Boehner raising greenbacks with “wetbacks” congressman


House Speaker John Boehner took Alaska’s crusty veteran Rep. Don Young to the woodshed earlier this year after Young made a reference to “wetbacks,” but Boehner is now in Alaska with Young on a mission of raising political greenbacks.

Young is cosponsor of a fundraiser on Tuesday in Anchorage, at which Boehner will raise money from the National Republican Congressional Committee and other causes.

The minimum admission price is $500, and various donation categories go up to $52,000.  Ex-State Republican Chairman Randy Ruedrich told the Anchorage Daily News that “the minimum donation for the highest level” is $35,000.  Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is another sponsor.

During a spring recess, Young was interviewed by a Ketchikan public radio station and talked about his boyhood in California, saying:

“My father had a ranch.  We used to hire 50 or 60 wetbacks and . . . to pick tomatoes.  You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now.  It’s all done by machine.”

The “wetbacks” remark caused an uproar, coming at a time when Republicans were examining new ways of courting the Hispanic vote.

Boehner sharply reprimanded Alaska’s “Congressman for life”:  Young has been in office for 40 years.  “Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” said the House Speaker.  “I don’t care why he said it — there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.”

Young did apologize.  And, this week, he is hosting Boehner.