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House Minority Leader John Boehner frequently portrays himself as a no-nonsense fiscal hawk and friend of the little guy and gal. “While families struggle with rising costs of living, politicians are wasting their money on pork-barrel projects we don’t need,” he recently was quoted as saying.
Yet thanks to his campaign treasury and Leadership PAC, which he calls the “Freedom Project,” Boehner doesn’t have to worry much about increases in the cost of living. Between 2005 and 2007, the erstwhile stingy Boehner dropped roughly $685,000 on food, travel, entertainment, and fundraisers, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Like a lot of politicians, Democrats as well as Republicans, Boehner makes liberal use of his political funds. In November 2006, Boehner won reelection by 26 percentage points over a Democratic rival whom he outspent $3 million to $3,000. Just three months later, he was hard at work raising (and spending) money during a golfing outing for big contributors to sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. There his Leadership PAC dropped $5,054 on lodging at the Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa; $3,358 on food, beverages and greens fees at the Cochise/Geronimo Clubhouse, and $2,870 at Morton’s steakhouse.
During 2007 alone, Boehner used money from his political funds to pay for food or lodging at least 16 resorts or country clubs. His combined spending between 2005 and 2007 at the Wetherington Golf & Country Club alone came to nearly $60,000. Boehner’s three-year binge at the country club comes out to be roughly equivalent to the median family income (for a three-person family) in Boehner’s home state of Ohio.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”