House Speaker John Boehner is a dope.
Liberals have been trying to convince us conservatives of that for years and we never believed them. Painful as it is to admit, they were right and we were wrong. Boehner, it turns out, is exactly the bungling fool liberals always said he was.
Boehner, the highest-ranking Republican elected official in federal government, opened that big yapper attached to his notoriously orange head and promptly inserted his foot when he called TARP opponents "knuckle draggers" on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News show "On the Record."
Specifically, when asked to defend newly minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's Congressional voting record on spending and budget issues -- which, given the fact that Ryan's record includes bloated big government programs like TARP, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, the auto bailout and loads of pork projects, is anything but conservative -- Boehner responded:
"I mean, I think that he's a practical conservative. He's got a very conservative voting record, but he's not a knuckle-dragger, all right? He understood that TARP, while none of us wanted to do it, if we were going to save -- save our economy, save the world economy, it had to happen. I wish we didn't have to do it, either, but he understood that."
TARP -- the Troubled Access Relief Program -- was the ridiculous Wall Street bailout scheme whereby the federal government spent hundreds of billions of dollars buying distressed assets and gave away hundreds of billions more in direct handouts to banks.
When it was passed in 2008, TARP was projected to cost federal taxpayer $700 billion. Since that time, thankfully, some of that cash has been paid back, reducing the program's burden on taxpaying Americans.
Because TARP so blatantly allows the federal government to overstep its bounds and do things that are clearly both unconstitutional and socialist -- namely prop up private business with taxpayers' money -- the TARP vote is rightly considered by many conservatives and libertarians as this generation's litmus test for fiscally conservative principles.
Well, Ryan failed that test when he joined a minority of House Republicans to vote in support of TARP. So did Boehner.
By attempting to justify Ryan's very liberal TARP vote -- and, by extension, his as well -- Boehner defended horrible public policy, while disparaging the members of his own party wise enough not to vote for the scam.
Humorously, while he was busy trying to dig Ryan out of the hole he put himself in by voting in support of TARP, the Speaker carelessly managed to dig himself in an even bigger hole -- one that may cost him his lofty position.
It apparently slipped Boehner's mind that anti-TARP voters constitute a large majority of Republican House members.
The first time the House voted for TARP, 133 Republican members voted against it, while only 65 voted in favor of the scheme. When TARP came back to the House for a final vote to approve the Senate's amendments, the majority of Republicans again opposed the legislation -- 108 to 91.
That means there are enough GOP "knuckle draggers" in the House to punt Boehner out of the speaker's chair when the new Congress convenes next January -- which is exactly what they should do.
If there was any doubt, Boehner demonstrated again this week that "Republicans" and "fiscal conservatives" are not the same thing -- and in many case, they are not even related. It's just too bad that Boehner resorted to disparaging many of his colleagues and supporters in order to prove that point.