Tongue in tanned cheek, John Boehner explains his escalating criticism of Barack Obama: "The president is getting … bad advice. Somebody needed to help him out, so I thought I would."
Actually, Boehner has it backward.
For haters of government bailouts, Republicans in general are doing a nifty job of saving the President from his biggest mistakes in office.
In 2009, instead of going all out on job creation, Obama overrode advisers and went all in on health care . Worse than that, instead of asking for up-or-down votes on preferred provisions, he threw it all into a Congressional pit to see a 2000-page bill emerge larded with a sickening display of tradeoffs for their own constituents by Democratic lawmakers. (The public saw, too, and thus was the Tea Party born to take over the House next year.)
The President's mistakes did not end there. Apparently insensitive to charges of care rationing and death panels, he continued to stress the altruism of covering millions of uninsured, apparently expecting Americans to respond with empathy rather than fear of less care for themselves.
So much miscalculation, so much political damage. When it was all over, health care reform was a partisan disaster for Democrats. Voters don't understand most of it, don't like what they do and have been sold a bill of goods that Obamacare is an expensive goverment takeover. Even keeping children covered until 26 and barring disqualification for pre-existing conditions have been lost in the shuffle as Obama pluses.
But wait! What do we hear over the horizon, leading the cavalry charge to save the President? Social Conservatives are riding to his rescue labeling unmarried women who want contraception coverage as sluts and pulling the party to the right of the Vatican, leaving Mitt Romney with a huge gap in polls among young women voters.
This cycle it is the Catholic branch of the Right, led by St. Santorum, that is pushing for theocratic correctness in other people's lives, the kind of intrusion that would have made JFK puke.
That subtle blending started to recede after Kennedy's election, but until less than two years ago, the Church's was still forcing New York State couples of all faiths in failed marriages into dishonest warfare that encouraged them to lie and cheat, enrich divorce attorneys and, worst of all, damage their children in protracted court fights before becoming the last state in the union to legalize no-fault grounds for dissolving a marriage in a relatively humane way.
Boehner, who has signed on to the Religious Right's captivity of his party's candidate, is in
"Now we are going to have a fight over women’s health,” he complains. “Give me a break. This is the latest plank in the so-called ‘war on women’ entirely created — entirely created — by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain. To accuse us of wanting to gut women’s health is absolutely not true."
Not as untrue as the claim that Obamacare is a government takeover, but for Obama, it will serve as a wedge with Republican and Independent women who would never otherwise consider voting for him.
We are in scorpion-and-turtle territory here. Asking to ride his back across a raging river, the scorpion reassures the turtle he would never sting him for that would drown them both.
Halfway across, the scorpion stings. "Why?" asks the turtle going under. "Because," answers the scorpion, "it's in my nature."
For the Republican extreme Right, stinging is a reflex that might just drown Romney in November.