Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lunch With the Speaker

Are you noticing a trend here? Politics and meals. They seem to go hand-in-hand, but I'm intentionally avoiding the price tag involved with these political meals. More fine dining politico fodder for you. It's the political season so I'm just riding with it for the next 14 days until November 6th when it will all be hopefully settled. Yes I say hopefully as I don't believe anyone wants a repeat of Bush vs. Gore in 2000.

Anyway onto the lunch with the Speaker . . . this one was a last minute invite, but I was game. As the wife of a man heavily involved in politics I get invited along to plenty of events. I'm not exactly the arm candy or trophy-wife sort although you do see your share of those women at political events. I tend to tag along for interesting speakers or people I know. John Boehner—the Speaker of the House—fell into both categories.

Mr. Boehner is currently Speaker of the House and has served 11 terms in Congress; he is second in line for the Presidency, following the Vice President. (I had forgotten about the whole Presidential succession thing and didn't realize the Speaker ranked so high up there.) The perpetually tanned Speaker Boehner is know for his dry and pointed sense of humor, his compassion that leads him to break down into tears on the House floor or while giving an interview on 60 Minutes, and the lively and entertaining parties he throws at the Republican National Convention (RNC) every four years. I had last seen the Speaker at a boisterous RNC party in Minneapolis a few years back.

Saturday's luncheon wasn't quite as energetic as the RNC party scene. Although John Boehner is the Speaker of the House, I still think of him as the Conference Chair when I worked in the US House. Therefore, I wasn't the least flustered when Speaker Boehner sat down next to me for the lunch and started chatting about his next stop in Bismark, ND. We had a chance to talk about the Freshman class of 1994 that ushered in a wave of change led by Boehner, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and Newt Gingrich. Interestingly Boehner is the only one left serving in Congress.

He is currently on a coast-to-coast campaign tour, talking mostly about US House races and how he hopes the voters will return him back to his Speaker's chair. Most importantly his speech hit on the economy. The economy is the problem and needs fixing. Not a quick fix, but a real solution. He gets it. Hopefully the President and Mitt Romney will also get that the economy is the top issue. And not just for white men over age 40. It's the top issue for everyone . . . women of all ages included! The Speaker did not run away from this issue and devoted a good chunk of his speech to the economy.

I realize that people like John Boehner choose public service, but I cannot help but feel a bit sorry for him as he waved goodbye to the crowd. He only drank half a Diet Coke and ate half of his lunch, leaving his Creme Brulee untouched on the table. Bound for Bismark. I can't help but wonder if he'd rather be out on the golf course.

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