Steve Israel Has John Boehner's Back When It Comes To Those Mean Revelations From Bob Ney
When the Abramoff scandal started breaking, the Republican Party needed to shut it down as fast as possible before it took down the whole congressional leadership and the party itself. The implications were existential for the GOP-- and there were a few powerful Democrats implicated as well. But, investigated fully, it would certainly have led beyond corruption, perhaps as far as to GOP connections to the Mob and probably even to murder charges that involved House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. It was deemed to be not in the national interest to have Congress exposed so blatantly-- and for as many as 50-60 Republican senators and House Members carted off to prison. DeLay stepped aside and they needed a high ranking scapegoat to go to jail. Enter Bob Ney (R-OH), an expendable Republican committee chairman.
Ney's out of jail-- and seems a lot more fit... physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And, as we mentioned last week, he has a new book out, Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill. You can see one of the villains of the tell-all book, giving a rather shaky, defensive-- and very unconvincing-- critique of it in the video up top. Everyone in Washington knows-- and has always known-- that Boehner is a lazy, sleazy, corrupt, drunken, womanizing scumbag but he's Speaker and it's not considered proper to put that in books people not in Washington might read. Linda Smith and Steve Largent are no longer in Congress. Jeff Flake is now a senator. It would be awesome for Chris Hayes or someone with a worthwhile TV show to get Smith< Largent and Flake to review Ney's book on live TV.
Meanwhile Time's report on the book signing party down the street from Capitol Hill, helps explain why Boehner is willing to draw attention to a book that should, by all rights, end his miserable political career. [Keep in mind, Steve Israel and the DCCC do not run candidates against Boehner, and when an independent-minded Democrat decides to take him on-- the way Justin Coussoule did in 2010-- the DCCC gears up to sabotage their efforts.]
Ney spices up his depiction of Boehner with a few salacious stories of alleged misbehavior. Claims Ney: one night at the Capital Grille Boehner got drunk and took a female staffer home; Boehner regularly gave hand outs- free Barclay cigarettes from his lobbyist and campaign checks on the House floor; Boehner called one of his staffers a “fag;” Boehner broke out into “all-out wailing” after he was ousted from chairman of the House Republicans Conference in 1998. In 2006, Ney dropped out of his reelection race after serving for 11 years, and he now says Boehner convinced him to go by promising him a well-paying private job and money to pay the lawyers defending him against the Justice Department’s Abramoff investigation. Neither the job or the money ever materialized, Ney says.
On Tuesday, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told the Washington Post, “This is a convicted felon with a history of failing to tell the truth making a lot of baseless accusations to try and sell books.” Ney responded to Time, “If he wants to deny it, I can prove it.” “I’d be glad to sit down with him. I’d be glad to go on TV with him,” Ney says. Boehner, Ney must surely know, would only be hurt by appearing with the former Ohio Congressman in person.
Back home in Ohio, the media is figuring out what to do with the story of Ney's book and Boehner. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, far from Bohner's base in the western part of the state, has given it the kind of coverage Boehner fears could seep into his own media markets, Cincinnati and Dayton.
Ney's book dwells on his frustration with how business is conducted in Washington. He describes a speech by President Bush to persuade him to vote for the Central American Trade Agreement as so ridiculous it was like “something out of 'Saturday Night Live,' ” and speculates that McCain launched the Senate investigation that ensnared him as a way to clean up an ethics record that was tainted by McCain's role in the Keating Five scandal.Don't expect Steve Israel to let the DCCC take advantage of Boehner's problems. In fact, count on Israel to work hand-in-glove with Boehner's team to cover this up. There'll be no DCCC ads in Ohio's 8th district, not now, not ever.
Ney spends multiple chapters on perceived breaches by Boehner, whom he calls a lazy "good old boy," and accuses of falsely promising to get him a high-paying job and raise legal defense money in exchange for Ney's resignation from Congress.
"Many felt that his money-raising focus would make up for his lack of concern about legislation-- he was considered a man who was all about winning and money," Ney wrote in the book. "He was a chain-smoking, relentless wine drinker who was more interested in the high life-- golf, women, cigarettes, fun and alcohol."
He speculates that Boehner's political machine was involved in unsuccessful efforts by Diebold, an Ohio company that made voting machines, to shape voting rights legislation that was before a committee Ney chaired. Ney also says Boehner's lifestyle was inappropriately financed by lobbyists, who even gave him free packs of the Barclay's cigarettes he enjoyed smoking.
"If someone had held a gun to Boehner's head and told him to produce receipts proving that he paid for all those years of drinking at the Republican Club or he would be shot, he would have wound up in a body bag," Ney wrote.