Things that inspire me to simply say...WTF??
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FEBRUARY 14, 2011 6:52AM

Boehner's Missed Opportunity

Rate: 15 Flag


     ~photo courtesy of

On Sunday's "Meet the Press," House majority leader John Boehner of Ohio got a pitch over the heart of plate and rather than hit the home run, he fouled it off.

Asked by Moderator David Gregory about President Obama's citizenship and religion, both of which are called into question by more Americans than can even be imagined, Boehner missed an opportunity to unambiguously declare that the President is both a citizen of the United States and a Christian.  Furthermore, he missed the chance to say once and for all that discussing these absurdities is pointless.

Instead, Boehner commented, "It's not my job to tell the American people what to think.  Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people." And while Beohner went on to say that he accepted the President's word that he is a Christian, as well as, the "facts" of Obama's citizenship, his refusal to "tell the American people" what to think crept eerily close to wimpiness.

Gregory even played a portion of a Fox News conversation with Iowa voters.  When the moderator of this "focus group" asked how many thought President Obama was a Muslim, nearly half of them raised their hands!  

When pressed as to whether it was Boehner's responsibility to "stand up to that kind of ignorance," the pitch to the heart of the plate, Boehner then fouled off the pitch with his inane comment about not telling the American people what to think.  He went on to say that he believed both Obama and the State of Hawaii, but, was not going to tell either the right-wing members of his party and the American people, "stop it!"

Leadership is tricky.  A leader walks a dangerous tightrope, one that spans the divide between empowerment and retreat.   Boehner finds himself in the position of leading his own Republican Party.  He can nurture  ignorance, which has the potential to fan the flames of fear, or  he can empower others to a greater good.  To do the latter, there will be moments when he alone must stand up, hit the home run and declare the facts as they are, not back-step with some imbelic elucidation.

Leadership requires stoutheartedness  and the ability to communicate a vision that may indeed yet be in the minds of those listening.  I am reminded, for instance, of Dr. Martin Luther King.  "I have a dream today..."  Reminded, too, of President John F. Kennedy's clarion call, "Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country."

These words were not an attempt to tell the American people what to think.  These were visionaries with their fingers on the pulse of their times who had the courage to trumpet a clarion call.  Never mind that as a nation we weren't there yet.  

Even within the long, storied history of his own party, John Boehner sits atop the legacy of those leaders who went before him.  Think Abraham Lincoln's  words to a fractured nation or President Ronald Reagan's ultimatum, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Boehner's appearance on "Meet the Press"  could have been an opportunity to lead by example.  He might have said something like this.  "David, I am glad you asked that question.  Let me be absolutely clear.  I believe the President is a citizen of this great country.  Furthermore, I completely  believe him when he says he is a Christian.  It is time to lift our eyes from issues long ago decided and dedicate ourselves to restoring American jobs and completing our missions around the world.  I call on all of us to rededicate ourselves to doing both."

This would have been true leadership.  A home run.

Instead, he fouled off the pitch and now looks like a man who is not ready for the Major Leagues.



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It is sad that the Speaker of the House refused to even tell his fellow conservatives that it was all a load of bull. Maybe he fears retribution since the party of Boner* was where the lie came from in the first place.

*yeah, I know but I couldn't resist.
What a foul. Good post Thanks
Well said, right on. It's in bone head! I don't care what country he lives in...he's ashamed of his wee little name. Should have changed it all together lying alcoholic.
Great piece! Congrats on the EP. And, yes, don't we, as a nation, have more important issues to focus upon? I would fall out of my chair in amazement if a politician actually ordered priorities for once and acted upon them in sequence.
B is a big chicken. All he care about is that if he tells the truth of his heart, he'll either lose a few votes or he'll not get enough votes in the House when he needs them. He has fouled...and I use that word loosely.
It's enough to make a grown man cry!
The blog author writes:
"Asked by Moderator David Gregory about President Obama's citizenship and religion ... Beohner (sic) went on to say that he accepted the President's word that he is a Christian, as well as, the 'facts' of Obama's citizenship".

What's the issue? That he first highlighted that elected officials should serve their constituents by listening to them before answering what he personally thought?

And most in this venue would have absolutely no problem telling a conservative to "stick it" if s/he tried to "'tell the American people' what to think", yet they applaud when you call this guy a wimp?

Unfriggin'believable and typical inconsistent behavior by liberals.

Not [R]ated
I rated this to make up for the asshat from NJ.
The truth is that there are no leaders of either party in the Congress. Let me re-phrase that: There are no leaders among the leadership of either party.

One leadership of one party will do and say absolutely anything to regain the majority, and the the other will do absolutely nothing to stand up to the propaganda of the other.
He's on the "other" side. Why would he have to be the one to convince the American people that their president is actually a citizen. I'm not even a fan of the guy, or his party, but at what point does the Republican Party become the spokesstaff for the Democratic Party? Every time the whole citizenship thing has come up, Obama has taken the weakest response you can give and then expected the issue to go away. I don't suspect he's not a citizen, but he's not done the issue any justice by taking the wimpy route he's taken on it. There are so many actions he could have taken that would have shut up the majority of the critics (granted, some will remain critics even if God came down with proof), but instead he's played this minimalistic response and then hoped it would just stop, when any rational person can tell you that's never going to be enough. The Muslim thing is funnier rather than significant because that just shows you how lousy a speaking platform the Democatic Party has. If you can't convince the American people that your president is not a Muslim, there's seriously something wrong with your information campaign. And again, I'm not even on the other side, and I see that.

I guess an "asshat from MI" follow-up comment will be coming your way soon from Shawnie 'cause your comment makes too much sense.

Not only am I not on "the other side" (like you), I'm on no side.

It's just damn irritating when someone writes a blog and/or comments without thinking logically or at least, consistently.
Absolutely. I watched too and felt as you did. You stated this perfectly. Thank you.
What else can one expect from a man who cannot even pronounce his own name correctly?
David Gregory's question strikes me as uninformed.

First, he's asking a member of the legislative branch to opine on the President’s constitutional qualifications to hold office. If I had been Boehner, then I might have responded with my preference to let the judicial branch decide who satisfies the requirements to become President.

Second, he’s asking a citizen to opine on the religious beliefs of another. If I had been Boehner, then I might have responded by reminding the moderator of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment that makes his question irrelevant, because it allows Obama to follow freely any religious belief.

Both answers would have scolded Gregory, failed to respond directly to a stupid question, and left open the possibility that Obama could be both unqualified to be President and a Muslim. On the other hand, I am glad to hear of Boehner’s belief that Congressmen should not think for their constituents. Funny. . . .
This is why I don't watch the sunday morning talk shows, especially Meet the Press. In my opinion, Meet the Press ends up lending credence to crazy far-right propaganda, at least far too often...
Long past the point of expecting anything else from the Repugs.
you're ideologically challenged. from the political standpoint, boehner did exactly what he had to do--support the "troops" without dissing the war. if you actually expected him to say the right and fair thing, you don't have a clue yet who he is and what we are in for for at least the next two years. (I say this even though I agree with your ideology, I just can't stand it when people don't think outside the box. if more take off the blinders more of the terrain can be seen.)

nice post, nothing personal. rated.
Boehner won't do that because he doesn't want a primary challenge. Even Orrin Hatch is too liberal for the Tea Party. Rated.

I'm disappointed in you kid. What the fuck difference does it make at this point aside from attacking Obama's credibility, which anyone with a brain by this point understands is a stupid thing to do.

Forget about my recommendation to teach Twain's autobiogaphy to your class. You'll probably mistake him for Kafka.
This was not a missed opportunity. It was a taken opportunity to implicitly uphold a misunderstanding. I don't think there was anything accidental about the deflection. I think this is a calculated position on the part of the Republican leadership to allow the dirty work of political smearing to be done by those outside of the party itself in a deniable way and then to opt to take no position on things publicly. Saying he missed an opportunity is like saying the Supreme Court took no position on a controversial case if they decline to hear it. Knowing you have the opportunity to fix something and then declining to do it is not just a passive error, it's an active choice. And there's no chance that Boehner doesn't know the implications of not answering.
let's take this left-wing pawn rational reason and logic why a right-wing bishop should tell 10 Iowan pawns how to think and state birth document is the truth back in his-story a few thousands pages....

one thing all you commie-democraps will agree was not the truth like the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" of 1964 that 99-1 passed the Senate and Congress 400+to how many whatever it, you all know that was master LBJ's lie just as he told us blue-collar boys
that "NOT one American Boy will shed any blood fighting an Asian Boy's War" when two neighborhood buddies US Marines asses were in South Vietnam in 62-63 as JFK's advisors....If you join the U.S. Marines, then you volunteer to go where the President orders you to go....more than a few blue-collar shed some blood and a few made the ultimate sacrifice with many more to follow with the ultimate sacrifice over the next 4 years with not one senator's son among them, those rich-kids mostly if not all white-boys started going to Canada in 1968 when duty and service called upon them after college....

so it is your move in the Editor's weekly pick's to love to hate the new white bishop of Congress, last week it was fuck Ronald Reagan on his 100th birthdate and my red pawn responds was fuck william jefferson clinton, so it is your move to protect your white king {President Obama's lost any blackness color learning the 3'rs from all the left-wing domesticated white professors @harvvvard} from the 10 black pawns of untruth from Iowa.....

got 313 million more birth certificates of non-amerikans for you to defend as true original Americans....this rant of pulp fiction chant continues @John's Lennon's "Watching the Wheels" come off from the four corners of the fucking world for another 675 days.......
What struck me during this portion of their conversation was Boehner's repeatedly saying "it's not our job to tell the American people what to think." He then qualified his statements regarding his own beliefs that the president is a citizen and a Christian by saying "the facts as I understand them." He intentionally leaves open the door to those people Luntz had on his panel who all thought Obama is a Muslim. This is immediately contrasted by his unequivocal statements on the president's budget, which "spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much." He has no problem telling us how to think in this situation but when addressing what is politely referred to as the fringe beliefs on the right, he lacks that same confidence.

Spending too much and taxing too much seem like the language of opinion but stating whether someone is a citizen is a matter of fact. Boehner bunts when he should be swinging.

Wide right seems to be within Boehner's strike zone.

Great piece of writing and I couldn't agree with you more - send these chumps back to the minors!
If you're waiting for Boehner to "hit a home run" I hope you have a comfortable chair.
i am sorry: i can hardly type from laughing so hard at the concept of a politician worrying more about listening to the american people than trying to tell us what to think! *sigh* if only he speaketh the truth...
I appreciate your post for it's baseball analogies and it's emotional solicitation for leadership. However, through that eloquent literary smokescreen I am still able to see that this is a turnabout attempt. The real subject of the post's argument should be President Obama.

I'd like to repeat your words concerning leadership. This time let's read them and see if they apply to President Obama and his handling of these issues.

"He can nurture ignorance, which has the potential to fan the flames of fear, or he can empower others to a greater good. To do the latter, there will be moments when he alone must stand up, hit the home run and declare the facts as they are, not back-step with some imbelic (sic) elucidation."

Part of the reason these issues have gotten more attention than they deserve and are being asked of House Speaker Boehner by David Gregory is because President Obama has slouched to the plate with his bat resting on his shoulders and made a low crouch stance hoping to get a free pass.