John Boehner, the
much-publicized next Speaker of the House from just up the road in West
Chester, was on 60 Minutes last night. Leslie Stahl interviewed the noticeably
less colorful House Rep. — he still insists he’s never set foot inside a
tanning salon nor used any sort of tanning product — from his father’s bar in
Reading, where Boehner says he used to mop the floor, among other tasks.
It wasn’t long before the waterworks started, apparently triggered when Stahl asked him why he gets so emotional when he talks about certain things. He cried again a few minutes later when Stahl asked Boehner’s wife if she ever thought she’d be married to the Speaker of the House.
Look, I’m all for men (or anyone else) being able to cry when the moment strikes. But crying when asked about crying? C’mon, dude.
We’ve clearly come a long way since the days of Edmund Muskie, the 1972 presidential candidate whose tear-laden defense of his wife — who had been disparaged by a newspaper as a drunk who used foul language during the campaign — effectively ended all hopes he had of winning the Democratic nomination.
Crying aside, Boehner revealed that he grew up a working-class Kennedy Democrat but changed party affiliation when, after buying a small business and earning millions in plastics, he was shocked by how much money he had to pay in taxes. Boehner became a Reagan Republican almost overnight, and 25 years later he’s about to be one of the most powerful politicians on the planet.
The irony is that many of the economic policies he and his party now champion have made it tougher than ever for a middle-class kid to transcend his or her circumstances and achieve the “American Dream,” as Boehner often calls his unlikely rise to the top.
Now that’s worth crying over.