Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mr. Speaker

I first met new House Speaker John Boehner 27 years ago.  He was a young township trustee in the early stages of putting a campaign together to run for the Ohio House.  I was also young and had come to understand a great deal about the budget of the State of Ohio in being part of an unsuccessful grassroots effort to rollback a 90% tax increase.  The tax increase had been enacted by a newly elected Democratic governor that had passed both Ohio legislative chambers on straight party line votes.  All Democrats for.  All Republicans against.  Does that sound kind of familiar?

I was an independent who have never done anything political in my life.  Much like today's Tea Partiers I was shocked at this money grab and the arrogance in which it was done.  By the end of that year I had the equivalent of a Phd. in politics and the Ohio state budget.  John was looking to gain some insights on both perspectives.

I can tell you first hand, that the stories profiling John are accurate.  This is a guy who worked for everything he got.  He worked his way through college.  He built a successful business.  He had been inspired by Ronald Reagan. He told me that day that he wanted to run for office to make a difference.  He told me he wanted to make sure the system that allowed him to succeed would endure for his children and future generations.

He does smoke.  He does like to play golf.  That much he has in common with President Obama.   That is not a bad start to at least get some dialogue going.  However, there are some pretty fundamental differences in how they view the world. 

I have not always been on the same page in approaching issues as John.  I am a policy guy first and a poor politician.  I always found John to be a politician first and a policy guy second.  I am not saying that in a pejorative way.  He has a good sense of what is achievable and has been a master at getting it done. I tend to look for the best policy rather than the best politics. I never would have gotten off the back bench if I had gone to Washington. 

I can't tell you how impressed I am with what John has achieved from that day 27 years ago. I also can see no evidence that John sees anything any differently than he did sitting with me those many years ago.  He understands hard work. He understands what the American Dream is all about. He wants to make a difference.  Let's all hope that he can find a way to work with the President to get the country moving...even if it requires a few rounds of golf.

Best wishes, Mr Speaker!  

1 comment:

  1. Here! Here! For the new Speaker! Thank you for sharing your personal insights of the man and confirmation of his character. Finally, a true leader!