Blunt Boehner blisters Republicans in Congress

It’s time for a confession. 

I have misjudged John Boehner. Oh, I knew he might speak candidly. Or, more precisely, I knew he could be extremely blunt.

But where I was wrong was not recognizing Boehner was quite capable, and comfortable, being even more direct and more blunt than I ever dreamed possible.

The 71-year-old conservative Republican, former U.S. House speaker and member of the House for nearly a quarter century has a new book coming out April 13. He has a companion essay in the latest issue of Politico, a political magazine.

My Republican friends should not dismiss the essay or book because they think it is just another anti-Trump tome. That’s not Boehner’s message. 

Instead, Donald Trump is a result of the transformation of the Republican Party, not the cause. Boehner believes too many Republicans are more interested in getting themselves and their candidates elected than they are in legislating and governing. It wasn’t that way during his early years in politics.

My Democratic friends should not get cocky about the spotlight Boehner’s book puts on Republicans. 

The views of too many Democrats — while opposite of Republicans who are Boehner’s nemesis — bring our nation no closer to the compromise and consensus we need. Those Republicans he calls “Crazytown” can be obstructionists, but so too can Democrats who are poured from the molds of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

Boehner writes about the newly elected Republicans who took office when he became speaker: “Ronald Reagan used to say something to the effect that if I get 80 or 90 percent of what I want, that’s a win. These guys wanted 100 percent every time. In fact, I don’t think that would satisfy them, because they didn’t want legislative victories. They wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.”

Going into the 2010 midterm elections, Boehner was the minority leader of House Republicans. Voters gave Democrats what President Barack Obama called “a shellacking.” Republicans gained 63 seats in the House, moving the party into the majority and Boehner into the speaker’s chair.

Boehner did not beat around the bush in describing his party’s 2010 victory: “You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name — and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.”

He tried to explain the finer points of governing and lawmaking to the new Republican members. “A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way,” he wrote.

“Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn’t their thing,” Boehner wrote.

Although he now is seen as a wine-drinking, country-club Republican, his upbringing was similar to many people in Iowa who now dismiss him and his views. He was one of 12 children who grew up in a two-bedroom home in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his father ran a tavern. Boehner put himself through college, although it took seven years.

When he was first elected to the House in 1990, “the only people who used the internet were some geeks” in Silicon Valley, he said. Fox News went on the air in 1996 and the network slowly became a megaphone for what Boehner calls “kook conspiracy theories.”

“It was making my job trying to accomplish anything conservative that much harder,” Boehner wrote.

After Obama’s victory in 2008, Boehner says he met with Roger Ailes, Fox News’ leader. “I thought I could get him to control the crazies, and instead, I found myself talking to the president of the club,” Boehner wrote.

As he settled in as speaker after the 2010 election, the issue of Obama’s birth certificate and place of birth came to a boil, thanks to Trump’s persistent allegations. Reporters asked Boehner about the controversy.

“My answer was simple: The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me,” Boehner wrote. “It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist.

“I knew I would hear from some of the crazies,” he added, “but I was surprised at just how many there really were.”

Democrats gloating over the attention Boehner is focusing on Republicans should think about the similarities he faced as speaker with the pressures Nancy Pelosi is dealing with now as she tries to keep a rein on those liberal House Democrats.

Democrats and Republicans both could use some Maalox.

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and can be reached at

5 thoughts on “Blunt Boehner blisters Republicans in Congress

  1. John Boehner would fall into line with the rest of the Republicans and pledge total allegiance to the Trump cult if he was still in congress. He only speaks out now because he doesn’t have to submit to the corrupt cult of Trump whom all members have sold their souls to the devil.

  2. Last November was the first time I voted straight democrat. Denying science, trying to steal an election, now making it harder for poor and minorities to vote is hard to imagine. They no longer even try to hide the hate and corruption. Trump made it ok to show whom they really are and what they believe.

  3. Don’t think there were many Democrats saying masks don’t work and the corona virus is a scam, doubt there were any Democrats involved in Trumps coup attempt to overthrow the government and election…only Republicans…Trump lost election by millions of votes and killed a half a million with his failure to respond to the pandemic.

  4. nazi democrats frauded millions of votes to steal the election and outside of corona virus nazi democrats ignore science,example science says only two genders but nazis say other wise.
    alot of the half million Americans died had died from many things while infected with corona. did you see where only 3 people died from regular flu last year?8 people died from old age?,ect.,ect.,ect…..

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