WASHINGTON, D.C. — As shock waves of political buzz reverberated around the Hill after Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he would be retiring from Congress in October, there were many in the nation’s capital who were bemoaning the Republican’s resignation, but they weren’t elected officials, or even employees of the government.
Early Friday morning, as the news of Boehner’s resignation spread around town, bar, saloon and pub owners all over town began lowering their cocktail napkins to half staff, dimming their outside lights, and turning over Boehner’s favorite seat at the bar in tribute to the man that many said almost single-handedly kept them in business. Patrick Redborn of The Colonial Washtub bar and grill just a mile or two east of the rotunda, said that Boehner was such a frequent guest of his establishment that when his daughter Abby graduated from high school two years ago, he sent Boehner an invitation to the party he threw for his daughter because “there is no way [he] could have afforded to send Abby to Columbia” without the money Boener spent at Redborn’s bar.
Jane Sizzlach told reporters that when she heard the news of Boehner’s resignation, she briefly considered selling her bar, Patriot’s Tavern, because she “honestly didn’t know if all the other patrons would be able to match Boehner’s tabs.” Sizzlach says that the new bar top and kitchen remodel she did last year was “solely thanks to Speaker Boehner’s tireless dedication to drinking booze” and that she’d “never forget” the vacation she took to Barbados a month after Barack Obama was re-elected. “Mr. Boehner was in here with Paul Ryan and Darrell Issa almost every night drowning their tears in their beers, and they racked up such huge tabs, I was able to book my airfare and hotel in Barbados and pay cash for it all,” Ms. Sizzlach said.
“He may go down in history as the guy who lead one of the most worthless, do-nothing congresses in the modern age,” Phil Richardson said, “but if you take away the fact that he was paid to write laws and he spent most of his time literally doing everything he could to avoid doing that job, at least he helped pay for my hot tub and my kid’s drum lessons.” Richardson has been the owner/proprietor at Lincoln’s Bar for twenty years and says that “as a citizen, I’m glad to see that lazy bum quit” but “as a bar owner, I’m sad to see the guy who was keeping us afloat skip town.”
Many bar owners have said they hope that Boehner at least considers sticking around as a lobbyist. Sizzlach said that he “wouldn’t be the first politician to say they’re leaving town only go right through the revolving door on K-Street.” She said that if Boehner can get a lobbyist position with a special interest group and “just cut back to coming in[to] [her bar] twice a week” she’d still be able to afford the new car she’s had her eyes on for months.
“Politics is a game that many have come here to play,” Redborn said, “and you learn living here not to grow attached to anyone for too long. But I know a great many of us here in the area that will be really said to see such a strong revenue stream retire. We all just wish him the best of luck in whatever drunken stupors he might imbibe himself into back home, and hope he’ll still think about stopping in every now and then.” Redborn added that “if John has half as much free time after he retires as he had when he was actually supposed to be working, he should have no problem finding time to pop-in and have his traditional ten-fingers of scotch.”
John Boehner became Speaker of the House in January of 2011 after the Republican Party retook controll of the upper chamber of congress in the 2012 mid-terms that brought the Tea Party to power. There is no word yet on who the remaining Republicans would like to replace him, but word is that one option is to install a giant vacuum that sucks up booze and cries. More on this story as it develops.