Sheila McLaughlin reports:
House Speaker John Boehner was one of the early backers of President Barack Obama’s call for a military strike in Syria.
So, how’s that playing in Butler County, the heart of the 8th Congressional District of Ohio?
Not very well, according to The Enquirer’s discussions this week with residents and public officials in Butler County, where Boehner lives and which holds the most political weight in Boehner’s five-county Congressional District 8 in Ohio. Butler County is a staunch Republican stronghold with the largest population and the highest household incomes.
It’s the same place where Boehner lately has come under fire from some of his more conservative constituents. They accused him of losing sight his Republican principles for repeatedly voting on measures to raise the debt ceiling and taxes.
One political expert said Boehner’s support might cost him votes next session for Speaker of the House, but he doubts it would oust him from Congress.
Of the 20 people the Enquirer approached about Boehner, some didn’t even know who he was, much less what was his stance on an attack on Syria.
Other opinions ranged from applauding him for at least making a decision to questions about whether he’s still a conservative. One person said he staunchly agrees with what Boehner did and that politics shouldn’t be involved.
Patricia Harmon, 49, of Middletown, suggested Boehner was a turncoat.
“I thought he didn’t like Democrats. Why is he all of a sudden backing the president?” she said.
Dave Kern, a tea party member and head of the Butler County Republican Party, thinks Boehner is misguided but doesn’t necessarily blame him.
“I think John was given bad advice,” Kern said of Boehner’s support of the president. “What the President has proposed to do makes no sense. But (Boehner) surely has been privy to reports that I have not seen and should not have seen.”
Boehner was one of few Republicans to come out publicly in support of an airstrike in Syria. He said the United States needed to respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, which reportedly killed 1,400 civilians in Damascus.
Since then, other local federal lawmakers such as Kentucky’s Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, as well as Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman have come out against military action.