The oddest part of this question is that Boehner’s nothing like the stereotypical tea partier, which of course is whom Williams has in mind in asking this. He’s a consummate Beltway insider, less known for passionate ideological rhetoric than for his golf game (and for crying, natch). He’s probably bewildered by the whole Birther phenomenon. And in fact, he’s been answering this question the same way for upwards of two years. But if you land an exclusive with the Speaker of the House, why not take the opportunity to kook-ify him, right?
Actually, Rand Paul had a decent answer to the “kook question” when it came up in the course of Diane Sawyer’s chat with tea party legislators a few days ago:
RAND PAUL: I was just gonna interject that– that’s– I had one chance to speak with the President. And I told him that from one who is seen as being associated with the Tea Party, I want to make sure he knows that I want a civil discourse. Because sometimes in the media, they’ve portrayed 100,000 people at a crowd and one guy with a mean sign towards the President. That’s not me holding that sign or any of these people. We want a polite discussion. And we disagree. And it can be very strong disagreement. And his response was, “Yeah, we can disagree and not be disagreeable.” And I agree completely.
DIANE SAWYER: In fact, I read that your children would like to meet the Obama daughters?
RAND PAUL: We’re still workin’ on that. We would love to. Yes.
Two clips here, one of the Birther question and the other, more substantively, about which programs Boehner would like to see cut. As usual, he has no answer — and not only that, he goes on to say of entitlements, “Clearly, I believe in the safety net” and “I think we have a responsibility as a people to help those who can’t compete.” If you’ve been wondering why the Republican leadership hasn’t championed Paul Ryan’s roadmap, wonder no longer.