To accompany a piece on his management style, today’s Wall Street Journal includes an attempt to chart the universe of John Boehner, who assumes the role of U.S. House speaker on Wednesday.
According to the graphic, Boehner’s three best friends in Washington (all Republican, of course) are Rep Tom Latham of Iowa, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina – and Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
Asked for a few details, a spokeswoman for Chambliss pointed us to an October article in the Washington Post on Boehner’s comeback, which included this:
In Washington, Boehner is surrounded by a cadre of loyal, dedicated staffers and former staff members that forms the innermost circle of what they call BoehnerLand. Jackson, his chief of staff and confidante, is revered as someone who can deliver him news that he won’t hear from anyone else.
“There have been times when [someone] might have mentioned, ‘Hey, John needs to think about this, you know.’ And rather than going to John, we’d go to Barry, because he can talk to him like nobody else,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a former House member who is close to Boehner.
Boehner is not close friends with any of the other elected Republican leaders, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the No. 3 leader as chairman of the Republican Conference. Instead, he has a core group of friends from the rank and file in both the House and the Senate.
First among equals is Latham, who was elected in the last GOP wave, in 1994. Latham holds no leadership title and aspires to nothing more than higher seniority on the Appropriations Committee. He has free access to Boehner, serving as his eyes and ears on other lawmakers.
He and Latham are part of a “supper club” that also includes Chambliss and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), another former House member. Along with other lawmakers, they can frequently be found dining at restaurants on Capitol Hill.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider