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.
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.
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.
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.
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!