Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner has written a book in which he accuses President Trump of inciting the Capitol Hill riot and calls fellow Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan “a political terrorist.”
To understand why the former Washington powerhouse would say such things, one needs to understand how politics and the political book business works.
The first thing to recognize is that Boehner is a has-been. Yes, he once was near the top of the political ladder in America – third in line to the presidency. His opinions and counsel were sought by the most prominent leaders in America – and around the world. His words were immortalized in the media on an almost daily basis. Pretty heady stuff.
That all ended in October of 2015. Boehner walked off the stage when his old-boy establishmentarian approach to politics was under pressure from Republican members more interested in issues than power. Boehner’s go-along-to-get-along approach was too accommodating for the growing number of conservative legislators in his Republican caucus.
Into his retirement, Boehner brought with him a batch of press clippings, a wall full of plaques and awards and an irreconcilable grudge. Six years of seething has now resulted in his book, “On the House.” Not sure if the title refers to his service in the United States House of Representatives or that free glass of wine he is holding in the cover photo.
To get his book published, Boehner had to negotiate with the publisher. He most assuredly had to promise some red meat that would play to the political environment of today. In other words, to appease the left-wing publishing industry – and the left-wing news industry – Boehner had to write sensational things that would comport with the media’s anti-Trump, anti-Republican and anti-conservative bias.
He had to monetize his grudge – and in the process he sold his integrity and reputation along with the book. The book is not a historic report of his years in Congress. It is not an essay on the critical issues of the day. It is not about issues. It is about people. It is an ad hominem attack on all those who Boehner feels drove him from office.
In reviewing the book, the New York Times said, “There is no shortage of insults in former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s memoir.”
They go on to say the book is written in Boehner’s “folksy manner.” That must be referring to his overuse of salty – or foul – language. Most of gutter words are blazoned across the cable news screens – proving that the day of “expletive deleted” is long gone and that Boehner is no classy act.
Oddly, the Times book review was written by Princeton Professor Julian E. Zelizer, who had authored “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker and the Rise of the New Republican Party” – a scathing review of the rise of conservatives in Congress.
Zelizer excoriates Boehner in the review. In fact, the good professor says truly little about the book and a lot about Boehner’s history from the standpoint of an adversary. In his review in the Times, Zelizer seems to be re-reviewing his own book.
Zelizer’s is a garbage review of a book that people on both sides seem to see as a piece of political trash – but with a few sound bites useful to the left. That’s what is getting Boehner his post-career 15 minutes of fame and an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Boehner’s best service to the nation may have been those silent years between his resignation from Congress and his publication of “On the House.”
So, there ‘tis.