Empowered and fighting back a bit after a challenge to his House leadership position, Speaker John Boehner made the case that he remains an outsider to the conventions of Congress, The Hill
"During my years here when I voted, I had the eighth-most conservative voting record in the Congress, and it does pain me to be described as spineless or a squish," Boehner, who won his third term as speaker this week, said as he talked with reporters on Thursday. "But what pains me the most is when they describe me as the establishment.
"I’m the most anti-establishment Speaker we’ve ever had," he said.
"Who was the guy who got rid of earmarks? Me. Who's the guy who believes in regular order? Me," Boehner said of his record. "Who believes in allowing more members to participate in the process from both sides of the aisle? Me."
While 25 of his House colleagues voted against him, Boehner pointed to the climate of dislike from a public that is furious with the ongoing congressional gridlock and what some view as the economic demise of the middle class.
"The American people are very frustrated. They are frustrated in a struggling economy," Boehner told The Hill. "This frustration that's out there, they need to take it out on somebody. They take it out on the president; they take it out on me. It comes with the territory."
Boehner, who has served Ohio's 8th Congressional District since 1991, has taken a dim view to those who opposed his leadership run, Politico
reported, and described his actions in demoting his detractors as "revenge."
Others say his new-found boldness is welcomed and timely as the new GOP-led Congress asserts its power. But conservative Iowa lawmaker Steve King, who voted against Boehner, decried his perceived retribution, Politico said.
"If you cannot vote your conscience … then it’s clearly a dysfunctional system here," said King.
But at least one conservative newbie was happy to explain her vote for Boehner, The Washington Examiner
"There were no qualified or notable campaigns for speaker within the Republican Party other than John Boehner," Utah Rep. Mia Love said. "Casting a vote for a candidate who has not actively campaigned and does not have the support to be speaker is an indirect vote for Nancy Pelosi, and I will not vote for Nancy Pelosi."
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