Drunk John Boehner Unloads on Freedom Caucus and Paul Ryan

By Matthew Boyle, 10-30-17, at Breitbart:

Get comfortable folks, because this is a really long piece, but worth the time to read it.

A drunken ex-House Speaker John Boehner unloaded on House conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus and let slip private conversations with former President George W. Bush about his successor, Paul Ryan’s, ineffectiveness as Speaker of the House in a lengthy Politico profile published on Sunday.

Boehner, over the course of multiple interviews with Politico’s Tim Alberta, allegedly got drunk for one interview — and told the magazine writer about a private text message exchange he had with Bush about Ryan.

In the profile that spanned thousands of words, Alberta noted that Boehner generally lived by the words “Nothing good happens after 10 p.m.” Alberta had been spending time with Boehner in his old congressional district in Ohio at a golf tournament, raising money for a local Boys & Girls Club chapter, and one night, Boehner stood by his rule of going to bed early.

“In a capital city where booze flows freely and parties run late and lawmakers live away from spouses, he decided long ago it would behoove him to be in bed by 10 o’clock,” Alberta wrote:

This also allowed him to rise early, take his long walk for coffee, wolf down some eggs at his favorite greasy spoon and read the newspapers before work. Retirement has meant adjustments—Boehner makes his own breakfast and spends his days dialing into conference calls, giving paid speeches or doing housework—but one constant remains: asleep by 10. On my first night in Ohio, just as the conversations were getting loose and the cocktails were getting stiff, Boehner informed the patio crowd he was turning in. It was 9:45.

The next night, however, Boehner stayed up long past 10 p.m. — and drunkenly opened up to Alberta about private conversations with Bush, the former president, about Ryan, his successor as speaker.

“After the golf outing, and a reception in the clubhouse, Boehner hopped in his customized golf cart—a retirement gift from his congressional colleagues—and zipped across three moonlit fairways and into his driveway,” Alberta wrote. “I figured it was time to say goodnight. But Boehner invited me in for a nightcap. What followed, over bottomless glasses of wine, can only be described as Boehner unshackled.”

Over the objections of his wife, Debbie, who at times tried to block Alberta’s recorder with a pillow, Boehner told Alberta a lot of information he probably should not have, including that Bush had reservations about Ryan’s ability to effectively lead as speaker of the House.

Here is Alberta writing about what happened next, intermixed with quotes from Boehner, his wife, and one of Boehner’s friends:

On several occasions, Debbie warned him to stop telling me things; when he ignored her, she would put a couch cushion over my recording device. The highlight was Boehner telling me a story about George W. Bush—and prefacing it by saying, “I shouldn’t tell you this.” Debbie, opening a bottle of red in the kitchen, barked: “Then don’t!”

Boehner leans back in his favorite recliner, retrieving a glowing cigarette from its ashtray. “So I get a text from 43 about a month ago, maybe six weeks ago.” Boehner’s close friend Ed, who joined our nightcap, interjects: “Off the record?” Boehner waves him off: “It doesn’t matter.” He lets out a thick cough, smoke escaping his mouth, and continues. “So 43 says, ‘Hey, are you talking to Ryan? Are you giving him advice?’ I said, ‘Yeah, if he calls I give him advice.’” Boehner takes a long, satisfied drag. “And he texts me back: ‘He needs to call you more.’”

Boehner erupts into a long, uncontrollable cough-laugh. It is 10:40 p.m.

The remarkable piece from Alberta details how Boehner has concern for “the well-being of his successor.”

“Ryan never wanted the job; it took Boehner more than a year to convince him, and there were drastic measures involved,” Alberta wrote:

When McCarthy abruptly decided he would not run for speaker, everyone knew Ryan was the only unifying choice. And Boehner knew which buttons to push: The speaker called Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking him to pressure Ryan. Dolan obliged, phoning the congressman and piling on more of the “Catholic guilt” Boehner had employed. It worked, of course. But it’s clear Boehner feels a little guilt himself. Ryan now holds the thankless job he was desperate to escape, and finds himself buffeted by the same internal forces.

The piece, for which Alberta also interviewed both Ryan and fellow former House Speaker and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, foreshadows looming peril for Ryan’s grip on the job that puts him third in the presidential line of succession. Ryan even confirmed in his own interviews with Alberta that he is not happy as speaker.

Alberta wrote:

Even before Trump was elected, Boehner was back in the Capitol one day and visited the speaker’s office. Ryan, he says, looked at him wearily: “This job is a lot harder than I thought.” When I ask Ryan about this, he confirms the story and laughs. “And I wanted to say, ‘You ass, you stuck me with this sh—’” He stops himself. But it’s been a tough day, and the speaker needs to vent. “Just getting people to agree on how to do things that are in their own interest is hard to do. Getting people to agree, getting to consensus, on things that are basic and axiomatic, is really hard to do,” Ryan tells me. “You need more of a degree in psychology than you need in economics.” (Ryan has, however, found comfort in torturing Boehner: The speaker inherited his predecessor’s security detail, and whereas Boehner demanded they be freshly shaven every day, Ryan let them grow unruly beards—pictures of which are often texted to their former boss, code name “Tan Man.”)

Throughout the piece, Alberta captures Boehner’s disdain for conservatives — particularly the Freedom Caucus. Boehner has a special hatred for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the founding chairman of the Freedom Caucus, but also attacks current chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) — whose actions in 2015 paved the way for Boehner’s demise.

Boehner, when it was noted that Jordan and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) may seek the chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee when now-former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced he was leaving, praised Gowdy as his “guy” and said, “F**k Jordan.” He also called Jordan a “legislative terrorist.”

Alberta wrote:

Breaking the ice, I mention some news of the day—that Trey Gowdy appears likely to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The previous chairman, Jason Chaffetz, had abruptly announced his resignation from Congress; House conservatives had hoped that Jim Jordan, a senior member on the committee, might pursue the chairmanship. Boehner grins. “Gowdy—that’s my guy, even though he doesn’t know how to dress,” he says. Then Boehner leans back in his chair. “F**k Jordan. F**k Chaffetz. They’re both a**holes.”

And away we go.

Boehner’s beef with Chaffetz, who would later join Fox News as a paid contributor, is not personal—just that he’s a “total phony” who possessed legislative talent but focused mostly on self-promotion. “With Chaffetz,” Boehner says, “it’s always about Chaffetz.”

His problems with Jordan, the founding chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, run much deeper. To Boehner and his allies, Jordan was the antagonist in the story of his speakership—an embodiment of the brinkmanship and betrayal that roiled the House Republican majority and made Boehner’s life miserable. Although he would tell me in later conversations that he holds no grudges against anyone, today Boehner unloads on his fellow Ohioan. “Jordan was a terrorist as a legislator going back to his days in the Ohio House and Senate,” Boehner says. “A terrorist. A legislative terrorist.”

The piece walks through a deep history of hatred Boehner has for Jordan, given Jordan’s leading role in pushing members of the House GOP conference to back conservative legislation when Boehner did not want to, and then it gets to his hatred for Meadows.

Jordan, in his own interview with Politico, fired back mocking the ex-speaker — and fired a warning shot at the current speaker, Ryan, who is quickly losing GOP support in much the same way as Boehner.

“Oh, my goodness,” Jordan said. “I feel sorry for the guy if he’s that bitter about a guy coming here and doing what he told the voters he was gonna do. Wow. I feel bad for him.” He added, “But in the end, we were not doing what the voters elected us to do and what we told them we were going to do. We just weren’t. And I would argue the same thing is happening now.”

The hatred Boehner holds for Meadows seems to be less significant than what he holds for Jordan. After explaining that Meadows put forward a measure that eventually forced Boehner to resign, Alberta notes that Boehner still hates Meadows: “Boehner is still angry with Meadows, who canceled an interview for this article, for putting him in that position: ‘He’s an idiot. I can’t tell you what makes him tick.’”

But even though Boehner is angry with Meadows and Jordan, this piece — years later — seems to confirm one of the underlying reasons Meadows first went forward with the motion to vacate the chair that eventually forced Boehner to resign: Boehner was secretly working with Democrats, led by Pelosi, to keep his grip on power. In fact, Alberta uncovered time-stamped documents that prove—by Boehner’s team’s own admission—that Pelosi would have given him Democrat votes to keep the speakership had it come down to another vote before Boehner resigned in disgrace to avoid embarrassment.

Alberta obtained the document titled “Save the Institution” and time-stamped September 16, 2015—just a few days before Boehner eventually cracked—and in it was a detailed plan from Boehner’s chief of staff Mike Sommers’ outlining the secret deal with Pelosi.

Sommers, in the memo, explained to Boehner—per Alberta—“that his survival would be ensured if Pelosi had Democratic members vote ‘present’ when the motion came up. If they did, Boehner could win with a simple majority of Republican votes cast—which was never in doubt, as the number of GOP defectors was between 20 and 40.”

Pelosi, in a meeting with Boehner, agreed to the terms. “In a subsequent meeting, Boehner broached the idea with Pelosi and she agreed,” Alberta wrote.

Pelosi confirmed the secret Boehner deal in an interview with Alberta. “You can’t have 30 people in your caucus decide they’re going to vacate the chair,” Pelosi said. “He knew I had—not his back, but the institution’s back.”

Boehner, per Alberta, looks back on it and does not think it was the right thing to do.

“It would be awful for the institution,” Boehner said. “We hadn’t gone through this in 100 years. All these Republicans were going to get crap at home for supporting me, only to have me leave soon after that.”

Another theme of this remarkable Boehner profile is that it captures the story of someone who came to Congress by running against the establishment and fighting against the grain—Boehner was not always part of the institution—only to become one of the establishment’s biggest defenders.

“He came to Congress wanting to burn it to the ground,” Sommers, Boehner’s former chief of staff, told Alberta. “And by the time he left, he was the ultimate institutionalist.”


By the time he left, Boehner was a died-in-the-wool establishment Republican that would rather bend to O’s will than work with the conservatives who wanted to do what they promised their constituents. Like his friend Nancy, it was more important to him to take care of the ‘institution’ than create conservative legislation this country needed. He was key in putting Paul Ryan in that speaker seat, a tidbit I did not know, but it figures since we’ve watched Ryan become a near carbon copy of him.

It’s clear Boehner detests all the Caucus members and thinks them terrorists, when they’re really the ones trying to get our government back on the right foot, and that is smaller government, less spending and a better military.

Ryan’s thinking is all wrong – those other people aren’t there to do what’s best for their own interests, they’re in DC to do what’s best for the people who elected them. His job is not to corral those people into agreement with him; instead he should be working together with them to craft bills the people actually want.

But then he had a perfect example, didn’t he?




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9 replies

  1. I’ve disliked Boehner for a long time and this article just reinforced that I was right to dislike him – the man is scum. A drunk with no moral code or allegiance to anything or anybody but himself. A stereotypical politician. It seems like we have more than our fair share of them in D.C., I think that all we want are a few good men (and women) – a few MORE than their opponents so things can get done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting article, Kathy. Read it to the end. Boehner is a real stinker. Working WITH Democrats and against his own party in the House. There’s a better word than stinker.

    What di you think of Boehner calling Gowdy ‘his guy’?
    And, I really like Jordan!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Boehner is a word worse than stinker, and his approval of Gowdy while disliking Jordan, Chaffetz, etc seems contradictory to me. They’re all good conservatives, unlike Boehner, but maybe there’s more to Gowdy that we don’t know about. The results from his investigations have been very disappointing.

      If Boehner doesn’t like them, they should take that to mean they’re doing a good job.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That was worth the read, Kathy.

    Boehner has some nerve to complain that Jason Chaffetz was a self-promoter. What’s self-promoting is when a person is elected to lead a CONSERVATIVE Republican agenda in congress and he compromises it to death so that HE can be hailed as someone who “gets something done.” What an ignoble prize that is getting to be. For whatever reason, the ability to claim that you passed legislation – no matter how terrible or anti-conservative it is – has become the supposed hallmark of successful “leadership” in congress. We saw it in Boehner and now we’re seeing it in Ryan and McConnell. Power changes people, especially when they succumb to the weakness of wanting to be liked at the expense of standing for what’s right.

    To me the fact that Boehner is so bitterly disdainful of the Freedom Caucus guys is the real window into his soul. It became about ego for Boehner, and these guys helped deprive him of his coveted role as the passer-of-[any kind of stupid]-legislation. Pay close attention, though, because we’ve got a POTUS who’s cut from the same cloth. Trump turned on the Freedom Caucus when they were the only ones standing firm for a conservative bill on repeal/repeal & replace of Obamacare. He too, has threatened to work with Democrats to get legislation – ANY legislation – across the finish line. Ego is Trump’s Achilles’s heel just as it was Boehner’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditto your assessment of Trump. He’s desperate to get bills passed and make good on his promises, so he’ll deal with whoever is willing to work with him, even the Dems. That was supposed to shock the Rs into action but it didn’t work. He’s failing to see that the Caucus guys are the closest thing he’s got to support. With all those advisors, you’d think one of them would point that out.

      Passing legislation has become a game of win or lose – like a notch in one’s gun belt, and the content be damned. Except that after 8 years of O’s terrible bills, it seems more people are paying attention to content now thanks to some of the conservative reps who are pointing it out.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You know, the Speaker’s job is a difficult one. There are several disparate group trends within his own caucus, and with a slim majority, Party loyalty is the only way to get legislation passed. So I understand the tendency for leadership to seek such institutional fidelity. This tendency made Boehner suck, and Ryan and McConnell very little better.

    That leadership position unfortunately contradicts widespread campaign themes incorporated in the GOP Platform. The Freedom Caucus, for example, pretty well exemplifies fidelity to the Platform. The GOPe dismisses it, and insults the base as a reflex action, revealing that the Platform is only to appease the “little folks”. “That’s not who we are”, as Obama was known to boast. That “we” is the UniParty establishment.

    The current voluntary “purge” within GOPe ranks is emblematic of the torn consensus within the Party. The GOPe, as part of the UniParty, has quit listening to their own base, and thus are losing the support of the base (see Corker & Flake). While they may truly believe that the base is wrong, that is not what they told the base to illicit their support which gave them power. Betrayal of the base will no longer be automatically rewarded based on Party label, especially in the new Trump GOP. If a decent primary opponent arises, the betrayers are toast. And rightfully so!

    The problem arises in the fact that Trump does not reveal a clear legislative governing philosophy, Trumpism, you might call it. His judicial appointments have been generally stellar, likewise his regulatory reform in general so far. He’s doing pretty well militarily. But he still has too much NY Progressive in him when it comes to entitlement and healthcare reform.

    This indicates to me that the Congressional candidates will largely have to fend for themselves in the midterms, even more local than usual. The Dems’ own governing philosophy is largely toxic nationally, and will become more so, so I don’t expect major movement unless a true Trump scandal emerges, but they’ll hold their enclaves. After the midterms, the leadership will continue herding cats with narrow majorities.

    The next GOP Platform is written for 2020. I’d suggest that that document will become a defining Manifesto of the new GOP, sort of a renewed “Contract for America”, that may be scaled down on addressing every issue, but sounding the trumpet call on issues of consensus where there is broad agreement. I expect that 2020 will be a pivotal election, especially if Trump chooses not to seek reelection, where then two “movement” candidates will square off, and a clear mandated direction expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a shift under way back to the ‘little folks’ and that’s what got Trump elected. Those little folks are fed up with the lies and with being ignored except at election time. They’re sick of the party big boy way of doing business.

      If Ryan was as smart as he thinks he is, he’d realize that until a few years ago there wasn’t such a thing as a Freedom Caucus. He’d be asking why now and realize that things are changing and his old school ways will no longer work. All his big legislation this year has flopped, but he’s frustrated with them for opposing it instead of changing his presentations toward the conservative side.

      Trump may not have a philosophy as such, but he does have a list of goals which are the same as the people’s goals. I’m not saying that Congress should give him everything he wants, but failing to give him anything is also failing to give the people anything.

      Liked by 1 person


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