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Friday, March 9, 2012

John Boehner on Leadership and the House

Our chapter on Congress examines the role of leadership and the character of the institution's membership. In an interview with Peggy Noonan, House Speaker John Boehner reflects on these subjects:

"People think I've got this job as a leader. They don't realize that I have about 200 responsibilities and roles. I've gotta be the big brother, the father, I gotta be the disciplinarian, the dean of students, the principal, the spouse—you can't believe all the roles that I have to play! But one of them is, you know, some problems you can nip early. I had three guys in here a few years ago, I said 'Boys, you're cruising down the wrong path.' Two of them listened, one of them didn't. He's no longer here."
"We got 435 members. It's just a slice of America, it really is. We got some of the smartest people in the country who serve here, and some of the dumbest. We got some of the best people you'd ever meet, and some of the raunchiest. We've got 'em all."
How does word reach him that a scandal may be brewing? "Oh, it gets to me a lot of ways. The press, I hear about it from friends, I hear about it from colleagues. I'm out and about, I do what I do, I hear everything. There are no secrets in this town."
In his time, has congressional misbehavior, publicly known or not, tended to go under the broadly defined category of "romance" or of "finance"? 
 A long sigh.
"Rarely is money an issue."