The Deacon's Bench

He might have some competition from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but the man who will soon be the Speaker of the House could claim that title.

Some details about John Boehner’s upbringing:

He was reared in a two-bedroom Sears catalog house in suburban Cincinnati with 11 brothers and sisters, and parents who slept on a pullout couch until they built an addition that added more bedrooms. As the second-oldest child, Boehner was the authoritarian who made sure the younger ones did their homework and cleaned their rooms. He’s still a neatnik.

With just one bathroom in the house, “you had to work within the schedule Mom put out so that you didn’t get left behind,” recalls Boehner’s big brother Bob. “Everybody had to work together.” And that, says Bob Boehner, laid the foundation for his brother’s success in politics and working with all sorts.

The Boehners, like many big Catholic families, were what Bob Boehner calls conservative “Kennedy Democrats,” but not politically active.

Earl and Mary Anne Boehner sent their kids to Catholic schools and put to them to work helping out at the family’s bar on nights and weekends.

At Archbishop Moeller High School, John Boehner was an average student and a better linebacker. He played football for Gerry Faust, who later coached for Notre Dame. Faust, 75, remembers Boehner as “the kind of guy who gave his all, all the time,” despite back trouble from a basketball injury.

After high school, it took Boehner most of a decade to get through night school at Xavier University, working odd jobs before landing at Nucite Sales, where he made his fortune. He speaks often of the turning point in the late 1970s when he became a Republican: He says it was when he started making real money and discovered that he was paying more in taxes than he’d earned a few years earlier.

The minority leader is known on Capitol Hill as a likable if polarizing legislator. He answers to “Boehner,” sans title.

He shrugs off constant jokes about his tan from everybody from Obama on down. (Family and friends insist he just has a naturally dark complexion.) Always well dressed, he’ll offer gentle gibes at the sartorial choices of staff members or reporters he knows in the Capitol, and feign disgust at those with long hair.

In a bitterly divided Congress, Boehner’s worked with Democrats at times. He and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., jointly sponsored an annual fundraiser for Catholic schools in D.C. He’ll even share an irreverent joke with Democrats.

When he sat down with Democratic congressional leaders in January 2008 to talk about a stimulus package for the staggering economy, he quipped to Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer in full view of reporters and photographers, “As soon as they put those cameras away, I’m going to flip you the bird.”

Read more here.

Deacon Keith Fournier, meantime, offers this context:

The new Speaker of the House will be John Boehner of Ohio. He is a faithful Catholic who fully understands the teaching of his Church and has earned a consistent 100% Pro-Life score from the National Right to Life Committee. Just as importantly, he has also earned a 0% score from the National Abortion Rights Action League, an organization which promotes the killing of children in the womb as a “right”. John Boehner is a truly Pro-Life Catholic and a champion of children in the first home of the whole human race, their mother’s womb!

He did not back down in exposing – and opposing – nationalized health care or “Obamacare”. He opposed it for many reasons. However, chief among them, he opposed it because it provides for funding for abortions. Even after the President signed the allegedly curative “executive order” claiming to prevent such funding, John Boehner was one of the strongest voices to reveal the subterfuge involved in the action stating ” (N)o Executive Order or regulation can override a statutory mandate unless Congress passes a law that prohibits federal funding from being used in this manner.”

He is a supporter of a bill sponsored by another real Catholic in the House, Congressman Chris Smith which will codify the Hyde Amendment and make sure no federal money is used to take the lives of our first neighbors under the guise of “Health Care”. It is called the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”

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