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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In HIgh School we used to make boner jokes, now the joke is Boehner

Matt Taibbi has a way with words that makes me gasp, makes me chortle, makes my jaw drop, like at sentences like this one:
"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."

But equally amazing is his grasp and research of facts like these:

"In the Nineties, Boehner started weekly meetings with a group of lobbyists, originally known as "The Thursday Group," that helped him develop close ties to companies like Citigroup, MillerCoors, UPS, Goldman Sachs, Google and R.J. Reynolds. And what does Boehner do with these lobbyists? Well, one thing we know he does is play golf — shitloads and shitloads of golf, which he apparently likes a lot more than, well, working. "Lazy" is how one former congressional aide describes Boehner's work ethic. "Not the hardest worker," said Joe Scarborough, former congressman and current MSNBC host. Congressional sources say that Boehner likes to knock off early, and that seems to square with his record, which reveals a real passion — for the links. He once went on 180 junkets in six years, most of them golf trips, and reportedly copped to playing 100 rounds a year at a time when he was collecting a six-figure salary, paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, to serve in Congress. His political action committee spent almost $83,000 on golf events in 2009, and over the past 18 months he has run up a $67,000 tab at the Ritz-Carlton golf resort in Naples, Florida. He flew on a corporate jet 45 times between 2000 and 2007, and took at least 41 other corporate-sponsored trips in the past decade."

"Then, in the middle of the Bush years, the man who got into office thanks to Buz Lukens' child-groping was enmeshed in his own sex scandal involving minors. When the news broke in September 2006 that Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida, had been sending sexually suggestive e-mails to a 16-year-old male page, it turned out that Boehner had been sitting on the information for months. Nancy Pelosi called for an immediate investigation into the Foley scandal, but Boehner blocked the resolution. Boehner later claimed that he had told then-Speaker Dennis Hastert about the Foley incident as soon as he found out — and promptly retracted his own alibi. The ensuing scandal nearly toppled Hastert, but Boehner survived mostly unscathed."

"The Troubled Asset Relief Program — the $700 billion bailout of the absurdly irresponsible megabanks that got us into the financial crisis — is a classic example of what Boehner is all about, expressing perfectly his tenuous position vis-à-vis the hard-line anti-spending Tea Party base that thrust him into power. Boehner, who over the course of his political career has collected nearly $4 million from the finance and insurance sectors, backed TARP from the start, summoning his full rhetorical arsenal to argue for the bill."

"Of all the longtime Republican Beltway hacks who are now scrambling to find ways to throw enough sunshine on the Tea Party mob to keep their jobs, Boehner has been the most hilariously transparent. In yet another scene straight out of a screwball comedy — maybe it was an early hommage to the now-departed Leslie Nielsen — Boehner in November 2009 stood up in front of a crowd of Tea Partiers who had gathered to protest the upcoming Obamacare vote, and tried to stroke his audience by holding up a copy of the Constitution. Professing his love for the sacred document, Boehner pledged to "stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the preamble: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident.'" The crowd was silent. Boehner had confused the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence."

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