Boehner Pulling a Gingrich?

John Boehner's whining about being called a "hostage taker" by President Obama is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich's whining about being "snubbed" on Air Force One.

I believe we’ve seen this movie before:

John Boehner thinks President Barack Obama is “engaging” and “smart” — but the speaker-elect is also still smarting over the president’s claim that he took taxpayers hostage to secure a tax break for the rich.

In an interview with Leslie Stahl of “60 Minutes” for broadcast Sunday night on CBS, Boehner said Obama showed him “disrespect” by calling him a hostage-taker.

“Excuse me, Mr. President I thought the election was over,” Boehner said, according to a transcript obtained by POLITICO. “You know, you get a lot of that heated rhetoric during an election. But now it’s time to govern.”

While Boehner is of course right about the “hostage” rhetoric, it’s politics in the modern age, not a personal slight.  I’m of course reminded of Newt Gingrich’s infamous pique over a “snub” from President Clinton aboard Air Force One en route back from Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral: “You’ve been on the plane for 25 hours and nobody has talked to you and they ask you to get off the plane by the back ramp. … You just wonder, where is their sense of manners? Where is their sense of courtesy?”

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    The two have no relation to each other. Have you nothing better to comment on…like something real?

  2. Herb says:

    Oh, and he cried a couple times, too.

    (Not joking. Wish I was….but nope, flow my tears, the politician said.)

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Not news. Now Gingrich pulling a Boehner, that would be news.

  4. Herb says:

    Do you pull a Boehner or pop one?

  5. john personna says:

    While Boehner is of course right about the “hostage” rhetoric,

    The irony of placing this right next to the “Republicans block 1099 repeal” is excellent. Keep up the good work.

  6. TG Chicago says:

    I’m glad that we no longer live in an age where a male politician cries one time and gets thrown out of politics. But that said, crying multiple times in different locations at different stages of the interview starts to get kinda weird. Is Boehner okay? He can’t even go to a school because he’ll see the kids and start crying? That’s seriously odd behavior.

    (of course, when Hillary Clinton choked up a bit during her campaign for the nomination, that was made to be a huge deal. Boehner sobs regularly and it will be ignored. Darn that liberal media!)

  7. James Joyner says:

    The irony of placing this right next to the “Republicans block 1099 repeal” is excellent.

    Hostage taking is a crime. Denying one’s vote to legislation, conversely, is not.

    Republicans have every right to hold up legislation they don’t like in order to either run out the clock on the lame duck session or force concessions from Democrats. I happen to think the 1099 thing is bizarre and counerproductive but, again, well within their rights.

    We’re only a few days away from the Republicans taking over the House by dint of overwhelming victory in the recent elections. They’ve got the right to demand control of the legislative agenda.

  8. mantis says:

    Hostage taking is a crime. Denying one’s vote to legislation, conversely, is not.

    Not recognizing a metaphor when you see one should be a crime.

    We’re only a few days away from the Republicans taking over the House by dint of overwhelming victory in the recent elections. They’ve got the right to demand control of the legislative agenda.

    Not yet, they don’t.

  9. James Joyner says:

    Not recognizing a metaphor when you see one should be a crime.

    I recognize the metaphor, which is why I say Boehner should stop whining about it. But he’s right as a matter of argument: the Republicans aren’t doing anything wrong here and the president is both trying to get them to compromise and then making histrionic declarations about the negotiations.

    Not yet, they don’t.

    Sure they do. In the House, the Dems can simply reject the demand, in that Dems still have the votes. In the Senate, however, the Republicans can stop legislation in its tracks unless the Dems cave. That’s perfectly legit under present circumstances.

  10. mantis says:

    Sure they do. In the House, the Dems can simply reject the demand, in that Dems still have the votes.

    Then they don’t have the right to control the legislative agenda, now do they? When the new speaker is a Republican, then they’ll have the right.

    In the Senate, however, the Republicans can stop legislation in its tracks unless the Dems cave.

    They’ve been doing that for years, every chance they get. In any case, that is still not control of the legislative agenda.

  11. john personna says:

    That defense doesn’t do much for me, James. I mean, to complain about “histrionics” when it seems the real example is in the over-literal over-reaction to the “hostage taking” phrase.

    The 1009 saga being the example that roots it all in concrete terms.

  12. john personna says:

    I mean geez,

    Republicans: So committed to gridlock that they won’t even vote for things they do like.

  13. James Joyner says:

    John,

    The Republicans no more held Obama hostage than vice-versa. That’s the nature of compromise when neither party can get what they want without the other’s assent.

    I agree that the 1099 thing seems bizarre, at best. If all there is too it is wanting to punt it two weeks down the line to get credit, it seems mildly petty. But, meh, the end result is the same.

  14. john personna says:

    Let’s back up. As they won the last congressional elections, some Republicans announced a goal of gridlock. When the President desired to preserve middle class tax cuts, per his election promise, Republicans sought to block it. This was the first example of them blocking things they liked (lower taxes for most people) because they thought they could get more (in direct legislation but also in political juice).

    They held out, they held those taxes for hostage. Fair words, IMO. Your main agitation seems to be that the President said them, rather than a designee in congress, but more on that later.

    So now, with the 1099 thing we don’t have some random event, we have another variation on the same theme. Again, Republicans hold hostage a change that is good for the country, something they believe in, something the majority supports, because they think they can get political gain.

    So … that’s OK as long as the President doesn’t complain? Or it’s OK as long as the President uses gentle language and isn’t mean about it?

    WTF.

    (What this really shows is that for every political action there is a reaction, and while the Republicans may think gridlock buys them something, we in opposition to these games can try to make it cost them something as well.)