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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An open letter to John Boehner

Dear Mr. Speaker:

By now everybody in America knows that you have a tendency to cry at the most inopportune moments. There's no taking this back, so at this point there's only one thing for you to do: make light of it. This will take the sting out of other peoples' jibes, and will actually endear you to the American public.

One of Jimmy Carter's finest moments in office came when a reporter asked him if his daughter Amy boasted about the fact that her father was the President of the United States. Carter replied, "I think she apologizes for it."

I remember feeling a surge of warmth for the man when I read those words.

In 1984, when the 73-year-old Reagan ran for reelection against Walter Mondale, many questioned whether a man his age would be vigorous enough to serve four more years. During the second Presidential debate, a reporter confronted Reagan about the issue directly. Reagan replied, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

Some say Reagan sewed up his reelection at that moment. 

If you can make light of your own weakness, you will end up appearing even better than had you not exhibited it in the first place. So try some of these lines on for size; they should fit you well:

[If you can make it obvious you're joking]: "My press secretary told me I had to make myself appear more human. So I faked crying a few times. [Shrug.] Now he's telling me I've gone too far."

[Alternatively, if someone else raises the issue of your crying]: "I promise you this -- contrary to popular rumor, those were not crocodile tears. I was not faking it."

"I've been called the Weeper of the House. And I've been called a crybaby. And, well, that's what I am. But the real reason to cry would be if the will of the American people were ignored after this last election, and ObamaCare forced upon them....."

"I have to say, my getting choked up so easily hasn't exactly done wonders for my tough guy image. But I promise that I will be tough -- tough when it comes to fighting for the American people...."

[With a wink]: "I'm warning you, if you don't pass this bill I'm going to start crying again. And you know how uncomfortable that makes everybody. So do the right thing here...."

[In an interview]: "Don't worry, I'm not going to start crying -- I don't think."

Mr. Speaker, everybody cries, even if only in private. And all men are at least a little embarrassed by it, no matter what they say. If you can make light of your own crying, at a certain level you will set everyone else's fears at rest. And the public will love you for it.

All of these lines must be said with a rueful grin. Don't look sheepish -- but don't look as if you're particularly proud of these lines, either. If you can do this, and do it with a twinkle in your eye, you will once again appear in control.

This is your only possible course of action. If you don't make sport of yourself, the Republicans will tire of your tremulous leadership and will find some excuse to replace you. Mock yourself, and your popularity will make you one of the most effective leaders the House has ever had.

You may also find that if you make light of your tears, they will be less likely to emerge.


Anonymous said...

If his name was pronounced 'bow-ner' instead of 'bay-ner' he would have something else to make light of. :)

John Craig said...

I'm sure he WAS mocked for that in elementary, junior high, and high school. Maybe even college too.

Maybe that's why he cries so much.