- Speaker Boehner’s spokesman
At a meeting of the House Republican freshmen and their leaders on Wednesday, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room — including the speaker’s.
Representative Martha Roby of Alabama had just finished reading an e-mail of support from a one-time Tea Party opponent, recognizing the tough choices that the new Republicans faced in the vote to raise the debt ceiling.
Mr. Boehner, who has become well known for his occasional displays of emotion, joined others in the room by crying a bit during the closed-door session.
“He wasn’t sobbing, but he definitely teared up,” said Michael Steel, the speaker’s spokesman… The new members — caught in a political crosscurrent between their Tea Party constituents and their speaker — emotionally described their relief at getting support from constituents back home.
“Many of us have shared in recent hours anecdotes about our conversations with constituents,” said Representative Nan Hayworth of New York, who was at Wednesday’s meeting. “We’ve had some really gut-moving stories about how members of our local Tea Parties have appreciated that we are doing our utmost and honoring our principles.”
Ms. Hayworth said the meeting on Wednesday featured several such anecdotes, and she said the result was a lot of emotion.
“Everyone was verklempt,” she said.
This is in stark contrast with other meetings over the past few days as the House Republican Caucus struggles to deal with the completely fabricated debt-ceiling crisis it has created to use for political gain — an activity the House tea party members pledged not to do during the midterm campaign last year.
At a meeting on Tuesday, GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California played a clip from the movie, “The Town,” in which Ben Affleck, a liberal Democrat in real life, asked for a friend’s help on a mission that would include violence. “I need your help,” he asks his friend “I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later and we’re gonna hurt some people.”
The friend’s response — “Whose car are we going to take?” — was picked up, not surprisingly, by freshman Florida tea bagger Allen West, an Iraq war veteran who was fined $5,000 by the Army for war crimes in the mistreatment of a prisoner. Upon seeing the Affleck clip, West said, “I’m willing to drive the car.” …To go hurt some people.
The House Republicans held another testosterone-infused rally today during which Rep. Mike Kelly, a freshman from Pennsylvania who played football in college, placed “Play Like a Champion Today” signs at the door and then gave a speech that a senior member described as a “Knut Rockne-type speech” that he ended by saying, “Put on your helmet, buckle your chinstrap, and knock the shit out of ‘em.”