Is John Boehner going home, or is he going to be a millionaire?
Speaker Boehner stands on the edge of a new beginning in his life. He can turn the page, leave Washington and begin a different life than the one he has known. Or, he can accept one of the mega-lucrative opportunities lying there in front of him, just waiting for him to pick up and make his own.
He possesses high dollar skills that can only be acquired one way: By suiting up and playing the game of full-speed, contact politics. What Speaker Boehner knows can’t be taught in a classroom. The only way to learn it is to get elected and then spend time slugging it out in the political trenches; winning and getting beat, strategizing and knocking heads.
Speaker Boehner will be a millionaire if he wants it. All he has to do is sign on as a hired gun for one of the many special interests that are strangling our government. He could, if he’s feeling called to it, offer his services to a low-dollar, people-oriented enterprise, such as the Catholic bishops, or the movement to end violence against women. Those lobbying jobs are far more challenging than pushing the plans of big-money power brokers, and the work has intrinsic benefits that are priceless.
But if he wants the doh-reg-meh, he will have to sell his skills to a higher bidder. There are intrinsics to that choice to. But they are costs, not benefits. If Speaker Boehner takes a position as a hired gun, he will be told.
His moral reservations about the issues he lobbies for will be entirely non-sequitur. Hired guns do what they’re told. He will earn his millions by using the skills he acquired through long years in public office to accomplish what those who pay him want accomplished.
If that’s an unfair advantage over competitors, if that’s the use of American troops to support a private company’s bid for power in another country, if that’s raising taxes on wage earners while lowering them on the rich, then so be it. Hired guns do what they’re told.
This isn’t such a large jump for many politicians. They’ve been dancing to the tune of party discipline and those who used campaign donations to buy them since they first filed for their first office. They already do what they’re told.
They may have spent their careers speaking piously about following God’s will. Human nature being what it is, they may even have convinced themselves that this is what they actually are doing God’s will. But in practice and in fact, God’s will as they choose to see it has coincided in an almost perfect one-to-one correlation with the will of their political party and the puppet masters who pull their strings.
John Boehner has spent many years of his life as one of the two most powerful legislators in the world. As Speaker of the House, he actually has had a greater latitude than the Senate Majority leader, who is hemmed in by Senate rules and the reality of the Vice President as the Constitutional head of the Senate. The Senate wields power that the House does not in a number of areas, and each Senator represents an entire state rather than a district within a state. But the House is the more independent body. That gives the Speaker greater freedom of action, with the power that goes with it.
If he wants to be an independent person who can continue to exercise personal latitude in what he does, Speaker Boehner will have to say no to the vast wealth that is his for the taking. He is staring at a future carpeted by the realization of all the dreams of avarice. But nothing in life is free except a mother’s love and salvation before God. Everything else has a price. Hiring on as a hired gun in Washington DC exacts a sobering moral cost.
Speaker Boehner has a future of great wealth and little independence, working as a hired gun for one of the many special interests who have bought our government. It’s his, if he wants it. He will, if he takes such a position, forfeit the opportunity to use what he knows for the common good. But he will also become a wealthy man.
What do you think he’s going to do?