Good day Austin:
It’s all in the punctuation. “Don’t cry for me Argentina.”
There’s the Madonna standard punctuation.
But maybe Pope Francis, an Argentinian, uses Argentina as a sly, private nickname, and, yesterday, he passed a note to House Speaker John Boehner – “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.”
If so, it was to no avail.
The Pope had Boehner working the hanky during his speech before the Congress.
The pope had Boehner, his face contorted in eloquent emotion, when Francis came out to the Capitol balcony to offer greetings to the gathered throng.
Now Boehner is a famous crier.
He cries a lot.
He cries on 60 Minutes.
He holds back tears at the State of the Union.
For all I know there is 7-Eleven security camera footage of Boehner bawling when he is told they are all out of Camel Extra Lights.
And, though there is no footage of it, I am quite sure that Ted Cruz makes him cry – not heartwrenching, warm and bittersweet tears. Just hot, salty, bitter tears of anguish and frustration.
Boehner is stepping down amid a rebellion among party hard-liners for whom Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are squishy sell-outs.
And their spiritual leader – the Pope Francis of Republican discontent – is Ted Cruz.
Cruz is the Fidel Castro of this revolutionary band – the Tortilla Toast Caucus – holed up not in the Sierra Maestra Mountains but a Capitol Hill Mexican eatery.
Cruz and the TTC are the architects of the defund-Planned-Parenthood-or-die strategy that threatened to lead to a government shutdown that Boehner was determined to avoid and that, with his announcement that he will be stepping down, he is freer to avert.
Boehner’s sudden announcement that he was quitting Congress had Cruz on a giddy high when he addressed the Values Voter Summit in Washington just after the big news broke.
He was – to use a favorite Cruz imagery – on fire.
His buttons were bursting.
From Anthony Zurcher with BBC: John Boehner resigns and Ted Cruz gloats
The man John Boehner once called a “jackass” took the stage at the Values Voter Summit just about an hour after news that the House speaker was resigning from office.
Now Boehner is gone, and it seems Mr Cruz’s brand of high-stakes brinkmanship is gaining favour in the US capital. While the senator himself didn’t take credit for the change, Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine – who introduced Cruz at the Washington event – wasn’t so demur.
“We’re going to get new leadership in the House of Representative,” he said. “It’s happening because there’s a newly elected senator that showed up and started articulating principles that were consistent with the Republican platform.”
He added that the Boehner-led establishment fought the Texas senator for his perceived transgressions.
It seems, however, that there’s going to be a new sheriff in town.
Jonathan Easley at The Hill went with basks instead of gloats: Cruz basks in news of Boehner’s resignation:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) basked in Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) resignation announcement, saying that Republicans had failed to deliver on any of their electoral promises under his leadership.
The Texas Republican insisted that he doesn’t have it in for either Boehner or McConnell, but said his disagreements with them stem merely from his view that they refuse to fight for conservative principles.
“I’ve privately urged them to stand up and lead and told them if they did, I would sing their praises,” Cruz said. “I would be thrilled to hold a press conference and talk about the brave, principled John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, if they would simply act in a way that I could say those things.”
Cruz said he’s tired of the excuse that Republicans must run every branch of government to get anything done, but he said he’s working to ensure they maintain majorities in both chambers in 2017 and take the White House.
“We were told that if only we were to have a Republican House of Representatives we could get something done, so in 2010 millions of us rose up and we did,” Cruz said. “Then we were told that the problem is the Senate, so in 2014 millions of us rose up and we won a landslide election.
“Now we’re told … we have to wait until 2017.”
In his ebullient performance before the Values Voter Summit Cruz said:
You know there’s an ancient Chinese curse. May you live in interesting times. We live in interesting times.
Of Tony Perkins, head of the summit sponsor – the Family Research Council:
You want to talk about a strong. principled conservative who scares the living daylights out of Washington.
But I have to tell you. Tony doesn’t scare Washington half as much as the men and women gathered in this ballroom.
You want to know how much each of you terrify Washington?
Yesterday, John Boehner was speaker of the House. Y’all came to town and that changes.
My only request is can you come more often. Tony we need to schedule these weekly, once a week.
Cruz spoke more directly about Boehner with reporters at the summit.
If it is correct that the speaker, before he resigns, has cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of its tenure, to fund Obamacare, to fund executive amnesty, to fund Planned Parenthood, to fund implementation of this Iran deal – and then, presumably, to land in a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities, that is not the behavior one would expect of a Republican speaker of the House.
So Boehner had good reason to be fed up with Pope Ted.
But my guess is that it was the other Pope’s visit that may have given Boehner absolution and emotional release from any guilt or doubt he may have had about about calling it quits and exiting the purgatory that is being a Republican congressional leader in the Age of Cruz.
From the New York Times report on Boehner’s resignation:
Looking poised and sounding rehearsed, Mr. Boehner, who stunned the capital with his news, became emotional as he recalled a moment alone with Pope Francis, who had been his guest the day before at the Capitol and who had asked the speaker to pray for him.
The announcement came just a day after Pope Francis visited the Capitol, fulfilling a 20-year dream for Mr. Boehner, the son of a tavern owner from a large Catholic family, of having a pontiff address Congress. He had a private audience with Francis before the pope spoke to a joint meeting of Congress.
Mr. Boehner wept openly as the pope addressed an audience gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Thursday. He no doubt understood that it was his last grand ceremony as speaker and, indeed, a capstone to his long political career, which began in the Ohio Statehouse.