The Amazing and True Adventures of Captain Orangeface

Jan 29, 2011 No Comments

By Robbie Bruens

Most pundits believe that, on November 2nd, the American people will hand at least 39 seats in the House of Representatives to the Republicans—ending the four-year-old Democratic majority. This will mean the cruel ascension of the hilariously named John Boehner of Ohio to the Speakership. Boehner is largely unknown to the American public. Those who do know of him remember him for his easy-to-mock name and the thick chemical glaze that coats his body that gives his face a disturbing orange glow. But it’s worth learning more about the would-be Speaker, both to understand what’s at stake in this election and what we may very well be facing come January.

Despite his reptilian characteristics, Boehner was surprisingly born to an entirely human family in Reading, Ohio in 1949. The second of twelve children, Boehner served in the Ohio state legislature before being elected to Congress in 1990. He first slithered into a leadership position during the reign of the original prince of darkness, Newt Gingrich. Boehner made headlines in 1996 when he helpfully handed out thick passels of campaign cash from the Tobacco industry to fellow congressmen during a vote on legislation intended to regulate the Tobacco industry, doing his best to embody all that is wrong with our nation’s capitol.

Rather than be embarrassed about his reputation as a callow toady for whichever cartel of corporations offers the highest bid for his legislative dirty work, Boehner wears his country club cred as a badge of honor. Boehner’s defenders claim it’s important to be close to the “nation’s employers” in a time of stubbornly high unemployment. Of course, this assumes that the business interests that Boehner flatly admits he works for are even remotely interested in job creation. However, since big business is sitting on $2 trillion in reserves rather than using that money to create jobs, it’s reasonable to assume that big business cares only about profitability and stability. Getting unemployed folks back to work is just not on their to-do list.

And so, it was with irony and nostalgia that Boehner unveiled the party’s vaunted “Pledge to America,” a campaign document that promises to reduce the deficit by implementing policies that massively increase the deficit. Irony because, in addition to the fact that the pledge itself is a tangled mess of platitudes and policy contradictions, this unveiling took place at a hardware store eligible to benefit from a recently passed small business lending bill—a bill that passed despite almost universal opposition from Boehner and his craven cohort.  Nostalgia because, after only two years of a noble experiment through the leadership of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, the United States of America is already eager to go back to the same old pack of white males who presided over the sickening corporate cronyism that caused the worst economic crisis since a gruesomely feckless fellow by the name of Hoover was President.

Of course, I’m being unfair. John Boehner’s not white; he’s as orange as the rising sun. He even has a nickname around Capitol Hill: Captain Orangeface. As in,“Captain Orangeface, can you help protect some tax breaks for hedge fund managers? It will be well worth your time!” and “I want to oppose a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, but I bet if I hold out for a bit, Captain Orangeface could get some polluters to shovel some serious dough into my reelection campaign coffers.” The toxic look of corrupt collusion he wears is sickening in an entirely different way than past GOP leaders in the House like the aforementioned spawn of Satan, Newt Gingrich, or the obscenely menacing individual known only as, “The Hammer” (Wikipedia says his real name is Tom Delay, but that has to be a joke. Congressman Delay? Some anonymous editor must be making fun of how they never get anything done in Washington).

When asked why the Pledge to America didn’t contain any proposals to “reform entitlements” (read: cut Social Security or Medicare), John Boehner answered, “When you start down that path, you just invite all kind of problems. I know. I’ve been there…let’s not get to the potential solutions. Let’s make sure Americans understand how big the problem is. Then we can talk about possible solutions and then work ourselves into those solutions that are doable.” That’s right, you big Boehner. Promising to cut Social Security and Medicare will invite all kinds of problems in an election year. But, if you let Americans know how big the problem is and that it’s all Obama’s fault, maybe you’ll get into a position where you can work into those solutions that are doable. Doable meaning useful to your corporate benefactors.

Fall 2010

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