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John Boehner: When drunks lead Congress, disaster is the only option

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Doug Thompson
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Source: Capitol Hill Blue
Speaker John Boehner: Ordering one for the road?
Speaker John Boehner: Ordering one for the road?

Most of those who hold public office are drunk with the intoxication of power.

Republicans, we are learning more and more, are led by a Speaker of the House who is not only drunk from power but also, based on his actions and the smell that accompanies him, is blasted from the effects of too much booze.

Speaker John Boehner's severely affected mental state comes from his drinking and increases his inability to deal with his failures as leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and as the man that Americans blame most often for the government shutdown that is dragging his party into political oblivion.

Bob Ney, Boehner's one time Ohio GOP colleague who went to prison for his part in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, is one of the few Republicans willing to publicly discuss Boehner's drinking.

Ney calls Boehner "a chain-smoking, relentless wine drinker more interested in the high-life -- women, cigarettes, fun and alcohol." The Speaker, Ney says, "golfed, drank constantly, and took the easy way legislatively."

Ney's criticism might be excused as the bitter ramblings of a politician caught in his own vices, but other Republicans also say publicly and privately that Boehner is a lightweight who drinks too much.

Former Florida GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, now a talk show host, says "so many Republicans tell me this is a guy that is not the hardest worker in the world. After 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock at night, he is disengaged at best. You can see him around town...you can see him at bars."

Boehner is a regular at The Capitol Hill Club, a GOP club where members of Congress often get drunk in the basement bar.

"Is John Boehner a drunk?  Of course he is," a House GOP aide says his boss grumbled to him recently. "He's a boozer."

When Boehner became Speaker of the House in 2011, more than a few Republicans shook their heads and wondered why. Some speculated on just how long it would be before their new Speaker got caught drunk in public.

Ney, in his book: "Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill," wrote that Boehner broke promises to him, including one to take care of his Ohio colleague if he would resign from Congress during the Abramoff affair.

In 2006, Boehner, then House Majority Leader, called Ney to his office and said to the embattled Congressman:

"If you resign the next day, I will personally guarantee you a job comparable to what you are making, and raise legal defense money for you that should bury all this Justice Department problem for you."

Ney says he took the advice and quit, and Boehner walked away from him and did nothing.

Unlike Boehner, Ney admits being a drunk. In his book, Ney writes:

"After a night of drinking, I concluded that it was better for my children financially if I were to die before going broke. My problem with alcohol became an alcohol problem on steroids from 2005 to 2006, escalating into blackouts, anger, depression, extreme sadness. You name it. I experienced it."

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Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and (more...)

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