On the House | John Boehner

Summary of: On the House: A Washington Memoir
By: John Boehner


Embark on a journey with ‘On the House: A Washington Memoir’ by John Boehner, which offers a behind-the-scenes peek into the world of American politics. Discover Boehner’s personal insights into key moments in his life and career, from his humble beginnings in a working-class family business to serving as Speaker of the House. Also, delve into the evolution of the Republican Party as Boehner recounts its transition from the era of Reagan Republicans to the emergence of a new radical faction. This book summary provides an intriguing glimpse into the inner workings of American politics and the resilience it takes to navigate this complex landscape.

A Life Lesson Found at Andy’s Café

John Boehner’s journey from working at his family’s bar to becoming a politician driven by the values instilled in him by the establishment.

In “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John Boehner, recounts his life’s journey with anecdotes that shaped his political career. One such story goes back to his childhood in Cincinnati, where he and his family ran a bar called Andy’s Café in a blue-collar neighborhood called Carthage.

At Andy’s, Boehner learned the value of hard work and the importance of building relationships through respect and open-mindedness. While bussing plates and pouring beer for customers, he learned that it didn’t matter what someone looked like or how much money they had; everyone was welcome at Andy’s. The bar served as a microcosm of America, a place where hardworking individuals from all backgrounds came together to share a meal and a drink.

These values of openness, hard work, and community strongly influenced Boehner’s political life. He eventually became a politician who was known for his ability to work collaboratively across party lines and find common ground with his opponents. He believed that by being openminded and respectful, both Democrats and Republicans could find a way to work together and achieve common goals.

Boehner’s story at Andy’s Cafe and the lessons he learned while working there serve as an essential reminder of what is at the heart of public service: the commitment to serve and improve the lives of everyday people. It’s a message that is more important now than ever, as America faces serious political divisions. To move forward, we must embrace the values of democratic openness, hard work, and community that Andy’s Café embodied.

From Odd Jobs to Speaker of the House

John Boehner’s journey from working odd jobs to becoming the Speaker of the House is a testament to perseverance and hard work.

In 1968, John Boehner was a 19-year-old college dropout who was struggling to find direction in his life. He was overweight and addicted to smoking, but he refused to let these obstacles define him. Instead, he turned to a unique strategy to lose weight – smoking a cigarette every time he craved a snack. Although it helped him shed pounds, it led to a lifelong addiction to smoking two packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day.

Boehner faced another challenge – paying for college. He took odd jobs in construction and even joined the navy, but his time in the military was short-lived due to a spinal injury. He eventually enrolled in Xavier University, where he worked night shifts to pay his bills. Despite these hardships, Boehner felt aimless. He didn’t know what he wanted to achieve in life.

But everything changed when he met Deb, a young clerical worker at Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. Their love story began with just 15 minutes of interaction in the morning, and they were married within a year. Despite their limited resources, Boehner and Deb were happy and determined to build a life together.

Boehner found his calling in sales and joined Nucite Sales, helping the company expand and becoming its president after his boss’s death. His hard work paid off, and he eventually went on to serve as the Speaker of the House in 2011.

John Boehner’s story is a testament to perseverance and hard work. Despite facing numerous obstacles, he never gave up and remained dedicated to achieving his goals. His journey serves as an inspiration to all those who face challenges in their own lives.

John Boehner: A Journey from “Boner” to “Kindness”

John Boehner is a politician whose original German name, “Boehner,” was changed to “Bayner” by German-Americans over time. However, due to the spelling, his schoolmates used to pronounce it as “Boner.” In 1989, John enters the race for Ohio’s Eighth District against Tom Kindness, running on a Reagan-inspired platform to cut government spending and lower taxes. Despite having no contacts or donors and emptying his family’s bank account to fund his campaign, he wins both the Republican nomination and subsequent election, becoming a new kind of Republican for Ohio.

House Bank and Post Office Scandals

In the 90s, Washington was home to old-school “big-city politicians” who had made life comfortable for themselves. Representatives were paid by check, but these checks wouldn’t clear if deposited in another bank. They had to use the House bank for free overdrafts and loans. This institution was a black hole sucking up taxpayer dollars and bounced over 8,000 of its own checks every year. Boehner and a group of freshmen decide to expose the rot but are met with resistance from older members. The bank’s dealings were made public, and it was shut down for good. Next, the House Post Office was exposed for selling stamps to members who traded them for cash in late-night poker games, and even for buying cocaine. Some members and a staff receive criminal charges while the postmaster pleads guilty to wrongdoing. Gingrich sees an opportunity for a moral offensive against government waste and gains support from Boehner, who becomes conference chairman in 1994.

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