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November 7th, 2008 By | News | Posted In: 2008 Election, News

Boehner's Boner

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Our own guy from West Chester, House Minority Whip John Boehner, is criticizing the selection of Rahm Emanuel to be President-elect Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff.

Boehner says Emanuel, currently a Democratic congressman from Illinois, is the wrong choice from a president who promised to return civility to politics.

In a written statement issued Thursday, Boehner said, “This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.”

Forget the “audacity of hope.” Let’s talk about the audacity of hypocrisy.

It’s true that hard-charging Emanuel rubbed many Republicans the wrong way while he served as a top adviser to President Bill Clinton. But Boehner’s protest rings hollow.

First, this deep concern for a kinder, gentler Beltway politics is coming from the man who recently called Obama a “chickenshit” for voting “present” on several occasions while a member of the Illinois state senate. Name-calling, as anyone above the age of 13 can probably tell you, isn’t appropriate for the workplace or for developing consensus.

As the Associated Press pointed out, however, “present” votes are common in the Illinois General Assembly and are used for more than avoiding a difficult choice. Lawmakers also vote “present” when they have a conflict of interest, to register opposition to a procedural decision or to signal that they support a bill’s goal but feel the legislation is flawed.

Obama’s 129 “present” votes amounted to about 3.5 percent of the votes he cast in nearly eight years as a state senator, the AP added.

Secondly, Democrats in Congress were almost completely ignored during President Bush’s first six years in office, when Republicans ruled the House. Neither Congressional Republicans nor the Bush administration extended an olive branch or involved Democrats in substantive policy discussions during that era, much to their eventual regret and despite Bush’s campaign promises to be “a uniter, not a divider.”

What Boehner is really worried about is that Emanuel has a reputation as a tough cookie, someone who can whip his fellow Democrats into line for important votes and won’t be steam-rolled by the opposition.

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