The new face of reform

which, I’m sure you must have read, is a major concern for House Republicans these days

House Republicans Try to Get Back on Course
Boehner seen as face of change in house
GOP picks a ‘fresher’ face
House GOP’s new face
Going beyond damage control
Post-Abramoff Mood Shaped Vote for DeLay’s Successor
News Analysis A Cry of Concern by Republicans at Voter Unease
Boehner chosen to lead House GOP in break with DeLay era
Reformer in upset win as Republican leader in US House
Ethics at heart of GOP leadership race

No, not the reform. The new face.

And there they’ve chosen well, because Mr. Boehner is one of the few remaining members of the leadership that enacted damage control without any real reform when their criminally unethical leadership derailed the revolution before this one,* and he wasn’t too fastidious about it back then either.

Mr. Boehner, Online Newshour, April 17, 1997

REP. JOHN BOEHNER: The leadership really did not engage in this. Not at one time during the last three months was there a discussion of this in the leadership. It was between Newt and his wife and his advisers and his lawyers over how this would be dealt with. But he kept it to himself. He worked with his friends and really did not involve the rest of the leadership in those discussions.

A transcript of a conference call recorded by two citizens with a scanner (which is illegal, so don’t) off of Mr. Boehner’s cell phone signal, in which the entire House leadership discusses their strategy for dealing with Newt’s little difficulties. The call took place on December 21, 1996, or, if you prefer, at one time.

Subsequently, of course, as the water rose around Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Boehner scampered up the hawser.

He’s spent his time since consolidating his popularity with his fellow congresspersons on the right by the thoroughly un-DeLaylike strategy of, um, raising a huge pile of money from lobbyists*** and special interests and handing it out to his fellow incumbents.

CNN opines that it’s his perpetual tan and cigarette that make him distinctive.

I’d have to agree that those would be pretty much the only things that make him stand out from the rest of the disgraced Republican leadership in my mind too.

Way to clean up the culture of corruption, guys.

*for those of you who don’t remember the last time, Mr. Gingrich was crooked as a dog’s hind leg and got caught. The Republicans shut down the Ethics Committee, but it didn’t help. A selection of rats went racing, predictably, for the hawsers (quite a few of them didn’t think he was extreme enough anyway). The rest of the leadership heard about it, tried to run to the front of the parade, and then discovered that the insurgents weren’t interested in handing the reins of power over to them.

At that point, they belatedly discovered their outrage at this unconscionable disloyalty and ratted everyone concerned out to Gingrich, who accepted the resignation from leadership of Rep. Paxon for not telling him sooner (Paxon was the only one who served at the pleasure of the Speaker), although there were also rumors that his ouster also had something to do with suspicions that he had given information about private House meetings to a good friend who was a journalist.

Paxon and his wife, former Gingrich favorite Susie Molinari both left Congress shortly afterwards. Saxon and Molinari are both now employed sucking up money from friendly businesses who want to do favors for compliant congresspersons. You can’t make this stuff up. Another amusing version of the tale from the socialists at the National Review (containing this remarkably satisfying assessment of Mr. Boehner: “He is a unifying figure for warring Republican factions: nobody trusts him.”) is here

**Amusingly enough that seems to have been at the instigation of Mr. Armey, who (despite washing his hands in the wake of the coup attempt with the avidity of a germophobic Pilate in any public place he could find) was thought to have lobbied the hardest to be installed by the rebels in Gingrich’s place

***You heard the story about passing out tobacco lobby checks to members on the House floor, right?

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