Quotes Of The Day: The Cult Of The Presidency Edition

Speaker-to-be (he isn’t Speaker-elect until he’s actually won the GOP leadership elections next week) John Boehner had this to say at the press conference that Republicans held this morning:

“While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people’s House, we must remember it’s the president who sets the agenda for our government.”

To which Ezra Klein responded:

I’d like Boehner to show us where in the Constitution it says that the president sets the agenda for the government.

Indeed.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    Although, certainly, the president has been setting the agenda since FDR’s days. The president now proposes the budget and so forth.

    Congress can have an aggressive agenda — Newt Gingrich and company did — but it’s rare, indeed. And nonexistent if you don’t own the Senate.

  2. Michael says:

    James, I think the issue is that the Speaker-to-be is more or less admitting that business-as-usual will continue to be business-as-usual after he takes over.

  3. Tim says:

    You’re right. The House should be setting the agenda. I’m sure ‘ol Ezra will be cool with that.

  4. Mithras says:

    Boehner’s statement is just a mirror image of what Obama said today: We need the other side to cooperate to get anything done. Republicans will want to appear to be “doing something” for the economy and jobs instead of jumping right into investigations, impeachment and culture war legislation. If Obama and the Dems deny them wins on jobs-related legislation (the way the GOP did to Obama and the Dems the last couple of years), then Boehner will go the way of Pelosi in 2 years.

    Of course, Democrats are not as cynical or disciplined as Republicans, so of course the Dem leadership will give the GOP the opportunities they need.

  5. Tano says:

    I too find this statement to be very bizarre. It may be effectively true, but nonetheless, it basically cedes the initiative back to the President at the very moment of GOP triumph. If I were him I would claim a mandate, outline a program of how things are going to proceed, then force the WH to push back.

    But I guess all that would be dependent on having some sort of a positive vision of governance. I guess Boehner is doing the obvious thing given that the only real GOP program is to do nothing for two years except try to embarrass the President.

    By giving the ball to Obama, he is making a pretty big mistake. Instead of fighting to get his position back in the game, it is handed to him, and he can proceed to control the shape of the debate for the upcoming session.

  6. JKB says:

    I believe that statement falls under the “Don’t get cocky” category. Plus, we still have 75+ days to get through with a Congress filled with actual losers who’ve threatened to do much damage in a tantrum. Best to bide time until it is time to not be nice.

  7. mantis says:

    “we must remember it’s the president who sets the agenda for our government.”

    Party of No it is then.

  8. sam says:

    “Best to bide time until it is time to not be nice.”

    One of the things that was said of President Clinton was that he was lucky in his enemies — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same thing will not be said of President Obama.

  9. An Interested Party says:

    I’ve heard a theory that Boehner is peddling this line as part of a strategy that, if the country continues to stay in bad economic shape, the GOP will try to push all that onto the president’s doorstep…after all, he sets the agenda, so it’ll be all his fault…presumably, if this is a real strategy that is being pursued, its architects have to realize that now that the GOP has the House, that party also has some ownership of whatever happens in the next two years…

    “One of the things that was said of President Clinton was that he was lucky in his enemies — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same thing will not be said of President Obama.”

    The president has already had some of this luck…look at the various people he’s run against in his political career…

  10. MarkedMan says:

    Correction: The president has taken to proposing a budget. The Congress may or may not take that into consideration when they negotiate the real budget. Remember the “Dead on Arrival” presidential budgets?

    No, what Boehner is doing is saying “we are not going to accomplish anything and don’t intend to and don’t need to” because as long as we can run on what we are theoretically going to do and not what we’ve actually done, we’ll look great. My take is that they’ll work hard to benefit the wealthy, who funds them both electorally and privately, and can now fund them in secret thanks to the ‘non-activist’ Supreme Court overturning 100+ years of precedent. And they’ll work hard to block everything else. Projects that require national coordination cannot be done because these guys believe that anything that requires government intervention should not be done. (I use the term “believe” in the previous sentence in much the same way that certain doctors, employed by the tobacco companies, ‘believed’ that the evidence was still out on the cigarette/tobacco link.)

  11. MarkedMan says:

    Whoops. That last sentence should have been “cigarette/cancer link”.