During our interview, I also expressed my extreme frustration with the poor leadership of House Speaker John Boehner. Sadly, the House did not use their constitutional authority to withdraw funding from Obamacare and the President's executive decision to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Despite a massive outpouring of opposition from conservatives and organized labor, the House voted to approve the President's questionable 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. Instead of passing a constant stream of bills reaching the President's desk forcing him to issue vetoes, the Congress produced only one bill, approving the Keystone Pipeline, that generated a presidential veto. Despite assurances to conservatives across the nation that Congress would work to stop the Obama agenda, precious little has been accomplished.
Clearly, Congress is saddled with very weak Republican leadership. Along with Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been reluctant to challenge President Obama. This inaction has infuriated conservatives who expected members of Congress to follow through on tough campaign talk. Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Congress are only “campaign conservatives,” and, in fact, govern like liberals.
One person who actually backed up tough talk with action is U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), a bold opponent of both establishment Republicans and President Obama. Cruz has been unafraid to engage in filibusters or to use tough language to criticize McConnell. On the Senate floor, Cruz accused McConnell of lying about the backroom negotiations used to pass parts of the Trans Pacific Partnership legislation. The Majority Leader's allies blasted Cruz, but millions of grassroots conservatives cheered and considered him a hero.
Not surprisingly, Boehner does not consider Cruz a hero. In fact, at a Republican fundraiser in Colorado, Boehner called Cruz a “jackass” and said he was pleased that the Senator was busy campaigning across the country and was not on Capitol Hill causing trouble. While Boehner and McConnell may consider Cruz to be a troublemaker, such a personal attack against a Republican congressional colleague is unusual. The Cruz insult was not only unpopular with the donors at the event and it was also not well received by conservatives across the country.
In fact, during our interview, I asked the Majority Whip for his reaction. Scalise said that Boehner's remarks were “not productive.” Here is a link to the exchange: http://bit.ly/1Qmr1qn
Scalise acknowledged the “frustration” among Republicans across the country. He said that real progress would not be possible until a new President takes office in 18 months. He agreed with me that a real conservative needs to be the 2016 GOP presidential nominee. Scalise expressed the desire for a nominee in the mold of Ronald Reagan.
Sadly, Republican conservatives have been looking in vain for another Ronald Reagan since 1989. Hopefully, Scalise is right and a real Reagan like conservative will be nominated in 2016. If that happens, it will occur despite the opposition from Boehner and the establishment wing of the Republican Party.
As his rather lame tenure indicates, Boehner is an establishment Republican, which is one reason why he will be facing a “vacate the chair” vote in the next few weeks. Conservatives in the House are becoming more emboldened to challenge Boehner. While Scalise is still a loyal Boehner lieutenant, his mild criticism of the Cruz insult is quite interesting. It shows that Scalise understands the power of the conservative movement, the popularity of Cruz and the unpopularity of the person leading the House today, John Boehner.