Why Men Great Till They Gotta Be Great

Newly released excerpts of John Boehner's book are a good reminder of the men who ran away from Trump and not reward them with book sales or goodwill.

Good morning! I hope everyone has had a great week or, at the very least, made it through the week without any major catastrophes considering we are still in a pandemic. I thought I would take this opportunity to post something a little shorter and a little lighter to lift your spirits, give you that extra push to get you to the weekend, and give you some good luck when you’re trying to get your vaccine appointment.

Today, we will be discussing the important concept of “greatness” in light of the last four years and how we suddenly realized that we had raised so many male leaders up— entrusting them to protect our country — only to watch them turn into scared little boys before our eyes. This concept can be best summed up by a beautiful refrain in a Lizzo song: Why men great till they gotta be great.

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I was reminded of this straightforward concept that we saw played out over and over under Trump when I began reading a pre-released excerpt from John Boehner’s new book that will no doubt be peddled as a “tell-all” to sell more copies. I am curious about what he has finally decided to reveal, but I refuse to reward someone who cut and run so early on in the Trump nightmare, which means I will only read free copies.

I’m not going to republish any of it — it’s not terribly well written, and Boehner openly frets in his own writing about dropping one f-bomb even though he is quoting Trump’s actual phrasing. John Boehner uses two pages to describe golfing with Trump and learning two shocking things: Trump apparently has a golf game that can back up his incessant bragging, and he threw a fit on the course and yelled at a staffer in a way Boehner had never seen and that he called “dark.”

I’m assuming that is one of the more salacious passages as the publisher is using it for promotion, but all it tells me is how truly pathetic and weak John Boehner is as a leader and person. My takeaway is that Boehner played one game of golf with Trump, realized that he had under-estimated Donald Trump, and then got some premonition about what things would be like with such a volatile temperament that he couldn’t easily read. All it took for Boehner to run for the hills — where he no doubt had a second vacation home and plant himself firmly in a winged-back leather chair with a permanent Scotch on the rocks in his hand — was one game of golf with Trump.

We watched one Republican after another cower at Trump’s bluster instead of properly reading it as a metaphor for his own hairstyle: very elaborate posturing to cover up frailty. We watched them tip-toe around Washington as Trump started to rip at the fabric of our democracy, and they kept their mouths shut when he started to personally enrich himself and his family while trampling on Civil Rights. Many of them weren’t even emboldened by their decision to flee when America needed them most — they just quietly stumbled off into the sunset (that was getting undeniably stronger due to the effects of global warming that Trump was not only failing to combat but actually facilitating).

The song Truth Hurts by Lizzo could not have come at a better time, when the only person who properly warned us about Trump back in the day was Hillary Clinton, and she was mocked incessantly for being completely accurate. One by one, we watched women step into their power and walk directly into combat with Donald Trump, willing to lose their jobs and reputations. Women like Clinton, Pelosi, Warren, AOC, Fiona Hill, and so many others stepped up to point out that the emperor had no clothes, and they did this so seamlessly because women do not get to this level without mastering the skill of dealing with alpha-frauds and their overly dramatic antics meant to disguise weakness.

Lizzo’s style may not be for you, but the key sentiment that got many of us to 2021 needs to continue to be recognized as conservative men (and some not so conservative men) try to sell their image as anything but cowardly. We see you, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Niel Gorsuch, Jeff Flake, and Brett Kavanaugh.

Every time another metaphorical Boehner tries to put out another book or make money from the very public they refused to rescue during the emergency that was Trump, we need to shut it down. If you want to lead in America, you need to be prepared to woman up and rise to any challenge, and retiring to your vacation home with a book advance should not be an option.

You can listen to Lizzo’s song Truth Hurts here, as many times as you need, to get you to Friday:


Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC Radio. She can be reached at avanderpool@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at @mamasreallyrule. 

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