The Speaker, with his feat of displeasing almost everyone in the debt-ceiling mess--the White House, Tea Party, GOP Senators, even the Congressional Budget Office--is earning his place in a volume that was in the making years ago to commemorate historic feats of mismanagement, “They Must Know What They’re Doing or They Wouldn’t Be Where They Are.”
It would have honored the Captain of the Titanic, Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression, LBJ’s handling of the Vietnam War, and Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, among other monumental mishaps.
In this century, the list would include Heckuva Job Brownie’s work at FEMA during Hurricane Katrina and, of course, the Master himself—-George W. for the Iraq War. (The jury is still out on Barack Obama's pyrrhic victory in health care reform.)
Garden-variety incompetence does not qualify a public figure for this pantheon. Stunning stubborness has to be compounded by a total lack of foresight and an unerring instinct to misread possible outcomes.
Which brings us to John Andrew Boehner, the 61st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who now finds himself besieged on all sides in a crisis on his own making as the U.S. economy heads toward a cliff, with friends and foes trying to grab the steering wheel.
As the Aug. 2 deadline nears, the suspense is over whether it will all end with a bang (a stock market plunge) or a whimper (some meaningless face-saving deal) but for the next few days, Boehner will be working frantically in his laboratory like some demented Dr. Frankenstein, along with his Igor, Eric Cantor, to breathe life into some legislative monstrosity.
Meanwhile, Boehner's place in the history of disastrous unforeseen consequences is assured.