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The Cult of the President lives on

One of the GOP's pledges was that "we will require that every bill contain a citation of constitutional authority." The idea, I guess, is that the government should run more as the Founders envisioned it. But then you hear John Boehner saying this:

"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."

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

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 12:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

I've seen quite a few Republicans, including McArdle and Krauthammer, stating that the Republicans, having gained control of the House, have no responsibility for governing.

Posted by: wiredog | November 3, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Ezra, the promise was to cite the constitutional authority for each BILL, not for every comment of every GOP member during a campaign speech.

Posted by: angrydoug1 | November 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

that's putting down a marker for pointing fingers at the administration in 2012.

Posted by: bdballard | November 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Boehner doesn't want to propose a budget.

Posted by: tl_houston | November 3, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Anyone find it interesting that one of the most active campaigners for Democrats was Bill Clinton? He may have stumped for more Democrats than Obama himself.

Suppose it's because Hillary was smelling blood in the water months ago, and Bill was merely passing out you'll-owe-me-later notes to the Dem's he was campaigning for?

The 2012 Presidential primary could be interesting....and I'm not just talking about the GOP side.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 3, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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

I'm confused...is Ezra suddenly admitting that all the blame-everything-on-Bush tactics were a farce since the President doesn't 'set the agenda' in our system of government?

Posted by: dbw1 | November 3, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I can't be the only one who reads Boehner's comment as saying:

"We don't have to come up with any new ideas to any of our country's problems. That is the president's job and if the country does poorly, then its entirely his fault."

Or, in other words, obstruction and finger pointing will remain the name of the game.

Posted by: Nylund154 | November 3, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I understand the colloquial language Boehner is using, but from a Constitutional standpoint, HE will be the "head of government," and Obama is the "head of state." The distinction of "head of government" vs. "head of state" is something explained in the first week of civics class.

Posted by: constans | November 3, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, if you are serious, this is a silly line of criticism. Akin to pointing out that the Constitution does not provide for separation of church and state simply because the exact words "separation of church and state" are not in the document.

The executive controls the agenda by virtue of veto power which allows the president to determine the number of votes necessary to make laws (50% + 1 or two-thirds). We've had a president too willing to defer to Congressional initiative these last 20+ months. I think its important that he reverse rather than continue that behavior.

Posted by: dollarwatcher | November 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please give Rep. Boehner a copy of the Constitution. Article 1, Section 7 says, "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives."

Posted by: sumipatel1985 | November 3, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Ezra:

We agree 200% on this extremely silly statement that will never happen!

Posted by: 54465446 | November 3, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Gee Ezra, let me give it a try...

"While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people's House, we must remember it's Ezra's job to deliver lame commentary."

Posted by: Idget | November 3, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

quote: Somebody please give Rep. Boehner a copy of the Constitution. Article 1, Section 7 says, "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." endquote

Well, that's handy, since Boehner and the GOP want to lower revenue. A lot. $3.7 trillion dollars in lower revenue, per Treasury Dept.

All bills for lowering revenue originate in Arthur Laffer's mind. A little known addendum to the GOP constitution.

Posted by: RalfW | November 3, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

He shall from time to time ... recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient

Posted by: gregjgrose | November 3, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, hows that hopey/chaney thing workin out for ya?

Posted by: broady | November 3, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Gee Ezra.......I think the founders did include in the constitution a whole Article II that talks about the president "leading" the country. President Obama had an agenda during his first two years and found no difficulty "leading" us down his path......why not now after the people have spoken??? Your point about Boehner's comment is truly "sour grapes" about the outcome of the mid-terms, don't you think???

Posted by: FrizOne | November 4, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

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