February 06, 2006

Meet the New Boss—Same as the Old Boss

This past week, House Republicans elected new leadership to replace Tom DeLay, who was indicted for campaign finance violations. After an election marred by voting irregularities [Jon Stewart video], the Republicans named John Boehner as majority leader. The idea was to start fresh after rampant corruption scandals by choosing someone without direct links to DeLay.

Yesterday Rep. Boehner began introducing himself to the country, beginning with an appearance on Meet the Press with Tim Russert. The encounter was disastrous for the new leader. It all went pear-shaped near the beginning of the interview when Russert brought up a criticism Boehner had made of his boss, House Speaker Dennis Hastert.  Boehner snapped and started shouting, which clearly didn't endear him to his interviewer.

But the real problem for Boehner, and for Republicans who would like to change the topic away from corruption and abuse, is that Boehner has a dodgy past which he can’t explain away.

Mr. Russert brought up scandal after scandal from Boehner’s past, including the incident in which he handed out cash from tobacco company lobbyists to Representatives on the House floor. He confronted Boehner on lobbyist-funded trips to golf resorts in Scottsdale, Edinburgh, and other locations, and his refusal to change the rules to prevent such trips in the future. He talked about the “Boehner parties” thrown for lobbyists at Republican conventions. He talked about his donations to Tom Delay’s defense fund, and the 17 meetings between Boehner’s staff and Jack Abramoff’s lobbyists.

The result was that an internal Republican election that was designed to “turn the page” on corruption by House Republicans has only highlighted how widespread it is.

The Meet the Press podcast can be found here.

By Will Friedman in Politics | Permalink  | 


More news keeps coming out about the "new boss". Is he the least corrupt one they could find? Yikes.

Posted by: SheaNC | Feb 8, 2006 10:07:32 PM

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