In his victory over Roy Blunt to replace Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader, John Boehner ran as the reformer. This weekend he hit the Sunday talk shows to explain just which reforms he had in mind.
Banning earmarks, as he promised to do during his campaign? "I don't know that it's appropriate to eliminate all of them," he told Tim Russert.
Banning privately-funded travel, as suggested by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert? "I've got my doubts about that."
Curtailing contact between lawmakers and lobbyists? "I've got a very open relationship with lobbyists in town."
Empowering the dormant House Ethics Committee? "I think the Ethics Committee process really, in fact, is back up, it's working. They know what the rules are, they interpret the rules."
Returning money from Jack Abramoff-related Indian tribes? "No. Those tribes gave money to my political action committee. It had nothing to do with Jack Abramoff...Some of his under--underlings worked with some low-level employees in my office."
Regaining the trust of the American people? On Fox News Sunday: "Taking actions to ban this and ban that, when there's no appearance of a problem, there's no foundation of a problem, I think, in fact, does not serve the institution well."
But enough about reform this and reform that. On to the other pressing issues Fox host Chris Wallace quizzed Boehner about:
WALLACE: I do have to ask you the one question that a lot of people asked me this week. How do you keep that tan?
BOEHNER: I was born dark, but I do like to play a little golf, and it's myescape from all of the pressures of my job.
Reformers yell fore!