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The Ejaculation Of John Boehner
WASHINGTON (CAP) - As the fight wages over President Obama's 2011 budget proposal, both parties are gearing up for what could be an epic battle that may decide the fate of many government programs. For new House Speaker John Boehner, it meant taking to the floor of the House and taking matters into his own hands.
"The debate was just kinda limping along and we were waiting for someone to do something to grab our attention," said Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). "Then John takes the podium and just whips it out. He totally whips it out and starts going to town.
"I mean, I'm a gay man and even I didn't see that coming," Polis added.
It wasn't scheduled, it wasn't expected, and it wasn't pretty. But it was pure Boehner.
"I guess he was trying to make a point," said Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR). "Not a very big one, mind you, but a point nonetheless: we all just need to stop jerking around and get 'er done. This budget ain't gonna approve itself."
For the 87 freshman congressman just starting to get their hands dirty, it was a part of the political process they hadn't learned about in school - at least, not formally. Many sitting toward the front likened it to being at a Blue Man Group show minus the protective plastic sheets. Boehner came, and he delivered.
"I'm proud of this moment," a relaxed and confident Boehner said as he leaned against the podium to steady his wobbly legs. "I feel good, I feel relieved, I feel like I can tackle the world. If this is what it takes to rally the troops behind the necessary budget cuts, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
"I mean, I can't do it again right now because, well, you know," Boehner added. "But theoretically speaking."
Democratic congressional leaders said they knew Boehner would attempt something unconventional when he took to the House floor, but most were expecting a filibuster that would put a stranglehold on debate for a good five days. Instead, Boehner put a stranglehold on something else entirely for a good five minutes.
But as Boehner is quick to note, it's not the length of the filibuster that matters, but how well you get your point across.
"I just stepped out to grab a danish - I can't believe I missed it," said Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) as he wiped frosting off his cheek. "See, there's the thing I love about John: he leads by example. That's our Boehner!"
Some of the more veteran congressman likened the situation to the time Speaker Newt Gingrich mooned a full session of the House during budget debates in early 1996. Democratic leaders took the opportunity to attack Gingrich's pasty white buttocks, but refrained from criticizing the politician's decision to drop trou, which likely contributed to President Clinton's re-election that November.
"We look back now and what Newt did seems pretty tame, but times were different then," said retired Rep. Toby Roth (R-WI). "We had a freewheeling president and really didn't know what to do with him. We could have used a Boehner to go up against Clinton, that's for sure."
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