Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Next House Majority Leader?

I've been looking for a reason to talk about this piece that was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer last month.

Now, with Bob Novak stating that Ohio's John Boehner is the "odds-on favorite" to be the next majority leader if Tom Delay is forced to resign, I have the perfect excuse.

The Enquirer covers the fact that Boehner routinely refuses to go after pork for local projects as a matter of principle.
Most of Cincinnati's congressmen happily point out the money they wrangled in this year's budget for local roads, museums, clinics, and colleges.

But not Rep. John Boehner.

He requested nothing for his 630,000 constituents north of Cincinnati...

"I told people in 1990 that if they thought that my job was to come to Washington and rob the federal treasury on their behalf, they were sending the wrong guy here," Boehner, 55, said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office. "I said it, I said I said it. I've said it ever since. It's just not why I'm here."

The Enquirer estimates that he could have brought at least $100M back to Butler county if he wanted to. Obviously this raises concerns, even among local Republican officials, who feel his principled stance is lost on his peers.
"It's a philosophical shout in the dark. Might as well go out and howl at the moon," [GOP Butler county commissioner Mike] Fox said. "It doesn't affect spending in Congress one whit."

Gregory Jolivette, another GOP Butler County commissioner, said Boehner's refusal to get pork hurts his constituents.

"I'd like to see them fight like hell to cut down on (pork). But once the pie has been set, let's go get our slice," he said. "Until he gets more people to support his way of thinking, we're just chasing windmills."

Boehner's response, oh well.
"The federal government shouldn't be building local sewer projects," Boehner said.
Once you start talking to his constituents, however, you start to realize why he won his district with almost 70% of the vote.

"I believe that he should stick to his principles," said Marcia Smith, 42, of Gano. "Too many politicians take whatever they can get, whether it compromises what they believe or not. They go with whatever is popular. I applaud John Boehner for sticking to what he thinks is right and I feel that he should continue to refuse the money."

"I feel good about it. I wish all congressmen would take that perspective," said George Lang, 42, a business owner and West Chester township trustee. "Someone's got to take a stand. Hopefully his perspective will be contagious among his peers."

Perhaps if Boehner gets a chance at the majority leadership position, it will be.