Blogger Conference Call with John Boehner

The second call is with Rep. John Boehner, who represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District.

Jon Henke has promised to once again provide an audio recording.

Boehner’s opening remarks: Need for reform. Easy to say but needs real leadership to happen. I have a written plan which actually outlines real steps to accomplish this goal. The document represents the model that I’ve relied upon and lived by since coming to Congress.

  • Highlight of the plan is ending earmarks. I’ve refused to bring pork back to my District since coming to Congress, taking lumps from my own constituents for doing so for 15 years.
  • Budget reform-fiscal responsibility.
  • Ambitious agenda aimed at freedom, prosperity.

It comes down to one issue: Leadership.

A real-time “transcript” of the Q&A with bloggers is in the extended entry.

My impressions: Boehner was smoothe and knowledgable, although he evaded some basic questions. As discussed among the participants afterwards, his basic answer to a question on how to achieve limited government was “Unity.” One participant dubbed Boehner’s answer on the Medicare drug bill, explaining that he voted for it because it put much needed market reforms into the system, was “complete crap” since there are zero market forces introduced in the near term.

If I had a vote for Majority Leader–and I should emphasize, I don’t–Shadegg would be the guy. Boehner would hardly be a disaster but, I’m afraid, would not be a radical break with the status quo.

Other blogger reactions:

  • Mike Krempasky:”I like John Boehner . . . but…the circle I cannot square is the Congressman’s explanation of his vote for the budget-busting Medicare Prescription Drug bill.”
  • John Hawkins: “Overall Grade: D. Boehner was even less impressive than I thought he’d be. There were a lot of platitudes, he doesn’t come across as tough on illegal immigration, and anyone who supports the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill has no credibility in my book when he talks about the need to cut spending.”
  • Ed Morrissey discusses all three calls in one post, endorsing Shadegg at the end.

Previously:Blogger Conference Call with John Shadegg


Blogger Questions:

LSB: Why did you vote against immigration bill? I oppose illegal immigration but voted against the bill on procedural grounds. More important, it had a huge unfunded mandate on employers to verify the citizenship status of their workers. I added amendment to take that out and it was not allowed to be voted upon.

NAB: Rules change requiring Members to affirm that they have actually read bills they vote for? I don’t know that it would help, because laws are written in a way that’s not very clear. WE should require 72 hour waiting period after conference to give time to review with staff help. Would have exceptions for emergency bills, like post-9/11.

Krempasky: You voted for largest expansion in 40 years with Medicare Bill. Nobody twisted my arm. There probably aren’t 5 bills in 25 years that I had to dwell on. This was one. Serious reforms to underlying Medicare program contained in the bill that made it worthwhile. Had to make a choice and picked market reforms even though it came with huge price tag for taxpayers.

Ed Morrissey: How to bring Democrats aboard on ethics reform? Democrats have right to participate but must be within the framework of Republican vision and ideals.

EM: BCRA sold as way to get money out of politics. Should we repeal since it didn’t work? Yes. I voted against it to begin with. Sunlight best disinfectant. Virginia state rules: Full disclosure on all giving and spending is the best approach. “The idea we are going to stop money going to power is laughable.”

Henke: Dissatisfaction from Right on how Bush has actually performed on limited govt. How to turn it around? Majority Leaders should lead the majority. I helped create the vision for 1994. What we need today is a common vision to show public who we are, why we’re here what we want to accomplish. Reagan’s City on Hill as model.

Hawkins: Would you support Term Limits and Balanced Budget Amendment, parts of Contract never implemented? I voted for both of them. I’ve changed my mind on term limits because of what has happened in Ohio state politics. It has moved power to lobbyists and been “an utter disaster.”

Hawkins: Do you support means testing of Medicare drug benefits? Yes. I support means testing of Medicare, period, as well as Social Security.

Krempasky: Which of your opponents would you endorse if you were not elected? There’s not much light between you and Rep. Shadegg, is there?

NZB: Foreign policy–do you believe Homeland Security going the right direction? There have been significant improvements. Rolling together 22 agencies and thinking you’ll have something operational quickly is “unrealistic.” It’ll take 10-15 years to integrate and make work properly.

Dale Franks: Close ties to pharmaceutical industry? I don’t have what I would consider close ties. Plus, they don’t have business before the ag committee. [It turns out Dale was confusing Boehner with Blunt on the Pharmaceutical issue.]

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He's a widower and father of two young daughers. He earned his PhD from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Randall B says:

    If both Boehner and Shedagg are relying on conference calls with bloggers to assert their candidacy, it is clear that the smart money should be on Roy Blunt!


  2. Doug says:


    Will you say the same thing about Blount when James posts the details of his conference call with Bloggers in an hour or so ?

    Clearly, all three candidates are reaching out to these well-known bloggers to get their message across. Actually I find it interesting that an internal GOP leadership election is getting this much attention but, as others have written, who wins this race actually is pretty important.