Boehner eyes speaker’s job

October 10, 2010


The House Minority Leader sits in his spacious Capitol Hill office contemplating an upgrade to larger digs should his party live up to expectations and win a majority of congressional seats in the midterm elections this November.

Ohio Rep. John Boehner could very well become third in line to the presidency. But when I ask him what his late parents might think of him, given the humble circumstances in which he says he was born, he displays an emotion rarely seen in a politician not confessing to scandal: He begins to tear up and reaches for a box of tissues.

“‘Why me?’ I ask God,” he says, “I’m just a regular guy with a big job.”

While resisting presumption (“we still have a long way to go”) and with a sign on his desk that reads, “It CAN be done,” Boehner still discusses things he believes are possible should Republicans regain majority status.

Asked about the most important lesson he learned from losing the Republican majority of 1994, Boehner replies, “Our team failed to live up to our own principles.”

He points to recent votes as proof “we have learned our lesson” — Republicans stood together and voted unanimously against the stimulus (twice), the Obama budget (twice), health care reform and almost all Republicans voted against Cap and Trade. Boehner suggests that unity will carry over to what he hopes will be a second chance at a GOP majority.

He promises a freeze on any new federal programs and to undo those that aren’t working, cost too much, or are outdated. “Congress hasn’t done a good quality job of oversight in a long time,” Boehner says. “I came here for a smaller, less costly and more accountable government and that has not been what’s been happening. We don’t need any more programs; we need to undo a lot of programs.”

Both parties know Social Security and Medicare are in need of drastic reform. What would a Republican majority do with these nearly bankrupt programs?

Having learned from President George W. Bush’s attempt to reform these spending monsters, Boehner maintains, “You can’t lead with your chin. (Bush) led with a solution to a problem people didn’t understand.” Instead Boehner wants “an adult conversation” to “lay the problem out. Then you can be able to talk about an array of possible solutions.” Only after people get it, he says, can you attempt “what’s doable.”

Boehner says part of the conversation will remind the public exactly how much their government is spending and in terms they can understand, instead of speaking about trillion-dollar debt.

He puts it this way: “Forty-one cents of every dollar the federal government spends we have to borrow from our kids and grandkids. So I think the test is real simple. You go through every damn program, every line item in the budget and you ask this question: ‘Is this spending so important that we’re willing to ask our kids and grandkids to pay for it?’ If it doesn’t meet that test, then why are we doing it?”

Boehner promises Republicans will restore the Hyde Amendment, restricting federal money for abortions.

He also said if angry voters want real change, they must stay engaged with their elected officials after the election. “You can’t ignore Washington. If people want to change direction, I have to have them engaged in this fight.”

Boehner believes Republicans can circumvent much of the mainstream media that is so often hostile to his party and often opposes GOP objectives. He tells me Republicans now have a “social media advantage” with a “3-2 margin in Facebook pages over the Democrats, even though they have a 49-seat majority; twice as many Twitter followers as the Democrats, yet 90 percent of the tweets come from Republicans. Nine of the top 10 political views on YouTube are from Republicans. Our members now understand you have to communicate with people and keep them involved in the fight.”

Cynics have heard promises of reform before from both parties, but with a foundation of new, young members and the possibility of reinforcements after the election, John Boehner increasingly looks like the next speaker of the House. His parents would be proud.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. tmseditors@tribune.com


Sunny Parker 7 years, 7 months ago

Wish he would run for President! He would make a good one!

Mr_B9 7 years, 7 months ago

Indeed he would and his VP should be Chris Christie from NJ.

weeslicket 7 years, 7 months ago

what a strange and disjointed editorial. it felt a lot like reading dolph simons the younger.

"The House Minority Leader sits in his spacious Capitol Hill office contemplating an upgrade to larger digs should ... John Boehner ... become third in line to the presidency...(and) ...He begins to tear up and reaches for a box of tissues."

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't measure for the drapes just yet, Bonehead.

cowboy 7 years, 7 months ago

I think vomiting is the appropriate response to this !

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 7 months ago

Pretty funny story if you ask me. Dream on Boner.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 7 months ago

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Yes Cal but how in he world can you not scold Rep. John Boehner,Sam Brownback and Jerry Moran for never alerting the USA that their party was busy destroying the economy,putting 11 million out of work thus retirement plans wrecked and no medical insurance.

Cal perhaps this should be discussed. First it was Reagan/Bush then Bush Cheney how do you explain this? Why the consistency?

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist "There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and were part of the Bush Jr. administration.

Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this was about one quarter of our national debt").

The Reagan/Bush savings and loan heist was considered the largest theft in history at the time. George Herbert Walker Bush then took $1.4 trillion of taxpayers money to cover the theft. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  1. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers Yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities." http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  2. Only 3 major Financial Institutions were at risk in spite of what we’re told ? "There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America and Citigroup, Those three were clearly in very weakened form. Many of the other big banks simply were not. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  3. Privatizing Social Security Would Place the Nations Economy at Risk "Social Security privatization will raise the size of the government's deficit to nearly $700 billion per year for the next 20 years, almost tripling the size of the national debt.

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk--it would likely put the entire economy at risk." http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = tax increases for the middleclass. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Cal have you noticed that republicans do business in a rather odd manner while waving the USA flag and wearing the bible on their sleeves?

Perhaps Cal you can explain this thinking. This in particular makes me wonder which side of the fence the repub party is on:

The S&L scandal is by no means the only incident of questionable, and actually illegal, financial activity that the Bush family has been involved in. The line of questionable, illegal, and unethical businesses practices goes back at least to Prescott Bush Sr., George Bush Sr.’s father. Prescott Bush was a Senator from 1952 – 1963. Previous to his time as a Senator Prescott was a banker and businessman. Prior to the American entry into WWII Prescott Bush was director of Union Banking Corporation. Union Banking Corporation helped to finance Hitler’s regime. The Concentration Camps of Nazi Germany were labor camps that the Nazis used to make products for their regime as well as for sale to raise money. Prescott profited directly from the Auschwitz labor camp.

In 1942, after Hitler declared war on America the United States government seized the Union Banking Corporation under the Trading with the Enemy Act as a front operation that was supporting the Nazis. Much of the profits from the operation were already pocketed by Prescott however, and $1.5 million was put in a trust fund for George Bush Sr.

For more on Prescott Bush's ties to the Nazis see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html

and this is somewhat disturbing: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm




Flap Doodle 7 years, 7 months ago

While merrill is blabbing about George Bush's grandfather, take a moment to reflect on the father of the mope currently living at 1600 Penn. Ave. BO senior abandoned his wife and infant son so he could get into a better graduate school. He was a habitual alcoholic who wound up dieing on the road in a alcoholic stupor after causing a car wreck.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 7 months ago

Guess you were wrong.

Those who recognize the evil and destructive forces that are overtaking our country are well within their rights to be hostile.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

Fox News ratings are through the roof because conservatives don't like to hear potentially alternative sides of an issue. Conservatives LIKE to be spoon fed their opinions, so they turn to Fox knowing they will get exactly what they came looking for, conservative spin. That shouldn't surprise you at all.

Oh, and Obama was elected, not anointed. Why do you hate American elections? Why Tom, why?

Scott Drummond 7 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, Beatrice, growing ratings for Faux "News" likely mean that the right wing's assault on quality public education is bearing the intended fruit.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

"Having learned from President George W. Bush’s attempt to reform these spending monsters, Boehner maintains, “You can’t lead with your chin. (Bush) led with a solution to a problem people didn’t understand.” "

... the "people didn't understand." Think about what Boehner is saying.

In other words, he is saying that the real problem Bush had was that the people didn't quite understand how his overspending was really a good thing. It was the people, not Bush, who were at fault. Got it? The people didn't understand.

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