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John Boehner: Weeper of the House

3 years ago
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Ohio Congressman and House Speaker-elect John Boehner is our town crier. Not a cry-baby crier, but an 'It might be politically expedient to show my softer side' kind of crier.

He cries when he talks about his childhood, his family, Iraq war veterans, schoolchildren, and how he's pulled himself up by his bootstraps to achieve his version of the American dream. He cried when he became the most powerful Republican in America and, most recently, he choked up when he was interviewed on "60 Minutes."

So when did weepiness become the new power tool on Capitol Hill?

Gone are the days when a man crying in public was seen as weak. If former U.S. Senator and 1972 presidential candidate Edmund Muskie were alive today, his few purported tears over attacks on his wife's character wouldn't register a blip on our collective emotional psyche. In our Oprah Winfrey "it's good to be in touch with your feelings" world, it might actually have helped propel him into the White House.

Uber-conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View" believes we should admire a leader who can be as open about his emotions as Congressman Boehner. That might be true, but would we be as admiring of a woman who said on national television that she had stopped visiting schools because being around kids made her weep? (And let's also note that Hasselbeck's "View" colleague Barbara Walters believes Boehner "has an emotional problem.")

If Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cried a fraction as much as incoming Speaker Boehner, it's safe to say that she would have been subject to endless attacks about her professional competence and personal stability a la former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder in the 1980s. It might be 2010, but sexist double standards are alive and well, especially in the world of politics. Pelosi clearly knows that, as she announced to the world that, for her, there is no crying if something is just political.

Boehner, who has also been dubbed "the Dean Martin of politics," has made it clear on numerous occasions that he's not afraid that showing his emotional side will detract from his persona as a fearless, hard-charging conservative leader. But in recent weeks, the Boehner Water Works Company has belied his Don Draper-like coolness, leading some to ask if Boehner's continual weepiness will guarantee that he keeps the honorary title of chair of The Crying Caucus?

There's nothing wrong with crying. The stress of the presidential campaign trail made Hillary Clinton tear up in 2008. I certainly do more than my fair share of crying at elementary school productions featuring my daughter, watching any chick flick with Meg Ryan, or listening to holiday songs this time of year. And we've been used to seeing elected officials show their sensitive sides at least since former President Bill Clinton felt our pain. But when a politician -- man or woman -- cries as much as Boehner does these days, it's fair to ask whether something else is up and should we be concerned about how that impacts leadership decisions.

Knowing the kind of political animal that Boehner is, I wouldn't put it past him to have become a master of using a few tears or sniffles to convince the American people that he's just a regular guy, trying to help out all those other regular guys in America. Just please don't let John Boehner see this list of music that makes men cry; if he adds these to his iPod play list, we'll never get him to stop.

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193 Comments

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dangregory1953

Emotions are subjective. Mr. Boehner does have a few to many tears for this traditionalist, however, I fault him not. I cry when I see where we have gone in the last twenty plus months. I served for our country for twenty one years and this is what I fought for? Bailouts, Obama Care, Start Treaty, and on and on. Man, I cry like an angry baby. I then realize we get what we vote for and now I see we are cleaning House. After this past Senate vote we will be cleaning the Senate also. I am sure after reality hits Mr. Boehner he will have had the time to get to serious work or repealing Obama Care , eliminating ear marks and budget issues. If he does not he also can count on being sent home and he can cry there.
WAKE UP AMERICA. WE ARE LOSING OUR COUNTRY FROM WITHIN. THIS INCLUDES THIS ARTICLE, HOW SISSY IT IS WE HAVE BIGGER ISSUES. Let me go find my tissue.

December 16 2010 at 3:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bob Gardner

The mentally toughest and physically strongest people I know are the mixed martial artists of the UFC. They are mentally fine tuned to be at their best because quick thinking and intelligence are mandantory to be at the top of their art. Strong minds and strong bodies. They cry frequently as they are overcome by emotions after a win. They talk about their families and friends and cry. Some of them cry more than the new Republican leader. It's healthy and it's natural. A man who is too embarrassed to cry or can't or refuses to show emotions has issues.

December 15 2010 at 11:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ROGER

Joanne watches Ed Schultz and repeats what he says. Does she get paid for this??
Anybody watch the Ed show yesterday. If you did you know what I mean. Progressives like to comment on tans, grammer slip ups, personel things, photos that aren't the most flattering, (yes they are real shutter bugs) just check out "Big Eddie", Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and any of the other progressives. I'm not a Rush fan, but if I see Keith Olbermann do the bouncy bouncy photo one more time when Limbaugh was much heavier I guess I'll lose another tv screen. I guess they don't have any current photos. And a little emotion is ok with me. I'm a tough old bird but I can get a little misty when I see someone suffering, especially a child. Even when I see a little puppy mistreated. But a "progressive",,,,not so much.

December 15 2010 at 3:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
lndreeder9

I am not going to make a personal attack against Mr. Boehner. There is enough out there already yet I cringe at politicians today. I am sorry for this feeling. I wish I could honestly say I vote because the candidates are worth it, but I can not. When I see our education slipping still, health care will never be accepted unless, housing, still poor in our country, then I know something still is amiss. When I see China wanted a special agreement for trade yet one can buy straight from there while there are no jobs here, and yet China refuses to discuss anything, we have problems. Sorry

December 15 2010 at 3:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Gordon

I don't care if he cries , I don't care what color he is, I don't care if he's good looking , I don't care if he likes men , I don't care if he's short, I don't care if he drives a big or small car, I don't care if he has 10 kids or none, I don't care if he picks his nose and eats it - ALL I GIVE A CRAP ABOUT IS IF HE CAN GET THE JOB DONE AND DO THE RIGHT THING FOR AMERICA - IF HE CAN DO THAT HE CAN CRY ME A RIVER.

December 15 2010 at 1:00 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
Sherion

Since when is it such a crime to love your country and all it stands for so passionatly that is makes you tear up. A LOT of men and women have died so that we might enjoy the "American Dream". Have we become so "Liberated" that we can only make fun of those that are still passionate about keeping that dream alive if for know other reason, than to show respect to those heros that gave their life for us!!!!!Wake up and smell the coffee!!!

December 15 2010 at 10:07 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
jamesandelaine01

Joanne, I don't know your political background(it really doesn't matter), but your comments seem rather shallow. I have seen John Boehner several times on TV and have never seen him cry. It tells me that he has convictions and feelings that run deep for this country. I am a senior born in this country American, and want to leave this country in the best shape possible for my grandchildren and future generations. We way we are headed now, our future generations will have to live in a bankrupt 3rd world country , with a much lower standard of living than we have now.
I have not heard Barbara Walters in a while. I can't remember her saying anything that really impressed me. As for Nancy Pelosi, I would be shocked to see her express anything. She seems shallow too, with no convictions except to promote her political agenda.

December 15 2010 at 10:01 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
doray706

I will be praying for Mr. Boehner AND our government as a whole. The ony way this country is going to survive is to turn back to the GOD that made this country great in the first place. I, like Mr Boenher want to cry when I see what our dept. of education has done to our children. I just hope and pray that MR. Boehner has enough support in congress to really make the positive changes that are sorely needed. TEARS or no TEARS. We are all human or should be. Even Jesus wept.

December 15 2010 at 9:58 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
kdocjjk123

Boehner demosntrated his humanity to others when he worked so hard to help Dennis Hastert protect the pedophile Republican Congressman from Fla who was soliciting male pages. Boehner has no concern for the "general welfare".

December 15 2010 at 9:53 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
sp4dps

He wants the American dream for all the children of the United States but he really does not want to help them. He is using his crying as a ploy to keep his rich friends richer and keep the middle class paying for the former administrations
spending of 10 billion dollars a month for the war they created. Why didn't he
start shedding his tears and ask questions when the old president was borrowing from all the China, South Korea, Vietnam and shall I go on. It is a sad day when
the richest people in the United States can't seem to give a little bit more of themselves and pay the same taxes we pay as middle class. He said he was a janitor why does he not want to help other janitors who have maybe lost their jobs. He is the king of double talkers. When I help other people it makes me feel good, not that I want to be praised but I feel good inside when I'm helping out other Americans. I believe most of the rich people in our country worked very hard to make their money, and being blessed to be a middle class person and working hard for my money, why can't we all pay the same taxes. I have no where to hid my money it's all in black and white why can't rich people do the same!!!!!!!!! Like Mr.Boehner and his rich friends. He talked the talk to get elected and now he is forgetting the little vote that got him elected he is only remembering the rich who
help fund him.

December 15 2010 at 9:53 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

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