Roseanne Cash To John Boehner: Stop Using My Dad’s Name

During his campaign appearances during the closing weeks of the campaign, House Minority Leader John Boehner has taken to starting his speeches with a joke:

At each stop he draws on nostalgia for the Republican glory days of the 1980s, by telling the same joke. “Remember when Ronald Reagan was president,” he said. “We had Bob Hope. We had Johnny Cash. Think about where we are today. We have got President Obama. But we have no hope and we have no cash.” It draws hoots of laughter and applause every time.

It’s not a joke that Boehner came up with on his own; I remember receiving it in chain emails within months after President Obama took office. Quite honestly, it’s not even that funny, although I’m sure it works as an opening line in front of a partisan Republican crowd.

Rosenne Cash, Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, didn’t take too kindly to that, and took to Twitter yesterday to express her displeasure:

John Boehner: Stop using my dad’s name as a punchline, you asshat.

Don’t mess with The Man In Black, or his daughter apparently.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    The inability of conservatives to realize that Johnny Cash was a liberal never fails to astonish me. To read his obituaries on conservative sites, you’da thought he was John Wayne.

  2. When I want to drive my conservative country music loving friends crazy, I remind them that Toby Keith is a Democrat 🙂

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    And Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson….

  4. Speaking of Willie, where do you think he stands on Prop 19 ? 😀

  5. James Joyner says:

    Although, in fairness, Boehner has every right to tell the Johnny Cash joke as much as he pleases. It annoys the hell out of me when survivors think they can control the invocation of the departed’s name.

    (And, yes, I had the same reaction when, for example, Nancy Reagan tried to make Jim Webb stop using something Ronald Reagan wrote two decades ago about what a swell fellow Webb is.)

  6. Maybe Roseanne wouldn’t be so upset if the joke was at least funny

  7. James Joyner says:

    Those are the kinds of jokes the geriatrics find hysterically funny. And that’s likely the target audience here.

  8. Boyd says:

    I agree with James, but I’ll put it more plainly: I don’t give two shits if Roseanne Cash likes it or not. In fact, that might be an argument in favor of continuing to tell such a lame joke.

  9. In re: the joke (and to borrow a phrase from the Tony Kornheiser show): way to skew young, grandpa.

  10. Pug says:

    That’s true. If you are using Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and Johnny Cash as frames of reference, you aint after a young demo. You would get a lot of blank stares with those names.

  11. Jim Treacher says:

    Seems to me that if you stand by silently while Joaquin Phoenix plays your dad in a movie, you’ve given up any claim to the old man’s legacy.