What Boehner lacks in introspection, he makes up with irreverence. He has a taste for one-liners that blend the folksy with the sweary, which he calls Boehnerisms. Among the highlights are: “If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle”; “there’s a fine line between stupidity and courage”; and “as lucky as a dog with two dicks”. As regards the future of America, Boehner says: “We’re about halfway through a double-decker shit sandwich, served up to us by an outrage-driven media and a self-interested political class.” It is hard not to enjoy a memoir like this.
On the House offers a clearer assessment of Newt Gingrich’s skillset and foibles. Like Boehner, Gingrich was speaker. He was also responsible for ending decades of Democratic control of the House. But Boehner crystalizes Gingrich’s inability to help run a co-equal branch of government. Politics isn’t always tethered to bomb-throwing. Governing is about the quotidian. Gingrich couldn’t be bothered. The book acknowledges the visceral hostility of the Republican base toward Barack Obama. After Boehner announced that he believed that Obama was born in the US, he caught a blizzard of grief. The GOP’s embrace of fringe theories remains.