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Is John Boehner a drunk? Of course he is and he has lots of company on Capitol Hill

By DOUG THOMPSON - Capitol Hill Blue
March 11, 2013

Speaker of the House John Boehner:  "I was where last night?"

Speaker of the House John Boehner: “I was where last night?”

Bob Ney, the former Ohio Congressman who went to jail for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, says Speaker of the House John Boehner is a party animal who would rather drink than govern.

Boehner says Ney is a liar.

Actually, Ney — who has been known to lie, which is one of the reasons he is an ex-con — is telling the truth in this case.  Those who know Boehner best say he does tip more than a few from time to time and some of his drunken binges are poorly-kept secrets on Capitol Hill.

Each day, the email to Capitol Hill Blue is filled with stories about Boehner’s after-hours partying exploits.

Boehner is not alone.  Congress is — and always have been — a taxpayer-funded watering hole littered with heavy drinkers who all too often make strategic decisions while under the influence.

As a recovering alcoholic with 18 years, nine months and five days sober, I lived and worked in the National Capitol Region during my heaviest days of excessive imbibing — all too often in the company of members of Congress and political appointees in key positions.

I accepted a new job after a night of drinking with one Congressman in the bar of the Capitol Hill Club — the nightspot of choice for many Republicans.  I sat one night at Bullfeathers, another Capitol Hill bar, and matched then Congressman John McCain drink for drink while we talked about politics, women and war.

Political guru Lee Atwater, who died too young from a brain tumor, was another drinking buddy,

Does John Boehner drink?  Of course he does.  Does he sometimes drink too much? Absolutely.  Is he alone?  Not by a long shot.

After taking the first of 12 steps towards sobriety in 1994, I have avoided late night carnage on Capitol Hill and elsewhere but old contacts in Washington tell me the massive consumption of booze continues and — on far too many occasions — the evening ends with an elected official or political appointee leaving the bar in the arms of someone whose name is not on their current marriage license.

Like drinking, sex is a major part of the routine of those who occupy the halls of power in the nation’s capital.  All too often, the messing around is part of lifestyle of those who preach more pious behavior for the rest of us.

From time to time, the past comes back to haunt those who preach chaste behavior while chasing tail in the shadows.  Longtime New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici recently admitted fathering a child in an affair with a senator’s young daughter.  The late Henry Hyde, an Illinois Congressman with a grandfatherly image, admitted his own secret child from an old affair.

Hypocrisy is as much a part of life in Washington as immoral behavior and drunken brawls.

It has been that way for a long, long time.

And it will mostly likely stay that way far into the future.

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6 Responses to Is John Boehner a drunk? Of course he is and he has lots of company on Capitol Hill

  1. Sandy Price

    March 11, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Speaker Boehner has been in Congress for years and is repeatedly reelected by his constituents from Ohio who apparently are satisfied with his leadership.

    At this time, he is a loyal Republican and is acting according to the platform and agenda that has been made stronger since President Obama took office.

    There is no action to be taken against Speaker Boehner unless we live in the 9th District of Ohio.

    Our American Democracy is a fraud. The voters are too lazy to research the voting records of our House members. How many of us even have an agenda to work for (or against?)

    The greatest tool that Doug gave us here at CHB is a place for his and our opinions.

  2. Paul Carver

    March 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Just because you are sober doesn’t mean your judgment is good; just because you drink doesn’t make your judgment bad.

    There is nothing wrong with social drinking and Thompson provides no evidence whatsoever that Boehner’s drinking is a problem, either for him personally or for anyone else.

    As is too typical of CHB, this article is full of innuendo and unattributed accusations whose purpose appears simply to undermine the institution, while being woefully short on anything worthwhile. The headline suggests that Boehner is alcoholic, often or always drunk and that this is a problem, but there is nothing whatsoever contained in this article to back that up. Instead, it serves more to strengthen my distrust of absolutists and abolitionists than it does of John Boehner specifically or elected officials generally. Who cares how many years, months and days you have avoided alcohol? How is that relevant to how well Congress functions or how well our public officials carry out their responsibilities?

    As a partisan Democrat I am disappointed with this article on many levels.

    • Susan

      March 12, 2013 at 3:38 am

      This is the same man the advocates drug testing for welfare recipients. What a hypocrite to test the poor while operating under the influence as a lawmaker. Yes Alcohol impairs judgment….look at the platform and the policies. They have to be drunk to think the American people will buy their bull fodder.

    • Sandy Price

      March 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Paul, the effort to cover a drinking problem is often the cause of a wasted life. I come from a large family of heavy drinkers and spent my youth trying to cover for the family.

      I was 16 before I learned that Mother’s Day was on a Sunday. My bones were deformed from Rickets due to my Mother’s drinking. At 16 I became the family designated driver and took many to weekly AA meetings. Hiding the sickness is the cowardly way to survive and it takes great courage to stand up to the weakness.

      In Boehner’s case, he has managed to run in fear that he might make a bad decision. The sad part is that he keeps getting reelected. If he knows he is living a false life, it could explain his tears that are never far from running down his cheek.

      Living a life of fear could put America in a dangerous fix. All we can do is try and keep a step ahead of this poor man.

  3. Observer

    March 12, 2013 at 1:35 am

    According to a Scottish legend, a prisoner came before a judge and was accused of killing a man. The prisoner asked the judge for leniency on the grounds that he was drunk at the time.
    The judge sentenced the prisoner to hang, saying, “if a man is capable of murder while under the benevolent sway of alcohol, there is no telling what atrocities he might commit when cold stone sober”.

  4. Helen Chipm an

    March 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I believe he is an acoholic I see too many things not to believe. I don’t think he has a handle on his job and is ruining our democracy. He likes playing Golf and entertaining and he certainly is not a very good spokesman almost like he didn’t even finish school much less college.I just don’t trust him to run our country he never admits to anything its always somebody else’s faults. Him and his buddy’s Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are all alike