Mike Kueber's Blog

November 20, 2012

Why does John Boehner cry so much?

Filed under: Relationships — Mike Kueber @ 5:35 am
Tags: ,

Anyone who follows politics has probably noticed that House Speaker John Boehner can bring himself to tears very easily.  This character trait came to the attention of most people in 2010 shortly after he became House Speaker.  He was interviewed on 60 Minutes by Leslie Stahl and started crying when he described his Horatio Alger story.  When Stahl asked him about his crying, he explained that he had a habit of choking up whenever thinking about the American dream or kids.  And because he wasn’t ashamed of it, he didn’t try to stifle it.

Shortly after the 60 Minutes interview, there were a raft of stories debating whether this crying was appropriate.  Most of the stories were either light-hearted or attempted to put the crying of politicians in a historical perspective.  In all my searching of the internet, I was able to find only two stories that seriously explored whether there was a psychological cause.  One suggested that Boehner’s excessive crying was a side-effect to excessive drinking/alcoholism, even though there was scant evidence that Boehner abused alcohol.  The other proposed that the cause was depression, but once again the facts didn’t reveal any signs of depression in Boehner’s life.

Boehner’s crying interests me because I have noticed a similar trait in me.  I just finished watching the movie Not Since You, and several scenes brought tears to my eyes.  Although I’ve always been vulnerable to a really sad movie, I’ve noticed in the past few years that it is easier and easier for those crying moments to happen.  It could be a movie, a song, or a story.  And it doesn’t have to be sad.  All sorts of sentiments or emotions can trigger it – happy, disappointing, inspiring, etc.

Like Boehner, I don’t know what’s causing it, and I don’t know why I’ve changed in the past few years.  It is not booze or depression.  And like Boehner, I am not ashamed of it and actually enjoy it.  But I still hope to gain a better understanding of it in the future.



  1. So interesting. My husband always tears up. He’s not drinking or depressed but any long conversation with depth brings tears. He can’t help it and I know it embarrasses him. He is in a professional position and often had to speak in front of public or staff etc. he also will tear up just talking about a particularly good ski day or a hike he did years ago or a dinner we had years ago. Weird but I still love him. I think boehner has same affliction whatever it is.

    Comment by Jenny Worth (@jw_worth) — January 4, 2013 @ 3:43 am | Reply

  2. Maybe it’s a hormonal thing. I’m retired and recently took up singing as a hobby. A sad line in a song is impossible for me. I choke up, but don’t lose control, although I did once while practicing a song alone at home. The people in the audience interpret my inability to finish a line as “touching”. I would rather it go away.

    Comment by Ron — December 22, 2016 @ 3:46 am | Reply

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