My telepathic abilities are strongest in the morning, so the timing was good Friday for watching John Boehner's early news conference, when he announced his resignation from the House Speakership and Congress. I should explain to new readers that over the years, in addition to my native abilities, I've developed techniques to read people's minds while I watch them live on TV. It has to do with synchronizing waves on the electromagnetic spectrum (and "cousin spectrums") that are discrete, but carry similar information. I had very clear reception Friday morning.
While waiting for Boehner to arrive, CNN put on President Obama's news conference with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, and the President was asked his take on Boehner's resignation. I tuned out the words (which I often need to do in order to concentrate on politicians) and watched his face and listened to the sounds (not words) coming out of his mouth.
Obama is feeling a certain glee that the other party is in such a giant mess when his party isn't, but he worries that his party is next. He worries that if the Tea Party really becomes so unwieldy that the GOP has to renounce it, a new, more rational GOP may emerge that no longer serves as a foil for Democratic saintliness. Obama knows, as well, that it isn't just the Tea Party that's messing things up. American and international politics are one big distraction from what's really going on: the end game for humans. We spend all our time squawking about "controversies" handed us by the parties- always having to do with promoting this or that law that supports someone's world-view- while the real issue is that, because of our species' undiminished and seemingly undiminishable drive to conquer all before it, we face a very real extinction threat. Neither Party talks about this in realistic terms, so any move to rationalize politics would include Democrats.
Boehner was striking in his sincerity. That's something I don't say often about politicians. When he said that he made the decision to resign when he woke up Friday morning, I probed deeply and it was true. Ditto for the emotions and tears- all genuine. I was a bit taken aback by the intensity of the emotion. He is truly upset at the loss of his job away from home, where he had a dominant position; the media conveyed his words and deeds to all humanity, and everyone needed him to help run the world. Now the only person who will need him is his wife when he puts the wrong towels in the bathroom. Poor bastard! [Update: Later in the day I picked up chatter on Boehner's future role as a lobbyist. He'll be well able to buy his way out of domestic subjugation with his new earnings.]
Boehner is not thinking much about how to solve the GOP dilemma; he's mostly just delighted to be escaping the heat. Other GOP officials I probed are very concerned. I found a consensus in GOP leadership that, with the growing instability of the Tea Party within its ranks, the Party must change.
I found no consensus on how to change it, but the leadership might consider how the Democrats saved themselves in a radical fashion with the Democratic Leadership Council which, at the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency, deemed that the Democratic Party was too far to the left to survive as a national party and moved it sharply to the right on welfare, trade and foreign policy. Public fights were picked with prominent liberals like Jesse Jackson to ensure that voters knew the Democrats had moved to the right. It worked: Bill Clinton was elected, and the benefit to the Party has continued through Obama.
The GOP is now too far to the right to survive as a national party, and some action is required. GOP leadership might go one of two ways: continuing the GOP embrace of the Tea Party and accepting the resulting chaos as the dues of holy war, or definitively rejecting the more extreme far-right social positions in a public way, possibly by changing the 2012 national Party platform (https://cdn.gop.com/docs/2012GOPPlatform.pdf), removing such sections as:
1. [Gay marriage] We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
2. [Separation of church and state] We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools....
3. [God against gun control] We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense...This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration.
4. [Abortion] We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.
As noted, no one is proposing such moves yet, no doubt because of the struggle entailed, but clearly something has to give or the 2016 GOP convention will be an exercise in self-destruction.
I'm still picking up lots of stray D.C. thoughts about Boehner's resignation (if I leave CNN on in the background I can surf thoughts). Everybody is confirming that no one but Boehner knew he would resign when he did. The entire U.S. government was surprised.
Is that good or bad?
Yesterday President Xi thought about Boehner and decided, "It's not my problem," but the founder of his party, Mao Zedong, wrote, "Everything under heaven is in chaos; the situation is excellent."
Of course, chaos worked for Mao. It doesn't work for everyone.