John Boehner Cries, Do Men Do That?

By Erin Matson, NOW Action Vice President

That John Boehner will be Speaker of the House is, I think, worthy of a group cry. Under the imprimatur of his expanding powers, HOPE has become shorthand for the aspirations of billionaires who don’t want to pay their fair share. We have repeatedly watched the Obama administration cave upon its ideals; now we are watching it crater under the tears of soon-to-be Speaker Boehner.

It is notable that Boehner’s “Pillars of a New Majority” released on the evening of the election begins with a speech given to the National Right to Life Committee, and that after the election he met up for a strategy session with anti-abortion rights extremist Randall Terry, and that he has warned his Republican men to stay away from lobbyists — if they’re women. For these reasons and too many others to list, Boehner offers a model of deeply sexist governance.

It’s counterproductive to use sexism to attack his politics. Lately the fashionable joke, as shown all over The View today, is poking fun at his propensity to cry. It is a punchline, a suggestion that he has a mental imbalance.

We all know that crying is considered “girly” behavior, and not very “leaderly,” and something that should be done in private rather than public. Crying is associated with “there’s something wrong with you,” “you need some help.” So often psychological states coded feminine are considered something to be treated medically rather than taken at face value.

I also find it offensive to give him the “strategy” cover — that he’s chosen to cry. As if it were not possible for a leader who is a man to cry because he needed to (and given the chaos he intends to unleash upon the country, crying strikes me absolutely appropriate).

What do you think?

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