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Mark Alexander / September 1, 2015

Blumenthal on Boehner: The Truth

Conservatives might have to agree that Boehner is a problem.

From the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails, one notable communiqué is from Sidney Blumenthal in response to the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans retook the House. Blumenthal wrote to Clinton, “[House Speaker John] Boehner is despised by the younger, more conservative members of the House. … He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle. … He is not [Newt] Gingrich, the natural leader of a ‘revolution,’ riding the crest into power. He is careworn and threadbare, banal and hollow…” The unfortunate truth is that many conservatives would have agreed with Blumenthal in 2010 and many more would agree with him today. Boehner has been and remains a colossal failure as speaker of the House, despite the huge Republican victories in both the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Though there have been significant gains in conservative House ranks, Boehner has put up a gauntlet blocking the ascension of most of those genuine conservatives to positions of power in the House.

We certainly agree with Blumenthal’s assessment about his sobriety, too. In fact, we don’t believe Boehner has been sober at a microphone for years. We’ve questioned House members close to Boehner, and they all make excuses for his slurred words and demeanor. Most suggest some variant of, “He is just exhausted.” We believe, however, that Boehner’s cadre of House confidants continue to prop him up, sober or not, because he is the House power broker and their meal ticket.

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