Did you see outgoing House Speaker John Boehner on “Face the Nation” Sunday? Clearly a good and decent man who was exceptionally moved to have the Pope accept his inivtation to address the Joint Meeting of Congress. It is a lovely segment. As Speaker, he faced a tough job trying to deal with the “no compromise” caucus of his party. But he said in this interview that his guiding principle has been, and his advice to the next Speaker would be, “just do the right things for the right reasons.” And I found myself wanting John Dickerson to ask — not in a gotcha way; I would be truly interested to hear his answer — “How is it the right thing, for the right reasons . . . when polls show the majority of the Ameican people are for something, and the Senate has passed it by a wide margin, and the President wants to sign it . . . not to allow it up up for a vote in the House?”
If you see him, ask, and let me know what he says.
Another thing the Speaker said I liked a lot as well: “Have the courage to do what you CAN do — it’s easy to have the courage to do what you can’t do.”
Right? Like Ralph Nader having the courage to demand perefection when the Clintons and Gores and Obamas of the world merely move the ball down the field in the right direction. “In our system of government,” the Speaker continued, “it’s not about Hail Mary passes, it’s the Woody Hayes school of football — 3 yards and a cloud of dust; 3 yards and a cloud of dust . . .”
So we don’t get single-payer health care (as obviously we should have) or an Iran deal or a trade deal that is perfect (as obviously we can’t) — we get the best we can, which is a whole heck of a lot better than what we had.
Anyway, John Boehner was apparently not right-wing and uncompromising enough for the Republican Congress. It will be interesting to see how his successor performs.
EXPLANATION OF RELIGION AND WORLD POLITICS IN ONE SENTENCE
John Carroll: “It all went wrong in 633 CE when it was revealed that the Unitary God of the Abrahamic Religion was keeping three sets of books and nobody could agree on the prophets.”
OUR FIRST JESUIT POPE
Janet Tavakoli: “The Pope’s interpretation of Roman Catholic philosophy supports healthy mental and physical life. He keeps saying: ‘When God forgives, he forgets.’ Who has not done something in their lives that they wish they had done differently? You have to forgive yourself, put it behind you, and move on, but more than that, move on with hope. The only sin that is beyond the power of forgiveness is the sin of despair, i.e., suicide, because, well, you’re not around to repair and forgive. But for those of us who are here, the idea is to look forward to and contribute to a brighter future—not just to turn inward and want a better future for yourself, but to work for a brighter future for everyone. If you read about the Jesuits, it’s a fascinating history and a fascinating present. At their best, they are an extraordinary crew of highly intelligent men who practice clever global politics. Georgetown is an incubator…amazing connections. In my murder mystery, I predicted the Jesuits would force the (prior) Pope to cede power, so it had to come true. Seriously, though, this is a monumental change in thinking for people to stop using pejoratives (including: ‘bigot!’) and learn how to live with people who are caught being human. In other words all of us.”