(Politico) – John Boehner and Barack Obama’s relationship reached new heights Friday.
The Republican House Speaker took his first trip with the president on Air Force One as the two headed to Charleston, South Carolina, to mourn the nine African-American men and women killed at their church last week.
Obama has never been known as much of a schmoozer, but in recent months he has treated fellow lawmakers from both parties to trips aboard Air Force One with him as a way of currying favor and engaging in discussions with a captive audience.
A White House official told POLITICO in February that since the Democratic losses in the 2014 midterm elections, the president himself has used the plane to facilitate tête-à-têtes with various legislators. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) among others, all flew with the president on his Boeing 747 in early 2015.
The change in Air Force One hangouts following the midterms provided a marked contrast to the middle of the Obama presidency; from September 2011 until February 2013 not a single Republican lawmaker joined the commander in chief aboard the plane, despite a litany of possible trips.
The president flew to Charleston Friday with a large group of lawmakers, including not only Boehner, but also Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.).
Boehner carried with him an envelope containing a first-flight certificate, given to passengers when they make their first trip with a president aboard his plane.
Mark Levin: Boehner’s Retaliation Against Conservatives Means War, Time to Take Him Down
It’s time for conservatives to take out House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and all of his comrades in primaries, nationally syndicated radio host, New York Times bestselling author, and conservative movement thought leader Mark Levin argues in an exclusive comment to Breitbart News.
Levin’s comments come after Boehner’s retaliation against conservatives hit a new low this weekend, with a report from Politico about how House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)—playing along with Boehner’s scheme to attack Republicans for voting their conscience—removed Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) as the chairman of a subcommittee on his full committee. Levin even compared Boehner to 20th century Communist Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and how he cleansed his government of all dissent.
“Speaker Boehner’s and Congressman Chaffetz’s removal of Meadows is the latest in a series of ideologically-driven attacks on conservatives. Boehner seems to think he’s Stalin cleaning out all opposition in the Kremlin,” Levin said. “No Republican Speaker in recent times has behaved with less integrity in his wielding of power.”
Levin said that Boehner, House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)—and more—each need to be removed by Republicans across the country in primaries in 2016. He says this is because the leadership has failed to learn the proper lessons from the astronomical defeat of now former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 in a primary against now Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), the first time in U.S. history a sitting House Majority Leader was defeated in a primary. The position of majority leader was created in the late 1800s, so that means this never happened for more than a century—and Levin is calling out GOP leadership for failing to learn from the unprecedented event.
“Obviously, the lessons of Eric Cantor’s humiliating loss have not resonated with Boehner, McCarthy, and Scalise,” Levin said. “The only solution is for Conservatives to husband their resources and target these three in the coming Republican primaries. Conservatives need to find serious candidates and raise funds nationwide to defeat them. Let them fight for their political careers as our response to their disgusting and pathetic behavior.”
For primaries, Boehner already has an opponent declared—J.D. Winteregg. Winteregg ran against Boehner last cycle and didn’t win, but he is getting even more aggressive this time around.
With regard to Scalise, living inside his district is conservative 2014 U.S. Senate candidate retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness—who got 202,000 votes statewide when he ran for Senate, but that wasn’t enough to beat then Rep. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to get into a runoff with then Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Cassidy defeated Landrieu with Maness’s help in the runoff. Maness is currently vying for Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to appoint him into his Senate seat when, as it is presumed he will, Vitter wins the governor’s mansion in an election later this year. If Vitter doesn’t put Maness in the seat—at this time Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) is also vying for the seat—then Maness may run against Scalise in a primary.
As for McCarthy, it’s unclear who in a liberal California district might step up to run against him. But his district is considered heavily Republican even in California and is rated R+16 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, which means there’s probably a good chance conservatives could find a viable alternative to him there.
Even those inside the beltway in Washington, like their favorite publication Politico, recognize how abnormal it is for Boehner and his comrades to engage in these kinds of extreme tactics against his own members, while helping Democrats.
Politico’s Jake Sherman and Lauren French called this attack against Meadows—the latest in what they call a “House Republican crackdown” by Boehner and his allies—a “new level of severity.”
“Losing a subcommittee chairmanship midway through a congressional session is among the most serious punishments thus far in Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s (R-Ohio) majority,” French and Sherman wrote. “Boehner and his leadership team have grown frustrated with Republicans who vote against the procedural ‘rule’ motion. Those votes — which allow the Republican leadership to bring a bill up for debate and a vote — typically fall along party lines. But a group of conservatives has voted against the measures, mostly in protest of Boehner’s leadership.”
Meadows is getting targeted like this because he was one of 34 courageous conservatives who voted against a rule that leadership used to try to bring Obamatrade to the floor of the House last week. After their effort nearly succeeded, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her Democrats joined in on the final bill to kill Obamatrade—only to have it brought back to life by Boehner’s team later—when the House voted on the bill.
“Republican leadership sees the move as unacceptable —akin to ceding power to Democrats,” Sherman and French wrote about efforts to organize votes against rules. They went on:
On June 11, 34 Republicans voted against the rule that allowed for consideration of President Barack Obama’s request for fast-track authority to negotiate the largest trade deal in history. Conservatives said Boehner and GOP leaders were working too closely with Democrats, and ignoring Republicans. Boehner said he has worked closely with conservatives. In a closed meeting this week, the speaker told rank-and-file Republicans that he was angry that conservatives were voting against the motions. The GOP leadership has told lawmakers that there will be ramifications for voting against such resolutions.
Leadership previously attacked several other House members, removing Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) from their positions on the Whip Team. Word on the street is, too, that Boehner and his allies aren’t done yet: sources familiar with the House Republican leadership whip effort tell Breitbart News that in the run-up to the Obamatrade vote, leadership was offering wavering members subcommittee chairmanships–specifically ones currently occupied by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). If leadership continues their tirade against members who vote their conscience, it’s likely this situation will only get uglier.