The Washington Post's account(1/6/11) of John Boehner's first day as Speaker of the House could have been a press release from Boehner's office. The headline was "A Modest Boehner Takes Congress's Most Powerful Office." Post readers learned that"Boehner tends to shun big moments such as these. He's more at home on the golf course with his rank-and-file buddies." He's just one of us! The Post adds:
About 500 of Boehner's constituents, including family friends from the Cincinnati area, came to see him sworn in. Many of them, as well as some D.C. lobbyists, came through his office late Wednesday morning for coffee and to pay their respects.
How did those lobbyists sneak in to say hello to this Man of the People!?
Boehner'sperhaps best known in Washington for being extraordinarilytight with corporate lobbyists. Even the recent Time cover story admitted thatDemocrats' critique of him as cozy with lobbyists is true:
Many of Boehner's closest personal and political friends really are lobbyists for banks, insurers and other corporations. Ever since he first joined the House leadership 15 years ago, he has been a leading Republican ambassador to K Street.
Maybe those are his "rank-and-file" golf buddies? Time adds:
He drinks his share of Merlot and hangs out with a crowd of influence peddlers in what's known as Boehnerland. He's a frequent flyer on corporate jets and successfully fought a ban on privately funded congressional travel in the 2007 ethics-reform bill. This election cycle alone, special interests have paid for him to take 40 trips worth $158,000. Just hours before his victory speech, he held court at his favorite Washington restaurant, Trattoria Alberto, with his 40 closest friends and advisers, the bulk of whom are corporate lobbyists.
To Democrats and many in the media, "tireless fundraiser" is just a nice way of saying "bagman for K Street." Boehner received $32,000 from clients of corrupt GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He's raked in $2.6 million from the financial sector. When he chaired the Education Committee, Sallie Mae gave him $122,500–and his daughter a job. His lavish parties–an annual beach bash, golf tournaments in four states–are practically lobbyist conventions.
But, you know, he's also "modest."