National Journal Boehner Burn Book: “Mad at Obama? Blame Republicans”

posted at 9:21 pm on June 4, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

The National Journal, a very serious publication whose mission it is to elucidate the politics of this great nation, would like to inform you that President Barack Obama bears no responsibility for his actions as the elected executive of the United States government. He is wholly a man acted upon, forced into any distasteful stretching of his Constitutional powers and his own progressive values by his adversaries.

If you are an urbane liberal or a disaffected Democrat, you may have been mildly disturbed by the signing statements Obama signs that he once decried; by his eschewing of the War Powers Act he once lauded; by his secret kill list and efficient droning of American citizens unencumbered by judicial proceedings; by his appropriation of the power to declare Congress in recess when it has declared itself in session; or by his waiving or delaying of large parts of the Affordable Care Act–all fueling a swing toward executive power that was infuriating under the Bush administration and now constitutes “the rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches,” as notable and liberal George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley put it.

If any of those things bothered you, does the National Journal White House Correspondent James Oliphant have a culprit for you: Republicans. There, that feels nice, right? It’s morphine for your intellectual open wounds, a facile salve for that itchy cognitive dissonance. Sink into the warm comfort of blaming every problem the country faces on exactly the people you already disliked. Because, journalism:

The carping is familiar. President Obama has “overreached” and abused his authority by releasing terrorist prisoners without notifying Congress and in promulgating new environmental rules. But, as usual, Republicans have few remedies beyond press releases and the promises of hearings.

That’s the state of play in Washington: trench warfare that has lasted more than three years.

Obama began 2014 vowing that he would no longer be sidelined by Republican obstructionists—and he appears to be making good on his threat. More executive actions are likely on the way, as the president may well impose deportation curbs if the GOP won’t constructively work toward immigration-reform legislation.

House Republicans should stop and consider it—not because of the political benefit the party might, maybe, enjoy by helping to broker an immigration solution. No, the better reason is this: If they truly fear the unchecked growth of presidential power, then their best option is to come to the table and force compromise. It’s the one sure way to keep Obama from going cowboy (or, in their minds, tyrant).

You know who else’s actions can and have kept presidents from going cowboy? The press. But today, the pen which was formerly mightier than the sword is more flaccid than the half-hearted chicken sandwiches of a working group on the Hill. The lowly reporter can do naught but observe that the “toxic atmosphere in the capital and the nearly total lack of trust between the two sides has brought about a situation that should make few who care about functional government happy.”

He can further observe that when the president acts on his own, he “engender(s) further mistrust” and “risks fundamentally altering the dynamic of power between the executive and legislative branches.” But to hold the president in any way accountable for the fact that the “monster is loose,” would be uncomfortable.

So, we have the predictable complaints about cap-and-trade, which “died a grisly death on the floor of the Senate in 2010.” The article allows, literally parenthetically, that its failure may have had something to do with Democrats who controlled the Senate opposing it. Democrats had 59 votes in the Senate in the summer of 2010, but Sen. Harry Reid abandoned the bill entirely, promising coal-state colleagues like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia that it was dead to ensure their elections. If one were in favor of a cap-and-trade bill, there was plenty of blame to go around for this whiffed attempt at passing legislation with 59 votes in the Senate and a catalyzing environmental news hook. Time outlined them, even mentioning the president among them.

If I may, let me offer another plausible inflection point for cooperation in Washington, D.C. Unlike James Oliphant, I do not wholly blame the Democrats’ unpopular, unrelenting, procedurally unconventional, and at times unscrupulous passage of the Affordable Care Act for every problem in Congress and the country, ever. I guess that would make me a reporter at a national straight-news outlet of some prestige. I am not that. Instead, I am a mere ideological hack who allows for the possibility that there are many reasons— systemic, Constitutionally designed, personality driven, and yes, particular to Obama’s failures and overreaches—that Congress isn’t passing his every whim as soon as it passes his lips. (It is, by the way, passing things, but those things are conveniently left out of assessments of the state of the country which rely on unrelenting Republican obstructionism as their mustachioed villain.)

The passage of a major entitlement without significant bipartisan buy-in was unprecedented. The passage of a major entitlement through reconciliation was unprecedented. The passage of a major entitlement so unpopular with the American people was unprecedented. The blaring failure to implement an ambitious major entitlement with a bare minimum of competence is unprecedented. The monthly declarations that the law can change to whatever happens to be workable at any given moment of its disastrous roll-out do indeed “engender further mistrust” that any future law —perhaps the comprehensive immigration reform Oliphant makes clear he desires—would have its hard-fought compromises and promises honored.

To prevent damaging overreach, just roll over, the entire column explicitly suggests–only to have Oliphant insist “this is not to suggest the GOP should ever just roll over on the president’s agenda.”

The last time I remember a report of a liberal paragon being rendered so helplessly forced into misdeeds by dastardly Republicans, it was in the Washington Post in 2009, where we learned Rep. Alan Grayson is a reserved intellectual who says crazy things because Republicans:

Back in Washington, he took to the House floor and denounced his colleagues across the aisle. “If you get sick, America, the Republican health-care plan is this: Die quickly.” A Harvard graduate with a soft voice, he had decided to fight invective with invective.

I could have saved you and the National Journal a bunch of pixels and time by editing down this column to its core:

“These Republicans are the nastiest skanks I have ever met. Do not trust them. They are fugly sluts.”


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If they truly fear the unchecked growth of presidential power, then their best option is to come to the table and force compromise. It’s the one sure way to keep Obama from going cowboy (or, in their minds, tyrant

Good luck widdat … He won.

pambi on June 4, 2014 at 9:32 PM

many repubs don’t think he’s going ‘tyrant’ only a handful of Conservatives do, but, at this point, “Weffing difference does any of this make right now”?

None, Zip, Zero and ZILTCH!!

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Weffing= What effing…

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM

I am so mad even my fingers can’t type let alone fricking spell!!

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Whole argument is undone by one solid, early fact.

Obama to Cantor – “I won”.

People forget Barry said this when Cantor was begging for some stimulus scraps so he could claim bipartisanship.

At the time, the GOP wanted nothing more than to be seen as co-operative. Barry wanted nothing to do with it.

And the rest is reality.

budfox on June 4, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Dumbass.
Nobody reads their crap anyway

Privatize It on June 4, 2014 at 9:37 PM

No, no, c’mon now … it’s not Republicans per se — it’s that idiot Ted Cruz who shutdown 18% of the feral government or something!

Well, either that or Anthropomorphic Continental Drift and Island Tipping …

ShainS on June 4, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Weffing= What effing…

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM |

I actually love this contraction. I shall use it!

Mary Katharine Ham on June 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

“If you get sick, America, the Republican health-care plan is this: Die quickly.”

Which is suspiciously like the democrats’ plan. Except expect to be bled dry first.

Judge_Dredd on June 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Weffing= What effing…

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM |

I actually love this contraction. I shall use it!

Mary Katharine Ham on June 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

I like it too – I thought it was on purpose and was very clever. I want to use it too!

Shay on June 4, 2014 at 9:43 PM

“See what you made me do now?

Ward Cleaver on June 4, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Good read, MKH.

wolly4321 on June 4, 2014 at 9:45 PM

…relative to Burke’s third supposition , the helix of constati…” HE DID WHAT!!!!”

SMACKRUNNER on June 4, 2014 at 9:45 PM

If the CEO of the US doesn’t obey/follow the Law of the Land, which American Citizen needs to?

Who the hell cares any longer? Seriously.

Think on that a sec.

Where I am, people are free to disengage, flout and presume they are above any law. (I don’t wonder where they get that view.)

I’ve often wondered when the average citizen would have had enough. Maybe we’re nearing that point.

jersey taxpayer on June 4, 2014 at 9:45 PM

The press corps id.

FYI, MKH — you misspelled “corpse” in the caption …

ShainS on June 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

“See what you made me do now?

Ward Cleaver on June 4, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Yes. Weffing childishness. I can remember getting punished more harshly for trying to blame my bad behavior on someone else.

Shay on June 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Oliphant’s ‘logic’ is similarly ridiculous to that of Joan Walsh, who is blaming Republicans for the fact that Hillary Clinton’s advisers and supporters went to The Daily Beast to distance her from Obama and point out that she was against the Bergdahl4Tali5 before she was for it, which was just before she became opposed to it, again.

Resist We Much on June 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Are you kidding me…this was political. The taliban would have jumped on this deal 5 years ago.

tomas on June 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

This is the genius who overflowed his skivvies when he learned the GOP wanted to ease restrictions on knife-carry laws, and why, because knives are just as deadly as guns or something.

Oliphant worked for the LA Times, you can’t expect deep thoughts from the man.

Bishop on June 4, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Scrumpy take credit and a small royalty for it. You coined it. I am your witness. ; )

Bmore on June 4, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Page bookmarked. ; )

Bmore on June 4, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Obama “The GOP can come for the ride…”

After refusing to endorse his party’s gubernatorial candidate and being told by Rhode Island Democrat Frank Caprio to “take his endorsement and shove it,” Obama kicked it up a notch and played the Rosa Parks card. That’s right – Obama, America’s first African American president, decided nothing else was working and utilized the opportunity to stir up memories of Jim Crow and discrimination against black Americans.

Beating the blame drum, the President said, “Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out.” Barack finished the “driving into a ditch” comment, with a stunning remark, “Now that progress has been made we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”

How much more provocative a comment could anyone make? Does Barack believe in political segregation? After lauding Rosa Parks for her “solitary act of civil disobedience” for refusing to sit in the back of the bus, Obama now relegates political adversaries to a seat viewed as a place of banishment for those rejected by an obviously politically prejudiced president.

thatsafactjack on June 4, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Those Taliban savages have been in Gitmo longer than Berg has been hangin’ with the Haqqani, why didn’t Bark offer up this deal 4 years ago?

Because what? He wanted a what? A second term? What secon…oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Bishop on June 4, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Umm, I see, it was his political opponents who forced him to pay 6 million dollars to buy a deserter and traitor back from the Taliban. No doubt so that they could tar and feather him with treason charges when the 5 Al Qaeda commanders use the 6 million dollars he paid the Taliban to kill more innocent civilians and American Military personal.

oscarwilde on June 4, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Such language, MKH.

kcewa on June 4, 2014 at 9:55 PM

If any of those things bothered you, does the National Journal White House Correspondent James Oliphant Sycophant have a culprit for you: Republicans.

FIFY, MKH… ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on June 4, 2014 at 9:57 PM

I am so mad even my fingers can’t type let alone fricking spell!!

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:34 PM

I always say my fingers are dyslexic.

crankyoldlady on June 4, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Wow. Well done, MKH.

drewwerd on June 4, 2014 at 10:00 PM

MKH, great writing. Really.

faraway on June 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Weffing= What effing…

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM

I actually love this contraction. I shall use it!

Mary Katharine Ham on June 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Thank You MKH!! :)

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Weffing= What effing…
Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM |

I actually love this contraction. I shall use it!
Mary Katharine Ham on June 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Behold! The corrollary to the Power of Proofread!

Well done, Scrumpy! Kudos, MKH!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 4, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Scrumpy take credit and a small royalty for it. You coined it. I am your witness. ; )

Bmore on June 4, 2014 at 9:49 PM

My royalties, I got, a huge grin on my face!!

Hope MKH will use it on tv, since I don’t have cable, watch out for it!!

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I am so mad even my fingers can’t type let alone fricking spell!!
Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:34 PM

I always say my fingers are dyslexic.
crankyoldlady on June 4, 2014 at 9:59 PM

I’ve been known to use the “I just washed my hands and can’t do a THING with them” excuse, myself… ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on June 4, 2014 at 10:03 PM

thatsafactjack on June 4, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Being offered a seat in Barky’s economic minivan; I would rather take a tour of the Bridges of Madison County with Ted Kennedy and a case of Old Glory bourbon.

Bishop on June 4, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Only one way left now to save/fix the country because elections and politics won’t do it. Never thought the country would ever see another civil war but looks like that’s where the left wants to go.

bgibbs1000 on June 4, 2014 at 10:05 PM

tomas on June 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

It wasn’t only political, it involved much dinero, compadre.

The Haqqani Network, who was holding Bergdahl is all about the bucks–think mafioso.

While the Tahlibahni got their wise-guys returned, the Haqanni’s didn’t simply act as a go-between. Those guys have always been about the bucks. (google it)

In that vein, what value was placed on the Idaho lad? How does that break down to each American citizen, or rather their children, grand-children, great-children? Will we, the taxpayer EVER know? Will THEY ever know?

I have never served in the military. If I had, I can only imagine the utter disdain I would feel for this entire ‘swap,’ brought to us by our own C-I-T (you figure it out.)

I pray that God, once again, turn His attention on the USA. Lord knows we need His Grace. Amen.

jersey taxpayer on June 4, 2014 at 10:06 PM

But today, the pen which was formerly mightier than the sword is more flaccid than the half-hearted chicken sandwiches of a working group on the Hill.

Most Bodacious Use of the word “flaccid,” MKH!

Fantastic column!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 4, 2014 at 10:06 PM

There are two factors that must exist in order for Obama to get away with what he has to this point, and what he is going to do the next two and a half years.

1) Obama not caring about the Constitution, America, or anything other than his agenda and that of his radical leftist supporters.

and

2) The supposed “opposition” party to sit idly by and allow him to do it all.

The Republicans in Congress are the ONLY ones in this country that have the Constitutional power (allegedly) to counter a tyrannical, dictatorial President.

If they will act on their sworn duty as members of Congress, then they’re just as much at fault as HE is.

Meople on June 4, 2014 at 10:15 PM

You know who else’s actions can and have kept presidents from going cowboy?

Is there something wrong with going cowboy, MKH? Have you tried it? :)

kcewa on June 4, 2014 at 10:16 PM

I am so mad even my fingers can’t type let alone fricking spell!!

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:34 PM

…just use two!…the middle ones!…it’s therapeutic!
(:->)

KOOLAID2 on June 4, 2014 at 10:16 PM

If they will won’t act on their sworn duty as members of Congress, then they’re just as much at fault as HE is.

Meople on June 4, 2014 at 10:15 PM

I really hate not being able to edit my posts.

Meople on June 4, 2014 at 10:21 PM

I really hate not being able to edit my posts.

Meople on June 4, 2014 at 10:21 PM

You just did.

kcewa on June 4, 2014 at 10:27 PM

You just did.

kcewa on June 4, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Yeah, but in a separate post, that doesn’t really count.

Although I do appreciate the ability to strike through and stuff. Some other boards don’t even allow us that basic function.

Meople on June 4, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Because Republicans… Because racism… Because corporations… Because fairness… Because because. It’s delusional projection with a complicit media. It starts in the school system and has to get really really bad before enough people start waking up from the fog. The sooner it gets that bad, the better. In that one regard, thank you Barack the Arrogant, Incompetant Liar.

MT on June 4, 2014 at 10:44 PM

My royalties, I got, a huge grin on my face!!

Hope MKH will use it on tv, since I don’t have cable, watch out for it!!

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I’m being serious. Mary Katharine can certainly afford to pay for your creative. If she uses it on tweety I’ll know. Cable, HeIIfire I haven’t owned a freaking tv in well over ten years. I have no ability to track that one. Lolz! ; )

Bmore on June 4, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Nice take-down.

Experience is a great teacher. Once you’ve read an Oliphant piece or two, you know the folly of reading any more.

Adjoran on June 4, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Wow, you know it is bad for democrats when it went from Obama is awesome to yeah he sucks but it is the Republicans fault.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 5, 2014 at 1:18 AM

The National Journal, a very serious publication whose mission it is to elucidate the politics of this great nation, would like to inform you that President Barack Obama bears no responsibility for his actions as the elected executive of the United States government. He is wholly a man acted upon, forced into any distasteful stretching of his Constitutional powers and his own progressive values by his adversaries.

If you are an urbane liberal or a disaffected Democrat, you may have been mildly disturbed by the signing statements Obama signs that he once decried; by his eschewing of the War Powers Act he once lauded; by his secret kill list and efficient droning of American citizens unencumbered by judicial proceedings; by his appropriation of the power to declare Congress in recess when it has declared itself in session; or by his waiving or delaying of large parts of the Affordable Care Act–all fueling a swing toward executive power that was infuriating under the Bush administration and now constitutes “the rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches,” as notable and liberal George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley put it.

That’s a lot of sarcasm in just a couple of paragraphs. I may have to let it digest before I read further.

Ahh, who am I kidding. I don’t mind a steady diet of sarcasm.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 5, 2014 at 1:27 AM

the president may well impose deportation curbs if the GOP won’t constructively work toward immigration-reform legislation.

A voice in my head keeps saying the GOP and Obama have already made a deal and a strategy to undermine the will of the vast majority of the American people–by rewarding illegal immigrant lawbreakers in order to attain cheap labor and a permanent bloc of leftist votes.

Don L on June 5, 2014 at 6:31 AM

So does everyone who uses “weffing” in their post have to send Scrumpy a dollar?

CurtZHP on June 5, 2014 at 8:17 AM

I had to squint while reading this, the righteous indignation burns so bright.

Nicely done MKH. Well done indeed.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 5, 2014 at 8:25 AM

So does everyone who uses “weffing” in their post have to send Scrumpy a dollar?

CurtZHP on June 5, 2014 at 8:17 AM

No but we do have to give proper attribution, thusly:

“Weffing” © Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM; Inspired by MKH commentary.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 5, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Weffing= What effing…

Scrumpy on June 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM |

I actually love this contraction. I shall use it!

Mary Katharine Ham on June 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

I’d love to hear you say that next time you and O’Reilly are debating MJ.

JoshuaH on June 5, 2014 at 8:47 AM