We have all seen it. Those baby blue eyes that well up with shining tears as the mouth crumples and he gallantly tries to hold back the impending flood of pseudo emotion that is about to be unleashed.
Yes, I am talking about the newly elected Weeper – I mean, Speaker – of the House John Boehner.
Even after being anointed the leader of the Republican Party, newly elected Boehner sure can find a lot to cry about.
In a nationally broadcast interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Boehner broke down again last week, but his colleagues in Washington were not surprised. Boehner crying is not a new spectacle to them, but rather something he has been doing his entire career.
When beginning the research for this column, I went to YouTube to see some firsthand footage of this latest political spectacle. In fact, when you type “Boehner” in the search bar, the suggested search happens to be “Boehner Crying.” How about that for your political legacy?
Now I am not here to join in the popular discourse surrounding the authenticity of Boehner’s tears. Whether or not the crying is a political calculation or genuine outburst of emotion does not matter to me, but the way it is received does.
When Hillary Clinton showed emotion and welled up during a campaign stop during the 2008 primary, she garnered volumes of negative press. Some declared her emotion a calculated political ploy; others declared her as weak and unfit to serve as president. Regardless of the real reason Clinton became emotional, she was not seen in a positive light after the incident.
It seems that female politicians who cry or show emotion are condemned for their actions, yet when a male politician shows emotion he is applauded for being sensitive.
The fact that it is OK for John Boehner to sob on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, or repeatedly well up during one-on-one interviews, is not OK. Politicians showing emotion is not a bad thing, but the unfair application of this standard is.
Until we start holding female and male politicians to the same standard, we will just have to live with the antics of the Weeper of the House.