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On the House offers a clearer assessment of Newt Gingrich’s skillset and foibles. Like Boehner, Gingrich was speaker. He was also responsible for ending decades of Democratic control of the House. But Boehner crystalizes Gingrich’s inability to help run a co-equal branch of government. Politics isn’t always tethered to bomb-throwing. Governing is about the quotidian. Gingrich couldn’t be bothered.
The book acknowledges the visceral hostility of the Republican base toward Barack Obama. After Boehner announced that he believed that Obama was born in the US, he caught a blizzard of grief. The GOP’s embrace of fringe theories remains.
Boehner describes his attempts to reach compromises with Obama on “fiscal issues” and immigration. On the former, he acknowledges Obama’s efforts. On the latter, he contends that Obama would “phone it in” and “poison the well” for the sake of partisan advantage.
Based upon the 2016 election, Obama bet wrong. Open borders are a losing proposition. On the other hand, so is opposing the Affordable Care Act amid an ongoing pandemic and the aftermath of the great recession. Specifically, Boehner claims credit for dismantling Obamacare “bit by bit”, pointing to the rollback of the medical device tax. Incredibly, he claims “there really isn’t much of Obamacare left.”
Really? Boehner definitely gets this wrong.
Biden applauds while Boehner doesn’t, as Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address in 2016. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AP
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the number of uninsured non-elderly Americans dropped from more than 46.5 million in 2010 to under 29 million in 2019. Also, about 9 million purchase subsidized health insurance with federal premium assistance.
If the theatrics of the Trump administration and the Republican challenge pending before the supreme court teach us anything, it is that Obamacare is very much alive. When it comes to government spending, the Republican donor and voting bases don’t necessarily sing from the same hymnal.