WAC: “Mayor of Crazytown,” Former House Speaker John Boehner

Last week, LEAP Ambassadors got together to watch the World Affairs Council’s Ronan O’Malley interview the former Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner.

SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, World Affairs Council,  John Boehner

Although nothing can compare to attending events in person, the WAC never fails to deliver intriguing and informative programs, even when we are watching remotely as a group.

SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, World Affairs Council,  John Boehner

With his new memoir, On the House, now for sale, Boehner tuned in to discuss his time in Washington, D.C., sharing a blunt and brutally honest perspective about what needs to change.

SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, World Affairs Council,  John Boehner

Boehner mentioned that he has, to date, met 10 U.S. presidents. I was intrigued to learn that he felt he had a good working relationship with President Bill Clinton. He described Clinton as the best politician he ever met, and said that he maintained a great relationship with the White house when Clinton was in office. He explained that the key to having a successful bipartisan relationship was compromise. However, he qualified that by reminding us that there is a difference between compromising on values and finding a common ground.

That being said, Boehner had no problem criticizing his former colleagues for failing to do just that. In what was certainly colorful language, the former Speaker of the House condemned the “knuckleheads” of Washington, a category of leaders consisting of both Republicans and Democrats, that prefer anarchy and disruption to actual governing. This group tends to consist of those who lean far in either direction and refuse to compromise.

SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, World Affairs Council,  John Boehner

To challenge these so-called knuckleheads, Boehner has come up with a number of quotes for current and future leaders to consider in their efforts to make a difference, which his staff has coined as “Boehnerisms.” Among these are: “Disagree without being disagreeable,” and “do the right things for the right reasons.” These are certainly helpful thoughts to keep in mind, not only in politics, but in all facets of life.

As always, the LEAP Ambassadors appreciate the efforts of the WAC to keep the community engaged and exposed to speakers like Speaker Boehner. We look forward to the next event, and hope to attend in person soon!

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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