Support BikePortland

Rep. John Boehner: Widen highways for “American families” (updated)

Posted by on January 12th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

[Via Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips Blog]

Rep. John Boehner thinks
Americans don’t want
spending on bike paths.
-Watch video below-

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) weighed in on Obama’s big economic stimulus bill during an interview on the CBS News show “Face the Nation” (his comments were also picked up by TheHill.com).

Saying that the stimulus must happen quickly and in a “responsible way” he shared his thoughts on the infrastructure component of the bill (emphasis mine):

“I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion for American families? Is it to build some buildings that are necessary?…But if we’re talking about beautification projects, or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.”

Watch the video here:

I’m not sure what the link is between “American famillies” and widening highways, but I bet Rep. Boehner would be surprised to know that a growing number of “American families” go by bike (and many more would do so if they had safe “bike paths” available).

“American families” on a
“bike path” in Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus)

This is a familiar tone for Boehner. You might remember when he took a pot-shot at the Bike Commuter Act. He likened it to a piece of pork during a speech against the Energy Bill on the House floor in December of 2007 (the Bike Commuter Act ended up failing in the Senate that time around). Listen to him laughing about it here:
[audio:boehnerEnergyBill.mp3]

With stimulus bill talks heating up and with the transportation re-authorization coming this year, you can bet Rep. Boehner will be doing all he can to make sure the status quo is preserved…in the name of “American families” of course.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

75
Leave a Reply

avatar
75 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
48 Comment authors
natalie portmanspare_wheelAaronBent BlokeSpencer Boomhower Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
brian
Guest
brian

Jonathan,
Bonhner is calling us fat, “widen highways for American families”. He obviousley realizes we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic, but seems to be clueless as to how to solve it, ie bike paths.

Brad Ross
Guest

I’m all for widening highways. Hell, my ars is so wide right now I barely fit in a bike lane.

ambrown
Guest

It’s so frustrating seeing Republicans picking up on this “biking thing” as a piece of cultural warfare. Biking should be for everybody! I think biking advocates, in gearing up for this summer/fall’s reauthorization of the transit bill, should think seriously about how best to sell biking to the public/congress that’s going to vote for how this stimulus bill is spent. Senate Republicans sure seem to have already decided where they stand: Tom Coburn (R-OK) called a fantastic bike center in Minneapolis a giant piece of pork spending despite its overwhelming use:

http://www.startribune.com/local/36088634.html

As frustrating as this is, it was nice to read today’s article in the NYT about our lovely congressmen Earl.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

It seems very odd in the wake of all the news around Portland’s burgeoning bike economy to hear that a rep. from Ohio is slagging bikes. Ohio is the home to Huffy bikes, and although no longer made in the US huffy is the #1 bike brand in the US. Their headquarters continues to be in Ohio, although I am not sure if it is in his district.

Bjorn

chuck
Guest
chuck

heh, Boehner…

what? someone had to do it.

Joe
Guest
Joe

waiting for something like this for along time!

Donna
Guest
Donna

Jonathan – remember that gentleman who did that piece on bike commuting for the 700 Club a while back? I’m wondering if he can speak a language that Rep. Boehner can comprehend…

dan Kearl
Guest
dan Kearl

Boehner is a ***** who totally represents the republican party. We should be sending him campaign contributions! Palin/Boehner in 2012. These people are a joke and hopefully will continue to represent the 20% of the country who just doesn’t get it.

joeb
Guest
joeb

Hey I think Boehner is exactly qualified to run for CEO of General Motors. He knows exactly what American’s want and it sure ain’t some sissified gas sipping compact. I’m pretty tired of national and corporate leaders completely missing the boat and trying to sell me something I totally don’t want.

Hanmade
Guest
Hanmade

Another reason I moved out of Ohio so many years ago, I just needed to get away from people like him!

Hart
Guest
Hart

Yeah, this guy’s a ***** alright.

Coyote
Guest
Coyote

Boehner is a ****. He is among the worst of the worst.

Tom
Guest

I think the term “bike paths” should be changed to “bike roads.” They are our roads and I think the term would sit a bit heftier in the minds of these type of people. Who’s with me?

John Peterson
Guest
John Peterson

Pay no mind Boehner is a republican–they don’t really matter anymore…

John
Guest
John

Because nothing says family values louder than bigger highways!

Think of the children.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest

I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I don’t recall any families there asking for widening highways.

r
Guest
r

the quote was reprinted on thehill.com, but the source was an appearance on “face the nation”
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4712899n
watch the man’s fingertips

joe
Guest
joe

it is good to know the enemy.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

Jonathan, you picked a particularly benign picture of Mr. Creepmeister Tanning Bed Boehner.

He’s the guy who was the bagman for the tobacco lobbyists, handing out checks, literally, on the House floor in the 1990s.

Whaddya want to bet that there are some oil/car industry lobbyists padding his pockets.

Lacorota
Guest
Lacorota

Seems the GOP is still enjoying the all-night party fueled by cheap petroleum, expensive wars, and inefficient SUV’s.
Remember the Russian proverb: “THE FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD BACK.”

beth h
Guest

I guess my family’s not American anymore.

..::sigh::..

Hart
Guest
Hart

Boner(R) looks like he’s wearing guy-liner in the photo atop the page. Perhaps Guilianni gave him some makeup tips.

Brian
Guest

Join my Facebook group:
I bet I can find 1 Million American families who want big beautiful bike paths.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/edit.php?gid=129767400136#/group.php?gid=129767400136

Be a warrior in the war on obesity. Ride a bike.

Matt Kelly
Guest
Matt Kelly

Hanmade,
I too am from Ohio and I wrote the leader a sensible email including reasons why I’m proud to be from Ohio (including the bike path project that attempts to connect Cincinnati with Cleveland. Some sections of this path are subpar, but I think the idea is great). I suggest you do the same.

asktheleader@mail.house.gov

If you or others act like an ass, then you make my email less effective (i know, i know), so please write an email that you’d listen to if you were on the other side of the argument.

Matt Kelly

Matt Kelly
Guest
Matt Kelly

forgot to mention that the entire airline industry came from two brothers who ran a bike shop in dayton, ohio. that whole “first in flight” vs. “birthplace of aviation” rivalry comes down to bragging rights about two bike shop owners. bikes and innovation…

(not that airline travel is not without problems…)

Spencer Boomhower
Guest
Spencer Boomhower

There was a presentation on traffic-calming a while back which, among other things suggested that while most people think widening roads will make them safer, it turns out the opposite is true. Widening roads induces faster driving because, when presented with a wide-open expanse of asphalt, drivers feel safer going faster. This causes more crashes, more injuries, and more pollution, all of which harm Americans. And their families.

Why does Rep. Boehner hate American families?

Hart
Guest
Hart

Maybe John the Boner can join Joe the Plumber in Gaza where they can both argue for why Israel has the right to kill Palestinians with white phosphorus.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Brian (#23), I’d be more likely to join your Facebook group if you didn’t insist on mixing useful advocacy (showing broad support for bike facilities) with juvenile humor (the congressman’s name is pronounced “BAY-ner”, not “Bone-er” as you put on the Facebook site.

As Matt mentioned above, calling the guy an ass and making fun of his name won’t be likely to shift his opinions, those of his colleagues in Congress, or make the bike community look good.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Hey, sometimes an ass is just an ass!

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

“As Matt mentioned above, calling the guy an ass and making fun of his name won’t be likely to shift his opinions, those of his colleagues in Congress, or make the bike community look good.”

thanks for saying that Patrick. I agree folks, I have tried to edit some of these comments, but it’s hard to keep up.

And yes, his last name is pronounced BAY-ner and if you really want to change the world, I’ve found that it usually works better to start from a position of respect.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Just like the Republicans to deny that there is an epidemic of obesity, and that our environment (and economy) is falling apart, and suggest that a fix is to continue to bow to foreign oil…

All hail OPEC!!!
OPEC is Freedom!

F*** OPEC!

Liz
Guest
Liz

I wrote him a letter telling him about my family and our feelings.

It took as much time as commenting on this board for people who agree with me.

Andrew H
Guest
Andrew H

You can post a comment with the video on Boehner’s YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW_B7Q2n29M&feature=channel_page

It’d be nice for him to be reminded that families live in neighborhoods, not on freeways. And that communities that have invested in bike paths and other local amenities are far more family-friendly than those that raze the land to serve the auto.

Jeremy
Guest

we can bark all we want, but at the end of the day the dog that gets the best seat on the couch is the dog that sets the best example. behave in a manner that doesn’t encourage wider freeways, thereby providing data that supports the inverse argument. true, a longer, less-direct approach, but perhaps a more solid foundation for the counter-argument.

Hart
Guest
Hart

I’m tired of progressives constantly being told they have to be the ones to treat bigoted, oil-hungry republicans with respect in order to change the world.

Sometimes a little social ridicule is required to let a person know their actions or attitude are not tolerated.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

“I’m tired of progressives constantly being told they have to be the ones to treat bigoted, oil-hungry republicans with respect in order to change the world.

Sometimes a little social ridicule is required to let a person know their actions or attitude are not tolerated.”

I hear you Hart… and I agree to some extent. It’s just hard from an editorial perspective to let insults stand on this site….no matter who they’re pointed at.

Because when the tables are turned, people will write me and say, “Hey! why do you let insults at so-and-so stand while you edit out insults at so-and-so. You’re not being fair!”

Also, I think one of the great lessons for America with Obama was that he maintained his respect and composure throughout the campaign.

ridicule is tricky to do well. there are risks in coming off as being no better than the folks you’re trying to poke fun at.

steve
Guest
steve

Respect and composure? Which campaign were you watching?

Boehner is a paid employee. Write all the feel good, persuasive letters you want. Until you are greasing his pockets with more cash than the next guy, he will have a deaf ear and a blind eye. Just like Obama.

jami
Guest

Be careful with this issue, folks. This is Republican divisive genius at work. There are indeed families in rural areas who still need safe highways. They grow our food (for example) and it is legitimate for them to live in the middle of nowhere.

What Boehner is doing is trying to paint families who live in urban areas who would prefer safe streets with slower traffic as unAmerican, turning us against rural families who still need good highways and vice versa.

It never ceases to amaze me how astoundingly good Republicans are at saying city people are not real Americans without coming right out and saying it.

jami
Guest

Be careful with this issue, folks. This is Republican divisive genius at work. There are indeed families in rural areas who still need safe highways. They grow our food (for example) and it is legitimate for them to live in the middle of nowhere.

What Boehner is doing is trying to paint families who live in urban areas who would prefer safe streets with slower traffic as unAmerican, turning us against rural families who still need good highways and vice versa.

It never ceases to amaze me how astoundingly good Republicans are at saying city people are not real Americans without coming right out and saying it, though they do let it slip directly on occasion.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

There’s a summary of House Minority Leader John Boehner’s positions at ontheissues.org.

John Boehner on the issues

In their words, “John Boehner is a Hard-Core Conservative.”. At that site, check out his position on ‘energy and oil’ and ‘environment’.

Having been a big time dude as House Majority Leader after Tom Delay compromised himself, and even now, as House Minority Leader, perhaps he imagines saying things like this will strengthen his political party.

Hart
Guest
Hart

“ridicule is tricky to do well. there are risks in coming off as being no better than the folks you’re trying to poke fun at.”

Agreed. It’s fun to poke fun of his name on the internet, but I know we all appreciate that you’re running something far more respectable than the average flame war forum here.

Boehner probably will never be convinced cycling is the future by being called names, though he’s not likely to be convinced period. Leading his constituents by example is obviously the most prudent route to a cross-class bike culture.

So when I say that Boehner is the poster boy for oil-lust and should be looked down upon for perpetuating pollution and more environmental destruction, I’m judging him purely on the content of his character, and not upon the way his name looks.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

(my letter to House Minority Leader)
Mr. Boehner;
I am deeply disturbed by your consistent outspoken opinions stating that infrastructure which favors the car is important while infrastructure for bicycle users is not worthwhile. This is not a black & white issue to pit one side against the other.
There are rural populations such as farmers and truckers which bring food and supplies across the country. These people need safe roads to support the populations who depend on them.
There are also populations in small towns and large cities who live within 10 miles of their destinations and would prefer riding a bicycle (or taking a bus) to get around. These people are doing the country a great service by reducing congestion, reducing dependence on Saudi Arabia (and Russia, and Venezuala) while also reducing the cost of maintaining roads.
I have spoken with many traffic planners and studies conducted by professionals prove that wider roads incite more dangerous driving and lead to more highway deaths.
Please reconsider your opinion on transportation.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Thank You Aaron!

wow
There are also populations in small towns and large cities who live within 10 miles of their destinations and would prefer riding a bicycle (or taking a bus) to get around. These people are doing the country a great service by reducing congestion, reducing dependence on Saudi Arabia (and Russia, and Venezuala) while also reducing the cost of maintaining roads.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Boehner will matter as long as Obama, Lieberman, and all the other Democratic sissies keep listening and bending to his ridiculous verbal pablum.

As it stands, Obama keeps giving him an ear so we have to keep listening.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Obama listens because it’ his job. You don’t have to listen to Boehner. You don’t have to put your ear anywhere near a Boehner.

peejay
Guest
peejay

jami @ 39 (and again @ 40):

You make a good point, but I would argue that the farmers in rural communities have had the roads they need for some time, and any widening is done for the benefit of the crappy housing developers who are intent on replacing the farmlands with ex-urban developments that are obscenely far from the jobs that its intended residents work at. The highways are all about making a long daily commute more palatable for these new residents, not for the sake of the farmers. However, such subtlety gets lost on Boehner’s intended audience.

And Jonathan, all due respect, but this guy is an ass, and I feel we should be comfortable calling him that. He’s not going to change his viewpoint as a result of a few respectful emails, or any facebook groups. The way to deal with a guy like this isn’t reasoned discourse, it’s at the polls, when the good citizens of Ohio relieve him of his duties.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Brad:

You got that right! Although, please don’t call Lieberman a Democrat. The Democrats need to stop being so deferential to the minority party and start doing the job they were elected to do, or we will have to choose better Demorats through the primary process. The Republicans will have to finish their self-destruction and someday form a new, sane party, one that might give us an actual choice at the ballot box.

Brian
Guest

Patrick (#28),
You say tu-ma-da, I say toe-ma-toe. You say puh-ta-da, I say pot-a-toe. I know a boner when I see one.

Come-on, this guy doesn’t even take himself seriously:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-_1_WxExiM&feature=related

trackback

[…] 14, 2009 by johnwirtz I found this interesting link on BikePortland.org: Rep. John Boehner: Widen highways for “American families” (updated) House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) weighed in on Obama’s big economic stimulus bill during […]

Dan Kaufman
Guest

I cut down the video to just the infrastructure section and posted to YouTube:
http://tinyurl.com/8qj676