Last week, I received a letter from the Friends of John Boehner containing a questionnaire entitled the 2009 Republican Leader's Survey. I am a registered Democrat living in New York City, in a neighborhood in which Republicans are probably outnumbered by, I don't know, Wiccans or Basque speakers. John Boehner is the House minority leader, represents Ohio, has a year-round tan and smokes. He is extremely Republican. You see why I was surprised to hear from his people.I am grateful for what I can only assume is an attempt at outreach, even as I wonder if the Republic Party (they say Democrat Party, I say Republic Party -- I didn't start it) has finally jumped the shark in its attempt to pump fresh blood into its sclerotic veins. So I'm giving it my best shot. To begin with, I've been trying to identify Congressman Boehner's positives.
- His name is certainly the most fun to mispronounce of anyone in politics currently, maybe ever. The tan is appalling, of course, especially on someone not known for outdoorsy Republican pursuits like clearing brush. Yet in the context of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in PAC dough Boehner regularly drops on golf junkets, his dusky tinge simply means he knows how to have a good time, and to hell with the UVBs.
- It's good to have a few smokers in Washington just to provide some diversity and frankly, I'd rather the designated smoker be Boehner than Obama.
- Boehner's slight resemblance to George Raft, shifty-eyed second banana of innumerable gangster movies, is a plus for those of us who remember and like George Raft. It's probably not a good thing, though, for an elected official to resemble an actor who played so many prisoners.
Thus equipped with a new appreciation for the man who won a May 2009 poll for the most unpopular politician in the country, a remarkable achievement considering the crowded field, I sat down with the Leader's Survey, my first multiple choice test since the SATs, I think, when the trick questions invariably tricked me. There are no trick questions in the Leader's Survey. The right answers are readily apparent.
At the end of the questionnaire is a request for respondents to show their support for the FoJB by enclosing a (non-tax-deductible) contribution in the enclosed postage paid envelope. This request is couched as a multiple choice question and if you're not sending money, the text by the appropriate check-box reads "No. I want Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Barack Obama to have free reign to push for their liberal agenda, without strong Republican opposition from John Boehner." I hesitated before checking that box even though I agree with its sentiments; it just seemed so rude. To ease my conscience, I enclosed a few pennies -- no more than a dozen or so -- with the questionnaire before returning it. I've long been told the postage payers on the other end are charged for overweight postage paid envelopes. But at least I sent something. So please take my pennies and my advice in the spirit in which they are meant, Congressman Boehner, and fire up a nail for me.