John Boehner, Vine Star

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The House Speaker announced Friday morning that he’ll retire from Congress at the end of October and the political world’s reaction was something like this:

(Update: click here if you’re seeing formatting problems below)

Boehner was many things to many people: A wishy-washy moderate unwilling to stand up to liberals; a weak leader incapable of standing up to his conservative wing; the only thing standing between Congress and chaos.

But to me, John Boehner was the first truly great political exponent of the Vine. The social network allows creators to post six-second videos—forcing a concision of expression that makes Twitter look indulgently loquacious. And while most of the great Vine stars of the age of barely old enough to buy cigarettes, Boehner—a middle-aged guy from middle America—somehow was perfectly suited to it. Viz.:

Here’s Boehner on a debt-limit increase, in February 2014:

Here’s Boehner replying to a reporter earlier this year:

Here’s Boehner getting emotional during Pope Francis’s visit Thursday:

Another emotional moment with the pope yesterday:

So what will Boehner do with his retirement, and can he keep his short-form video game sharp? I’m optimistic.

Spring time = yard work time

A video posted by Speaker John Boehner (@speakerboehner) on