In a wide ranging article with an obsessive focus on his golf game and smoking habit, Politco gets former Speaker of the House John Boehner to open up about his career and colleagues. Notable among the stories he tells is this surprising ditty of an Alaskan pinning him up against up against a wall with a knife to his throat.
The funding of pet projects in lawmakers’ districts helped leadership to keep members in line, but fueled a culture of venality and waste; boondoggles like the “Bridge to Nowhere,” a 2005 project calling for a $223 million earmark to construct a bridge to a remote, sparsely populated Alaska island, became symbols of congressional excess. Boehner never accepted an earmark in Congress—and he enjoyed railing against those who did. His heckling once provoked Don Young, an Alaskan himself, to pin Boehner against a wall inside the House chamber and hold a 10-inch knife to his throat. Boehner says he stared Young in the eyes and said, “Fuck you.” (Young says this account is “mostly true,” but notes that the two became good friends, with Boehner later serving as his best man.)
I was not a fan of John Boehner, as I identify with the libertarian wing of the party which he so openly despises. That said, no political disagreement justifies the threat of deadly force. I am frankly appalled that such behavior did not result in Representative Young’s being drummed out of office. His conduct has no place in civil society and certainly not among those invested with the increasingly shaky “consent of the governed”.