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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
Douglas MacKinnon Columns

Obama, Boehner have much in common, and it's all bad

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President Obama once joked about Speaker of the House John Boehner's perpetual “orange” tan.

“We have a lot in common,” the president said of Boehner. “He is a person of color, although not a color that appears in the natural world.”

Now, Boehner wants to sue the president — not because of the joke, but because he rightfully feels Obama is intentionally misusing his power. Boehner said in part, “Too often over the past five years, the president has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he has sworn to uphold — at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.”

The president's response to Boehner's threat? He laughed it off, delivering this message at a campaign stop, “I mean, I might have said in the heat of the moment during one of these debates, 'I want to raise the minimum wage, so sue me when I do.' But I didn't think they were going to take it literally.”

As an independent conservative, I strongly believe Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a host of other establishment Republicans share a great deal of blame for the country's growing problems. And for the good of the American people, they need to go. The fact that Boehner is rolling out an unoriginal publicity stunt to get television time and fire up his “base” proves the point.

That said, regardless of the messenger or his threat to file a frivolous suit and waste taxpayer money, the Obama presidency is coming off the rails in a dramatic but not surprising fashion — and we should all be worried.

I once spoke with a high-level Democrat who told me that Barack Obama never expected to beat Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democrat primary, nor Republican John McCain in the general election. This person compared it with the 1972 Robert Redford movie titled “The Candidate,” where Redford's character is talked into running for the Senate because he has no chance to win. The campaign operative tells Redford's character that since he can't win, he's free to speak to his values and raise his profile. Of course, at the end, Redford's character does win. In the final scene of the movie, he turns to the campaign operative and says, “What do we do now?”

After almost six years of Barack Obama, more and more Americans — including a growing number of Democrats — are saying, “What do we do now?”

Obama has been seen bolting from the White House to hit the local Starbucks and Chipotle establishments. He'd rather talk about the NBA playoffs in some settings than public policy, leaving Americans to wonder if he has given up on his job.

No matter if the president has mentally checked out or was never qualified for the office, he is our president for the next two-plus years. But after that, I hope he is gone from public life forever.

But what about the man suing the president? Sadly, Boehner could be in office for the next two decades or more.

Obama is correct when he says he and Boehner have a lot in common. At a time when our nation is desperate for actual leadership, both men personify all that is wrong with our political system.

Both men also have an addiction to golf. Boehner once bragged that he played more than 100 rounds a year, while President Obama is closing in on 200 rounds, since getting elected. For the good of the nation, both men might want to give serious thought to resigning before they hit the links together.

They won't, of course. Both men put their self-interests and political parties before the welfare of the American people. They have that in common, as well.

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