How many times a day since former reality TV star Donald Trump took the lead in the 2016 Republican presidential race do you think House Speaker Paul Ryan closes his eyes, presses his index fingers against his temples, and sighs heavily? Like, on average?
Five? Ten? It couldn’t be more than twenty times every single day, could it?
On one hand, Ryan looks at the polls, sees Trump at a considerable deficit against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and feels an obligation to gently talk Trump back from using racially and religiously inflammatory rhetoric on a regular basis. Without even slightest effort by the Trump campaign to create its own get-out-the-vote effort, election day this November could be ugly for all Republicans—especially when recent moves by Trump make it seems like the candidate is more interested in launching his own branded conservative media empire post-electoral defeat than ensuring the Republican party doesn’t get trounced at the polls.
At the same time, if Ryan were to openly denounce Trump as unacceptable and encourage conservatives not to vote for the GOP nominee, a down-ballot slaughter would be inevitable. It’s an unenviable position made even worse rumors of a looming coup against Ryan by caucus members who disapprove of his performance in a job Ryan didn’t even really want in the first place.
Which brings us back to the man who previously had Ryan’s job, former House Speaker John Boehner. The Ohio congressman retired last year after a life-changing visit from Pope Francisco an insurrection from fellow House Republicans. Since then, he has largely focused on being chill af and helping other soon-to-be retired politicians do the same.
Wow, the vibes one gets from watching that video are infinitely chiller than any of the items listed in this story from Talking Points Memo listing “5 Points On The Nightmare Paul Ryan Faces Even If The GOP Keeps The House.”
The video doesn’t show if Boehner occasionally sips a nice cup of hot tea while driving, but it seems pretty likely.
In a speech shortly after stepping down from office, Boehner talked about navigating the transition out of a weird bubble that, honestly, seems pretty disorienting to actually experience. “I haven’t lived anywhere in 20 years except in hotel rooms,” Boehner said during a talk he gave to the Forum Club of Southwest Florida. “You spend 200 nights a year traveling around the country, I don’t know, where do you live? I haven’t driven a car for nine years. I did a couple of weeks ago. I have a valid driver’s license. I was very careful. But, you know, I need a car. So do I get a car in Ohio? Do I get a car here? Do I get a car in D.C.? I don’t know. Much less try to figure out what I’m actually going to do.”
Looks like he’s figured it out, to be honest.
Just watch that video again and absorb it’s chillness—this time in tweet form.
Let its chillness wash over you like the wave election of 1994 that swept the Republicans into the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in generations.
Keep on living your best life, John Boehner. And remember, members of Congress: With the imposition of term limits, all of this chillness could be yours.
Contact the author: Aaron Sankin, [email protected]