|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.
The Democrats have plenty of creatures like Boehner. But in the new Speaker of the House, the Republicans own the perfect archetype — the quintessential example of the kind of glad-handing, double-talking, K Street toady who has dominated the politics of both parties for decades. In sports, we talk about athletes who are the "total package," and that term comes close to describing Boehner's talent for perpetuating our corrupt and debt-addled status quo: He's a five-tool insider who can lie, cheat, steal, play golf, change his mind on command and do anything else his lobbyist buddies and campaign contributors require of him to get the job done.
...In this age of greed-enabling bailouts and rampaging Tea Parties and coast-to-coast voter rage toward the entire political process, Congress in particular now ranks as one of the single most unpopular political entities on earth. Recent polls show that only 13 percent of Americans approve of the job performance of their national legislature — which makes our elected representatives even less popular here at home than, say, Al Qaeda is in Pakistan. (Bin Laden and Co. scored an 18 percent approval rating not long ago.)
It's hard to imagine that in all of American political history there has been a more unlikely marriage than John Boehner and the pitchfork-wielding, incumbent-eating Tea Party, whose blood ostensibly boils at the thought of business as usual. Because John Boehner is business as usual, a man devoted almost exclusively to ensuring his own political survival by tending faithfully to the corrupt and clanking Beltway machinery. How? Let us count the ways.
From the very start, Boehner's career has been a heartwarming tribute to the gentle spirituality and tender human connections that surround the experience of congressional service. Here's how he got into the House in the first place: His predecessor, a white Republican named Donald "Buz" Lukens, got caught on camera talking with a black woman at a McDonald's in Columbus, Ohio, about how he had slept with her teenage daughter. It came out later that Lukens, his negotiating skills honed by years of public service, had paid 40 bucks to the girl to have sex with him in his Columbus apartment.
Convicted of "contributing to the unruliness of a minor," old Buz refused to resign his seat, and so John Boehner, a young plastics salesman (plastics!), took him on in the primary and won on a platform of restoring morals and ethics to the Congress. Boehner then joined up with a group of other freshmen congressmen, including God-humping Pennsylvanian Rick Santorum, and formed the so-called Gang of Seven. The group made names for themselves by giving sanctimonious speeches blasting Democratic congressional leaders for things like getting free haircuts at the House barbershop and free meals at the Senate restaurant. Shortly thereafter, Boehner ascended to a leadership role himself after helping co-author the "Contract With America," and it wasn't long before the man who swept into office in the shiny red underpants of an ethical crusader was creating his own peculiar ethics record.