The first time I met John Boehner, after winning that special election to replace the late Nathan Malkin and rushing down to Washington to do a job for which I was little prepared (but very eager), was a revelation. For one thing, I hadn’t suspected a new Democratic arrival would be summoned to meet the leader of the Republican majority. I guess I’d forgotten he was speaker of THE HOUSE, of which I was now a part (I’m a redundant support beam). Sometimes, to be quite honest, it seems like HE forgets.

But I was welcomed — it was an orientation of sorts — into a room wherein he, in friendly but perfunctory manner, introduced himself while, mostly, paying attention to his personal activities. I don’t think he even looked at me, but then, he was also doing something he considered more important. He was painting himself, while we talked, with a viscous, orange/brown lacquer of some kind, using (I was surprised to note) a long wooden stick, like a back scratcher, but with a small brush on the end in lieu of etched fingers of bamboo.

I wasn’t interested in wasting time there anyway. I know this was something like an enlisted man fraternizing with a lady officer in the military, but I had arranged a date, in a cluttered janitorial closet in the bowels of The Capitol, with Mary Landrieu.

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