According to prosecutors, Michael Hoyt heard voices. The 44-year-old bartender at the Wetherington Golf & Country Club in West Chester, Ohio also frequently served House Speaker John Boehner. Hoyt had grown convinced that Boehner was frequently rude to him. He blamed the Speaker for the spread of Ebola to the United States. The voices in his head told Hoyt that John Boehner was the devil, and he planned to expose him to the world. So he hatched a plot.
According to police, Hoyt had a detailed plan to slip poison into Boehner’s drink, shoot him with a Beretta .380 automatic, and disappear.
While assassination threats against any member of Congress, much less the man third in line to the presidency, are extremely serious, it is unclear just how much of a threat the unstable individual represented. Hoyt was crying out for help. He emailed Boehner’s wife twice, and he called officers in October in order to confess his plan. “He said he hoped sharing his threats with law enforcement officers would prompt Boehner to apologize, and force him to discuss the issue of Ebola,” CNN reported.
Hoyt is mentally ill, and he apparently knew he needed professional help. That doesn’t make his threat any less real, nor does it mitigate the gravity of his crime. According to an op-ed in The Boston Globe property Boston.com, however, this incident is positively hilarious.
In an op-ed dripping with as much hatred for Boehner as it is with failed attempts at humor, the editor Victor Paul Alvarez sacrifices his credibility for a cheap laugh at the would-be victim’s expense.
“The FBI says an Ohio bartender planned to kill House Speaker John Boehner last October by poisoning his drink at a country club,” Alvarez began. “The question is: Would anyone have noticed?”
“Stories about Boehner’s drinking have circulated for years,” he ill-advisedly continued. “His drinking inspired a blog called DrunkBoehner, and in 2010 he brought booze back to Washington. Had he been poisoned as planned, perhaps his pickled liver could have filtered out the toxins.”
After briefly skimming over the details of the assassination plot against Boehner, Alvarez closes by noting that the speaker “began working at his family’s bar at age 8.” The implication in this final sentence is not to make note of Boehner’s sterling work ethic.
If John Boehner were a Democrat and this blurb had appeared in The Wall Street Journal, we don’t need expend much energy in order to imagine what the reaction would have been.
Boehner, a man of Irish descent, was subjected to the most outrageous anti-Celtic slanders, the center-left media would aver. The toxic assertion that Boehner is a “drunk” and that his “liver” is “pickled” is derivative of a strain of nativist thought prevalent among the Protestant chauvinists of the early 19th Century. Alvarez is invoking stereotypes of another age in which Irishmen and women were depicted as brutish thugs, controlled by drink, and loyal only to Romanism.
In this op-ed, the hollow liberal parlor trick of divining “coded” racism, classism, or other forms of prejudice out of everyday occurrences is exposed as sophistry. Inferring bigotry from words like “constitution,” “Hussein,” “golf,” and “cool” is a mark of intellectualism for so many unjustifiably self-assured, but glaring, hateful bias right under their nose inexplicably escapes them. The cast of characters that spent a month in the wake of the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords lecturing conservatives on their hateful rhetoric just cannot move themselves to condemn Alvarez’s lament that the plot against Boehner was unsuccessful.
The publication of this conspicuously irresponsible Boston.com op-ed may end up sparking a moment of clarity. Perhaps this commentary will catalyze a movement in which the left seeks to impose some accountability on its members and forces them to live by the standards that they have set for millions of others. Just don’t hold your breath.
UPDATE: The editors have belatedly removed this op-ed’s “unsubstantiated” reference to Boehner’s liver. There is, however, no apology offered for it’s historically loaded undertones. If only that selective blindness would be applied more often.