When House Speaker John Boehner mocked his Republican colleagues for their reluctance to deal with immigration reform last week, we saw the ultimate display of: A. poor leadership; B. hypocrisy; C. a divided Republican Party; D. a puppet rebelling against the puppeteers; E. a politician getting ready to retire.
Those are just some of the many ways people from all extremes of the political spectrum interpreted and reacted to Boehner's whinnying performance before a Rotary Club lunch audience in his Ohio district Thursday.
"Here's the attitude," Boehner said of his GOP colleagues. "Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard."
At first glance, depending on the viewpoint, it came off as either a betrayal of GOP principles or a rare act of courage by a leader who had forgotten how to lead.
But there was one huge irony in Boehner's diatribe: The main person he should have been mocking was himself! It is Boehner who has been preventing an immigration reform bill from going up for a vote on the House floor, where it has a good chance of passing. It is Boehner who has been hinting that he is ready to move forward on immigration for months, only to take it all back as soon as his puppet strings are pulled by anti-immigrant zealots. It is Boehner who best represents the whiny Republicans crying: "Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard."
Yet, in an astonishing display of hypocrisy, Boehner said: "We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems, and it's remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don't want to. They'll take the path of least resistance."
This is a man in dire need of a mirror! Does he not see that he is supposed to be the leader on that path?
Amazingly, as he complained about the whinnying of his colleagues, Boehner continued whinnying. "I've had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it," he said. "I didn't say it was going to be easy."
Yet allowing an immigration vote would be quite easy for him — as he was promptly reminded in a tweet from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "If you want to pass immigration reform, [email protected], bring it up for a vote. It'll pass."
Anyone who has been following Boehner's fluctuating positions on this issue knows that when he ridiculed his fellow Republicans, he was describing himself perfectly.
Not too long ago, he was claiming to be "hell-bent on getting this (immigration reform) done this year." But that was only until his tea party puppeteers began pulling his strings and forced him to change his tune.
As if they had totally run out of legitimate excuses for blocking immigration reform, many Republicans — led by Boehner — began using the same asinine talking point: They couldn't consider any kind of reform, they claimed, because President Barack Obama could not be trusted to enforce new immigration laws.
Mind you, in order to feed red meat and then try to reason with Boehner's anti-immigrant colleagues, Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president — making their latest excuse for blocking immigration reform both laughable and sad.
But it was Boehner who was sent out to make that ridiculous argument. "There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws," Boehner said in February. "And it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes."
Nevertheless, since Boehner last week seemed to be ridiculing the position he defended only a couple of months ago, some of his conservative colleagues are throwing tantrums.
One of them is Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, the Latino Uncle Tom who has become a rising GOP star for his willingness to block immigration reform. Labrador immediately released a statement charging that "instead of criticizing the people he is supposed to be leading," Boehner should have denounced Obama for being the "biggest obstacle" to immigration reform.
Really? Obama is the biggest obstacle? Is this a competition to determine which House Republican can be the biggest hypocrite? Is Labrador challenging Boehner for that title?
"If he (Boehner) wants the Republican conference to follow him on this issue, he needs to stand up for House Republicans instead of catering to the media and special-interest groups," added Labrador, who caters to right-wing special interests, and has even less credibility and less independence from tea party zealots than Boehner — if that's at all possible.
In the House of Representatives, GOP hypocrisy is shamelessly running amok. It even comes with whinnying, strange facial gestures and other special effects for everyone to see.
And if it weren't so sad for the country, it would be terribly funny.
To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.