John Boehner does not imagine himself to be "Wile Coyote, Super-Genius" the way his genuinely smart old boss Newt Gingrich did.
And he doesn't boast about being a "Hammer" like Tom DeLay, who ran the Republican majority from 1998 to 2006, did .
Nor does Boehner use habitual foul language, curse and threaten like a fake-macho bully in the now-approved Rahm Emmanuel style.
But in four years up to 1998, Bill Clinton ran rings around Newt. DeLay's policies ended up hammering the Republican House majority into a defeated wreck by 2006. And just look where Emanuel's "trough, ruthless driving force" left the Democrats
Contrast that with what the Quiet Man from Ohio pulled off earlier this month.
John Boehner's leadership of an initially demoralized and shell-shocked rump Republican minority in the 111th Congress was just plain masterly.
Under the most difficult circumstances Boehner used a combination of "aw shucks" nice guy diplomacy conciliation coupled with a demand for tough- down-the-line-party loyalty when necessary to weld that GOP rump into a unity worthy of a Macedonian phalanx or a Roman legion.
His tactical triumphs piled up and they forced Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama into a strategic catastrophe. -- By playing fair and denying the Obama-Pelosi-Emanuel -- OPE -- team the chance to push through their legislation legitimately, Boehner forced them to cheat.
The OPE team broke one parliamentary precedent after another on Capitol Hill to get their agenda passed and guess what? -- The American people didn't like it.
It is almost unprecedented in modern American history for any Minority Leader in the House of Representatives to transform the entire national political dynamic by the skill of his leadership. Newt came closest when his Contract with America ended the Democrats' 40 year lock on the House in 1994. But within two years, Bill Clinton won re-election anyway.
Now the Quiet Man from Ohio is going to go mano-a-mano with the Divine One and the stakes are far, far higher than they were in 1994 or 1996. The fiscal stability and survival of the entire American system is at stake..
John Boehner, unlike Barack Obama, didn't have his way to the top greased for him. He was one of 12 children and the first in his family to get through college. He went into business and climbed to the top of his company the old-fashioned, ridiculed way -- by hard work.
Everybody liked and respected John Boehner but no one thought he had the marks of "greatness" on him, as "Time" magazine condescendingly pointed out recently.
No Wile Coyote, Super-Genius there. You had to go the editor of the Harvard Law Review currently sitting in the White House and bringing peace and prosperity to all, for that kind of Intellectual Brilliance.
But given the choice of those two, Who Ya Gonna Call?
It's a no-brainer to me.
Martin Sieff is former Managing Editor, International Affairs of United Press International. He is the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East.”