QUOTE OF THE DAY…. David Brooks noted in passing this morning, “Tea Party hype notwithstanding, most leading G.O.P. candidates either served in state legislatures or previously in Washington.”

A Politico report tried to quantify that a bit, analyzing “the top candidates in 20 open seats where Republicans are expected to replace retiring members and the 50 closest House races.” It found that “out of the 70 potential GOP freshmen, two-thirds will come to Washington with political experience.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), the would-be Speaker, offered a different assessment:

“The biggest thing that stands out to me is how many of our new members are ready, willing and able to make tough choices. Like me, these guys — and women — aren’t professional politicians. They’re small-business people and veterans…. People who looked up at what was happening to their country and said, ‘Stop!’” [emphasis added]

I don’t mean to sound picky, but John Boehner presenting himself as someone who isn’t a “professional politician” is one of the more ridiculous things we’ll hear today — and believe me, we’re going to hear a lot of nonsense today.

Look, I realize that “professional politician” sounds awful in the minds of many Americans, and Boehner wants to distance himself from the label. But the guy first entered elected public service nearly three decades ago. He was elected to Ohio’s state legislature 26 years ago, and served three terms.

Twenty years ago, Boehner was elected to Congress, where he’s served in multiple leadership roles. In a few months, he’s very likely to become Speaker of the House — the most powerful position in the legislative branch of government, becoming the lead politician in a chamber filled with other politicians.

If John Boehner isn’t a “professional politician,” the phrase has no meaning. The man has spent the vast majority of his adult life seeking and winning political offices.

If he’s not a “professional politician,” who is?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.