In 1995, John Boehner, in the spirit of helping the campaign treasuries of his fellow Republicans, unashamedly handed out tobacco lobbyist checks to his on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. The House of Representatives, the peoples’ house, where Henry Clay served as speaker. Those were the great brazen days of Newt Gringrich, “The Hammer” Tom DeLay, and the Contract for America.
And so it began.
The young representative from Ohio subsequently apologized for such a distasteful act – possibly without tears in his absolution. Boehner was then a sophomore member of Congress.
And as for most sophomores in high school or college, the best was yet to come.
In recent months than has been great curiosity about those tears – which were even displayed on 60 Minutes for - excuse the expression - crying out loud. He seems to turn on the faucets on cue better than Ricky Schroder ever did.
In the hard hitting (not really) 60 Minutes interview, he was weeping about his grand hope that young Americans today might also be afforded the same opportunities he had when he was a growing up – in education and job opportunities - while seeing to it, through the legislation he supports, that they will never have those opportunities. Does he cry like a baby because he knows this hypocrisy as well as we do?
But then, in researching his history, one realizes there’s indeed a baby analogy when it comes to Boehner; not the tears, but his eager “suckling on the teat” – a phrase recently made famous by Wyoming’s dour and disagreeable ex-Senator Alan Simpson.
Boehner may seem like a big orange baby, weeping on behalf of the American public, and how much he hurts for them (so he says). But he is really a cooing – and suckling – baby of those who supposedly the “tea party” (and just about everybody else) are most furious about: lobbyist pals and tone deaf “Washington insiders”. Mr. Boehner’s picture would be in the dictionary under both entries.
Boehner’s 17 years in congress has thus far been a feast of such suckling. Of course there is Big Tobacco that apparently made him their honorary paymaster. He’s also apparently one of their best customers.
But that’s just the beginning of the spoiling rotten of Boehner Baby.
There is Sallie Mae, the big student loan lender and notorious “middle man” in that industry, coughing up hundreds of thousands of dollars to Boehner’s coffers to ensure they remain middle men (but now that role has been undermined by the new “direct lending” programs; but we’ll see how long that lasts). Then there is his most notorious baby mama, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now in prison (and perhaps making room on the next cot with Boehner’s mentor Tom DeLay). Abramoff funneled thousands of dollars to Boehner’s PAC on behalf of Native American tribal gaming; Boehner’s humbly named Freedom Project PAC received over $32,000 – more than any politician in that scandal. Another scrumptious teat was bared by “for-profit” schools (like the University of Phoenix) have taken advantage of Boehner’s cooperative position on education committees in the house, coughing up over $100,000 in 2004.
Boehner has been a very good baby in exchange for all his pampering, pushing legislation in aid of his pamperers. The spoiling with results also includes over $83,000 just in golfing related gifts. Maybe that IS a real tan!
And yet, despite all the legal bribing (called campaign donations elsewhere), and quid pro quos, despite all the turmoil of the Tea Party, beginning in 2011, this guy - whose suit wouldn’t have enough room for all the paid-for NASCAR-style patches - will become Speaker of the House of Representatives with a huge majority behind him. Talk about a loaded nursery, with a constant flow of toy deliveries and mothers’ milk.
So one can assume that while there is enough milk filled breasts flying around Washington, DC, Boehner Baby will keep right on crying.
Or perhaps Boehner will stop the tears now, unless all along they have been tears of guilt. Boy, in that case, watch the floodgates open now.
And legions of Americans will join in the crying.