AFTER everyone else had backed away from him and his Nazi costume wearing, re-enacting ass. So Boner knowingly supported the Nazi wannabe.

  55. 55
    sukabi says:

    @Mike in NC: and it is mendacity… Steve King (R – Douchebag) said so several times, on the floor of the Senate… hilarious C-span moment that Olbermann had on his show yesterday…

  56. 56
    PS says:

    @CaffinatedOne: I agree, largely. Maybe Taibbi is trying to tone down his persona just a tad. As to being broke, it’s down to “who we, white man?” Those, um, pitchfork candidates (I’m trying to be polite here) who are paying less in taxes than their predecessors, let alone their parents, have so far ensured that “we” the people as represented in Congress actually do have less cash to throw around. Of course, there is an obvious answer, but it’s not the convenient answer for the Boehner types.

  57. 57
    mclaren says:


    Repeating the trope that “we’re broke” and we can’t spend on things anymore.

    America currently pisses away upwards of 1.35 trillion dollars a year on our worthless useless military. If we cut that by 80%, we’d have a trillion dollars a year to sling around.

    I don’t know about you, but a trillion dollars a year sounds like real money to me. You could actually do something with that much cash.

Comments are closed.