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Sunday, December 3, 2023

John Boehner: When drunks lead Congress, disaster is the only option

Speaker John Boehner: Ordering one for the road?
Speaker John Boehner: Ordering one for the road?

Most of those who hold public office are drunk with the intoxication of power.

Republicans, we are learning more and more, are led by a Speaker of the House who is not only drunk from power but also, based on his actions and the smell that accompanies him, is blasted from the effects of too much booze.

Speaker John Boehner‘s severely affected mental state comes from his drinking and increases his inability to deal with his failures as leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and as the man that Americans blame most often for the government shutdown that is dragging his party into political oblivion.

Bob Ney, Boehner’s one time Ohio GOP colleague who went to prison for his part in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, is one of the few Republicans willing to publicly discusses Boehner’s drinking.

Ney calls Boehner “a chain-smoking, relentless wine drinker more interested in the high-life — women, cigarettes, fun and alcohol.”  The Speaker, Ney says, “golfed, drank constantly, and took the easy way legislatively.”

Ney’s criticism might be excused as the bitter ramblings of a politician caught in his own vices, but other Republicans also say publicly and privately that Boehner is a lightweight who drinks too much.

Former Florida GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, now a talk show host, says “so many Republicans tell me this is a guy that is not the hardest worker in the world.  After 5 o’clock, 6 o’cock at night, he is disengaged at best.  You can see him around town…you can see him at bars.”

Boehner is a regular at The Capitol Hill Club, a GOP club where members of Congress often get drunk in the basement bar.

“Is John Boehner a drunk?  Of course he is,” a House GOP aide says his boss grumbled to him recently. “He’s a boozer.”

When Boehner became Speaker of the House in 2011, more than a few Republicans shook their head and wondered why.  Some speculated on just how long it would be before their new Speaker got caught drunk in public.

Ney, in his book: “Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill,” wrote that Boehner broke promises to him, including one to take care of his Ohio colleague if he would resign from Congress during the Abramoff affair.

In 2006, Boehner, then House Majority Leader, called Ney to his office and said to the embattled Congressman:

If you resign the next day, I will personally guarantee you a job comparable to what you are making, and raise legal defense money for you that should bury all this Justice Department problem for you.

Ney says he took the advice and quit and Boehner walked away from him and did nothing.

Unlike Boehner, Ney admits being a drunk. In his book, Ney writes:

After a night of drinking, I concluded that it was better for my children financially if I were to die before going broke.  My problem with alcohol became an alcohol problem on steroids from 2005 to 2006, escalating into blackouts, anger, depression, extreme sadness.  You name it. I experienced it.

Ney says he took his last drink on Sept. 13, 2006.  Like many in recovery, he deals with his dependance on alcohol by being honest about himself and others around him.

As a fellow recovering alcoholic who has been sober since June 7, 1994, I can recognize what Ney is going through and also believe his stories about Boehner and the drinking problem of the Speaker of the House.

My friends and contacts on Capitol Hill from my days as a Congressional staff member (press secretary, chief of staff and committee staffer) from 1981-87 and a later stint from 1987-1992 as Vice President of Political Programs for the National Association of Realtors, tell me that Boehner’s bouts with alcohol abuse are well known around Capitol Hill and the subject of much concern.

On December 20th of last year, Boehner stood before Congress, after his Republican colleagues defeated his “Plan B” for avoiding a fiscal cliff and said: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

More than a few of the House members in the chamber know the words that Boehner spoke.  They comprise  the Serenity Prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A week later, after voting for a bill that brought even more criticism from the conservative wing of the GOP, Boehner spotted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the White House lobby, walked up and jabbed a finger at the Democratic Leader, and said “go fuck yourself!”

Republicans with Boehner said he reeked of alcohol at the time.

It’s one thing to be drunk with power.  It’s even worse to be a drunk who abuses power.

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14 thoughts on “John Boehner: When drunks lead Congress, disaster is the only option”

  1. Speaker John Boehner is nothing but a puppet controlled by the extreme right wingers and the tea party. He needs to stand up to them and do the right thing.

  2. When will you ask us to pay for your liver transplant, Mr. Boehner? May I opt out of having that withheld from my pittance of a fixed income? What business do you have with so much power in our government?

    Army Nurse Corps veteran of 1968, “boots on the ground” in Vietnam–67th Evac Hospital

  3. it’s funny that no one has commented on the correct pronunciation of his name. at least Anthony Wiener didn’t change his name, Boehner should be pronounced as BONER, witch is the correct way to say it according to the dictionary, go figure daaaa


    • Scary thought isn’t it? Re: Speaker of the House third in line….can you imagine that rummy Boehner as President? He’s a national embarrassment.

  5. This shutdown rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans not Pres. Obama. The Republicans will not stop until they have destroyed the Obama presidency just as they didn’t stop until they destroyed the Clinton presidency.
    If Pres. Obama gives in on the delay for the Affordable Care Act, one year from now the Republicans will do it again.
    This isn’t about Obamacare. This is about a party who will not accept defeat no matter what.
    When I hear news people say they have never seen such a hatred for a President by the Republicans, I can’t help but be reminded that they were saying exactly the same thing when Clinton was in office.

    This is a party that believes the other guy MUST lose in order for them to win. This is about taking the other guy down and has nothing to do with the ACA. (which, by the way, is evidenced by the fact that the drunk Boehner gave up the delay on the ACA so easily a few days ago and switched to entitlement reform)

    Anyone who thinks that everything will be resolved if Obama just sits down and talks with these guys hasn’t been paying attention.

  6. You’d think if John Boehner is this advanced concerning his alcoholism, balanced against his responsibilities as Speaker of the House and to the American people that someone next in ‘command’ could get this guy into a back room and demand he step down and seek treatment rather than having the nation wrecked as a function of a full blown, terminal alcoholic’s irresponsible leadership.

    This is an ugly story for sure. Congress is not the military, but there’s regs for all branches of the service allowing for removal of someone in command if they demonstrate major instability which grossly endangers their men or crew. It’s a dangerous path, bordering on mutiny, but in rare cases it’s necessary.

    We’re now moving into the sweephand mode to a major national crisis. Seemingly his besotted brain is numb to the grave consequences of his erratic behavior.

    So too, this President’s obstinancy concerning no negotiation is somewhat stunning. You’d think he’d at least be willing to put the ACA on hold until the bugs can be ironed out. If allegedly 2000 ‘waivers’ have been granted to date for special interests including Congress, not having to participate, then it’s a yellow to red flag alert that the ACA in it’s present form is a disaster in the making. They’re asking for a one year moratorium for such in lieu of outright defunding, but evidently Obama’s advisers are urging him not to do so along with his personal bias for supporting such bad counsel.

    This is an example of partisan politics at its worst. Both sides need to stand down and rethink where they are heading this nation. Seemingly the concept of compromise for the good of our nation is dead.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Carl wrote:

      “You’d think if John Boehner is this advanced concerning his alcoholism, balanced against his responsibilities as Speaker of the House and to the American people that someone next in ‘command’ could get this guy into a back room and demand he step down and seek treatment rather than having the nation wrecked as a function of a full blown, terminal alcoholic’s irresponsible leadership.”

      My thoughts exactly, Carl……

      I also find it telling that the American public will go absolutely berserk when one or more of our Congresspersons is caught with their fingers in (or around) the help, but yet tend to look the other way when someone in a leadership position such as this has his head so far into the bottle that they can no longer think straight.

      Alcohol is a drug, every bit as addictive (and socially destructive) as any other banned substance (such as Marijuana, Cocaine and/or Meth). Yet society seems to think that routinely having “one too many” is perfectly OK.

      It’s just nuts.

    • There is no reason for the President to give one solitary inch on the ACA, Nemo, and you know it damn well. It’s the law of the land, the RepubliKKKlan party hasn’t been able to repeal it, and have caused this entire crisis.

      Them what dealt it are the only ones who can fix it. First thing is to force Boehner to accede. Second is to vote him out of the Speakership, and appoint someone whose vices are under control.

    • Amen. I love reading all those confused democrat and republican posts where they fight each other like one party is better than the other. It’s refreshing to see more people knowing they are one and the same.

  7. Boehner’s (Boner?) quoted statement to Reid should apply to himself. I have never seen a picture of him when his eyes weren’t glassy and/or bloodshot.

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