No one seems quite as happy about House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) anti-Obama lawsuit as President Obama himself
. For the West Wing, the Republican litigation helps prove to the public, in a rather definitive way, that Obama's governing while GOP lawmakers in Congress sit around and complain. Indeed, the frivolous case is effectively a bold announcement that the Republican-led House wants the federal government to be paralyzed indefinitely -- which is hardly a winning message in an election year.
And so the president has ended up talking more
about Boehner's prospective lawsuit than Boehner has. "I told [the House Speaker], 'I'd rather do things with you, pass some laws, make sure the Highway Trust Fund is funded so we don't lay off hundreds of thousands of workers.' It's not that hard," Obama said
last week. "Middle-class families can't wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me. As long as they're doing nothing, I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something."
Yesterday, Boehner responded with a CNN op-ed
, defending the litigation he has not yet filed. It's worth scrutinizing in detail.
[T]oo often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws.
First, the Speaker needs to understand, in a "Schoolhouse Rock" sort of way, that the White House cannot create its own laws. That's gibberish. Obama can create policies through executive orders and executive actions, but those aren't literally new laws. Second, to help bolster his case about Obama abuses, Boehner referenced exactly zero specific examples.
What's disappointing is the President's flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend.
No, holding the debt ceiling hostage, vowing to crash the global economy on purpose while ignoring the "Full Faith and Credit" of the United States is a "flippant dismissal of the Constitution." Obama's use of executive authority, on the other hand, is fairly routine.
I know the President is frustrated. I'm frustrated. The American people are frustrated, too. After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, 'where are the jobs?'
Boehner may not remember this -- 2008 seems like a long time ago -- but Obama inherited the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. The president proceeded to turn the economy around, no thanks to Boehner, who demanded a five-year spending freeze at the height of the crisis, and has fought ever since for fewer investments, less capital, less demand, and higher unemployment through laid off public-sector workers.
As for where the jobs are, the United States is currently on track for the best year for job creation since the 1990s and June was the 52nd consecutive month in which we've seen private-sector job growth -- the longest streak on record. Why didn't Boehner read the jobs report?
The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills that would help.
Washington taxes and regulations always make it harder for private sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs -- but how can those employers plan, invest and grow when the laws are changing on the President's whim at any moment?
First, if presidential whims periodically change American law outside the constitutional system, then Congress would have a responsibility to impeach the president. Since this allegation is imaginary, however, there's no need. Second, if Boehner is concerned about employers' confidence in economic stability, the Speaker can approve resources for the Highway Trust Fund and stop playing games with the economy (again).
If House Republicans have a legitimate complaint, shouldn't it be easier for Boehner to make his case?