John Boehner’s propensity for crying is well known. He cried on election night last November. He cried on 60 Minutes. He cried when he was sworn in as Speaker of the House. He seems to cry at every major speech he makes. He even cries when he sees kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The man could power his own hydroelectric plant with the tears that roll down his face. It doesn’t bother me; real men do cry, and if he wants to show his emotions, that’s fine with me, as long as they’re genuine emotions.
So why didn’t John Boehner cry during the State of the Union speech?
The recent speech was peppered with the kind of rhetoric that usually sets him off: how any American can dream the American Dream and how America is still the greatest nation on earth (excerpt from the speech: We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.). He could have teared up seeing Democrats and Republicans sitting together, and actually rising together to applaud the president numerous times. Of course, the tragedy in Tucson that prompted such an unprecedented show of bipartisanship was on everyone’s minds, and that alone should have turned on the waterworks. Even I had a lump in my throat at the sight of Daniel Hernandez (Giffords’ intern), Christina Taylor’s parents, and GIffords’ medical team. I expected Boehner’s face to be streaked (literally, orange and flesh) with tears by the time Obama’s speech ended. But he remained dry-eyed.
Everyone has been talking about John Boehner’s crying. Newspapers feature it. Comedians lampoon it. There’s even a Facebook discussion page about when he will cry next. I’m hoping more people will be talking about why he DIDN’T cry during the State of the Union. Maybe he wasn’t really listening. Maybe he only cries during speeches he makes. Or maybe he senses a change in the air — the resurgence of the Republican Party, the wave of anger and discontent that gave rise to the Tea Party, Obama capitulating on the tax cuts, the faint suggestion from last night’s speech that Obama might be willing to backpedal a bit on the new health care law — which means that however many tears John Boehner might shed, he’s actually laughing all the way to 2012.