Much ink has been spilt about the new Republican Congressional Majority. But perhaps readers are unaware of the comparisons being floated between incoming House Speaker John Boehner and the erstwhile King of Cool himself, Dean Martin.
To wit, no less than three press shops have made the comparison – one as long ago as 2006:
Easygoing and well liked, with a perpetual tan, a low golf handicap and an ever-present Barclay cigarette between his fingers, Mr. Boehner, 56, looks like a throwback to the 1950’s — Dean Martin comes to Congress. But he is known around the House as a serious legislator, a pro-business lawmaker who is one of the few senior Republicans who can work with Democrats.
Building on the NYT’s motif, AOL’s Politics Daily recently mused, “Who Is John Boehner: Dean Martin? Don Draper? Or the Next Newt Gingrich?” While U.S. News’s Washington Whispers delivered the most glowing comparison of all:
Like a character out of Mad Men, likely incoming House Speaker John Boehner is about to bring old-school cool and political wrangling back into fashion. “He’s so cool, every man should hate him,” says Tea Party organizer Dick Armey, who calls Boehner the “Dean Martin of politics.”
Notwithstanding the fact that I am a Republican and the fact that Speaker Boehner is, indeed, pretty cool, comparing an individual to the standard of cool set by Dean Martin is a serious compliment – certainly not one to be taken lightly. A penchant for slick suits and cigarettes simply is not enough. Like the CIA looking for weapons of mass destruction, we require further proof.
The most instructive analysis on this score comes from the Daily Beast’s post-election article describing the new Speaker’s fondness for hooch. Two quotes are on point:
When President Obama suggested a “Slurpee Summit” with Boehner and his colleagues this week, the likely Speaker came back with a counterproposal.
“I don’t know about a Slurpee,” he told ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “How about a glass of Merlot?”
“You have a good party and people tend to show up for the next one,” Boehner once told The Hill. “You’d better make sure the first one’s a good one.”
While comparisons alone are insufficient to bespeak a ‘coolness connection’, I think that Dino Martin would approve of merlot over Slurpees. And he certainly would approve of a good party. After all, if we can say anything at all about Dean Martin, it’s pretty clear the man loved life.
So, as a final verdict, we’ll let the comparison stand for now– at least until Speaker Boehner does something to require a rescission. As with Dino, It’s hard to call the man set to put the party back in GOP anything but cool.
By the by, special thanks to Dean Martin aficionado “Dino Martin Peters” for calling the US News piece to my attention. DMP has a terrific site discussing all things Dean Martin since 2007. His slice of the web can be accessed at http://ilovedinomartin.blogspot.com/ .
As a special note, last week’s “Song of the Week: On an Evening in Roma” was featured recently on DMP’s site. It’s a great privilege for us here at Pax Plena to connect with the broader community of Dean Martin fans on the web. Thanks a ton!