John Boehner: ‘Country and Institution Before Self’
John Boehner has wandered the valley. John Boehner has been to the mountaintop. John Boehner has slid right back into the valley, and then ascended to great heights yet again. He does it all with hard work. He does it with an earnestness and an honesty I’ve always admired.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the retirement of House Speaker John Boehner:
“There’s a lot you can say about John Boehner.
“He loves his breakfasts every morning at Pete’s Diner. He’s a fan of the tie dimple. He’s one of the most genuine guys you’ll meet. I know, because we’ve fought many battles together in the trenches.”
“He never breaks his word. He never buckles in a storm. And what’s amazing is how we’ve had such a frictionless relationship, especially when you consider that old House saying, The other party—that’s just the opposition. But the Senate—that’s the enemy.
“That may have been true of past House and Senate leaders, but it wasn’t true for us.
“Though you might not expect it, I’m more Bourbon. John’s more Merlot. I lecture on Henry Clay. John sings zip-a-dee-doo-dah.
“But I’ve always considered John an ally. I’ve always considered John a friend.
“It’s hard not to like him, and it’s hard not to admire what John’s accomplished in his career.
“As a concerned Ohioan, he took on a scandal-plagued incumbent in a primary—and won.
“As a freshman Congressman, he took on money-laundering schemes and banking scandals involving powerful members—and prevailed.
“As an engineer of the Contract with America, he took on Democrats’ decades-long power lock—and triumphed.
“As an ex-member of leadership once considered politically dead, he knew he had more to offer—and convinced his colleagues he did.
“As the inheritor of a diminished and dispirited House minority, he dared to believe conservatives could rise again—and helped grow the largest Republican majority since bob-haired flappers were dancing the Charleston.
“John Boehner has wandered the valley. John Boehner has been to the mountaintop. John Boehner has slid right back into the valley, and then ascended to great heights yet again.
“He does it all with hard work. He does it with an earnestness and an honesty I’ve always admired.
“When John talks about struggling to make it, it’s not some platitude. When John gets choked up about Americans reaching for their dreams, it’s not some act.
“This is a guy who had to share a bathroom with 11 brothers and sisters. This is a guy whose parents slept on the pull-out sofa. This is a guy who worked hard behind the bar, and eventually found his way atop the rostrum.
“Maybe that’s why he’s so humble. Maybe that’s why, when he orders breakfast at Pete’s, they don’t call him “Mr. Speaker” — they just call him “John-John.”
“Well here’s what I know about Speaker John Boehner.
“He says the code he lives by is a simple one: do the right things for the right reasons, and the right things will happen.
“I’ve always found that to be true. I’ve found it to be true in our battles fighting side-by-side for conservative reform, sometimes from a position deep in the minority.
“We had our share of Maalox moments, that’s for sure. But he always strove to push forward.
“As I said about John Boehner the day he announced his retirement, Grace under pressure, country and institution before self.
“These are the first things that come to mind when I think of him.
“I wish Speaker Boehner the very best in retirement, and I thank him for always working hard to do the right thing, for his family, for his district, for his party, for his country.
“Farewell, my friend.”
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