Boehner unchained

Politico Magazine placed Tim Alberta’s long retrospective account of John Boehner’s career online last night under the heading “John Boehner unchained.” It is an extremely long article, but it is well written. It is funny. It is insightful. It looks back at where we have been and helps us understand where we are. I think it is well worth the time it takes to read it.

Politico’s Playbook provides Tim’s emailed account of the background to his piece:

I wanted to write something big and comprehensive on Boehner’s speakership since the day he left — not just about what happened to him, but using his story to explain what happened to the party and the Congress and the country itself. He wanted nothing to do with the media in retirement, however, and I was too busy covering the campaign. Then, this spring, having heard rumors that he wasn’t going to write a memoir, I approached several of his former staffers to take their temperature on such a project. They weren’t bullish, but agreed to ask-and to our surprise, Boehner said he was ‘interested.’ He wanted to meet at Alberto’s on May 16.

That meeting hadn’t guaranteed his participation — he wanted to feel me out first. Michael Steel, his longtime flack who joined us, warned me beforehand that Boehner might very well only agree to a 30- or 45-minute discussion on the record that same night — giving me limited access to write from. But after I pitched Boehner, and said the piece would work best if I could capture him in his element — perhaps on the golf course in Ohio? — he ordered another bottle of wine and smiled: “OK. Come on out. I’ll put you up.”

I didn’t stay at Boehner’s house. But over the next four months we spent more than 18 hours together on the record in three different states, and the only restrictions he placed on anything were a half-dozen requests to keep something off the record. What I found was John Boehner Unchained; his liberation was apparent from our first meeting at Alberto’s….

Highly recommended.

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