In the immortal words of Speaker John Boehner (via the New York Times):

“God only knows” how Washington is going to get control of its finances.

Unlikely as it seems, there may have been more feckless Speakers of the House than John Boehner.  But if there had ever been one who failed his country so abjectly in a time of national crisis, his name would live in infamy.

Alas, this is no surprise to those who observe Republican politics and politicians.  The GOP is like a public school that rewards students with social promotions.  Just as scads of high school grads can’t read and compute at grade level, senior Republican candidates and office holders can neither read the national tea leaves nor compute winning strategies.

A few years ago I had a close encounter with Boehner that made me think we’d already ridden over the cliff, fiscal and otherwise.  It was soon after Obama’s inauguration and House Minority Leader Boehner was in California, where on this particular day he deigned to come speak to a lunch attended by a hundred or so conservatives who work in and around Hollywood (and have to hide their politics the way Christians in pre-Constantine Rome met in secret).

In between sips of wine and running outside to grab a smoke, Boehner delivered a rousing speech.  Unfortunately, it was his Ohio congressman’s stump speech that urged us to go out there and work for our country, or some such blather.  This was not, to say the least, an antidote to Obama’s disheartening victory.

When Boehner finished, he received an obligatory standing ovation—tepid, perhaps, but still embarrassing to me.  I remained seated on my hands until the moment everyone sat, at which point I stood and blurted out that it was inappropriate for him to be electioneering in front of people who can’t vote for him anyway instead of rousing a dispirited minority by telling us what he and his Republican colleagues were planning on our behalf.

He bristled at the impertinence.  And defensively dismissed the comment in as few words as possible.

But he wasn’t off the hook.  Someone else then stood and challenged him on a matter of policy.  Then someone else on another issue.  On it went for a thrilling half hour, at the end of which Boehner was sweating so heavily that his spray-on orange tan looked like smeared makeup (though that could have been my imagination).

On the way out I commented to Someone Famous (who would appreciate not being outed here) that if Boehner is the best we have, we’re totally f—ed.

I’m sorry to say, those were prophetic words.

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