Hillary confidant rips ‘alcoholic’ and ‘lazy’ Boehner in email
Hillary Clinton’s close confidant called John Boehner an “alcoholic,” “lazy” and a weak leader in a scathing email sent the night of the 2010 midterm election, when a Tea Party wave swept House Republicans into power.
“He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle,” Sidney Blumenthal wrote to Clinton, then the secretary of State, in a lengthy “post-midterms” memo.
Blumenthal went on to say that Boehner, who became Speaker shortly after the election, had tried to “buy” some potential GOP opponents in his conference with campaign contributions and plum committee assignments. Blumenthal also said Boehner had a weak grip on his conference and is “despised” by younger, more conservative members.
“His hold is insecure. He is not [Newt] Gingrich, the natural leader of a ‘revolution,’ riding the crest into power. He is careworn and threadbare, banal and hollow, holding nobody’s enduring loyalty,” Blumenthal wrote in the Nov. 2, 2010, email. “Boehner is beholden and somewhat scared of his base. He twitches when they make gestures that might undermine his position. His impulse is to hand out money. …
“But Boehner is neither feared nor loved. He’s a would-be [Tom] DeLay without the whip. He’s the one at the end of the lash.”
“Thx, as always, for your insights,” Clinton wrote back, though she didn’t reference any specific remarks about the future Speaker.
Blumenthal’s memo was among 7,000 pages of emails between Clinton and her top aides that the State Department released on Monday night. About 125 pages had been redacted because they contained classified information, and in some of the emails, Blumenthal’s unflattering observations about Boehner were redacted.
Last year, Boehner created a special House committee to investigate the 2012 terrorist attacks in U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that happened during Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom.
For months, the GOP-led panel has been probing a personal email account Clinton used while leading the State Department, raising questions about why she was sending sensitive information through a home server.
And Boehner has been using his bully pulpit to pressure Clinton and the State Department to quickly turn over all of the tens of thousands of emails the former secretary sent or received while she was at the agency.
“The fact is the only reason that the mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her staff has been exposed is because of Speaker Boehner’s decision to create the select committee and our members’ diligence and hard work,” said Boehner spokeswoman Emily Schillinger.
Blumenthal, who served as a senior aide to President Bill Clinton, was deposed by the Benghazi panel in June after it was discovered he sent Hillary Clinton intelligence on Libya.
Boehner appears several other times in the latest tranche of Clinton emails. On Jan. 14, 2010, a Clinton aide forwarded her an article about the sudden death of Paula Nowakowski, Boehner’s longtime chief of staff, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 46.
And on Oct. 9, 2010, Blumenthal emailed Clinton an article about an Ohio GOP candidate who for years dressed up as a Nazi during World War II reenactments.
In the email’s subject line, Blumenthal wrote: “Dems should demand Boehner remove this GOP Nazi reenactor. Put Boehner in this blitzkrieg. Sid.”
In the post-midterm memo, Blumenthal explains to Clinton that Democrats should capitalize on internal GOP divisions between the establishment and Tea Party.
“Congressional Republicans are vulnerable to a strategy that takes advantage of their internal divisions. Policies/tactics should be calculated to locate GOP fissures, find political space by widening schisms, and ultimately break them apart,” Blumenthal wrote. “This is, emphatically, not a strategy of bipartisanship as Obama has pursued it so far.”
— This report was updated at 8:48 a.m.
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