A leftover from yesterday via CNS but a fine note on which to end the week. There are three ways the House could punish Obama the next time he decides he wants to rewrite a statutory deadline for ObamaCare or unilaterally declare war in the Middle East or amnestize a few million illegals. They could impeach him, of course, but that’ll go nowhere in the Senate and will provoke a nasty public backlash against the GOP. That option is too hot. They could do what Boehner’s actually doing right now, suing Obama on separation-of-powers grounds, but most legal experts think the lawsuit is doomed either because the House lacks standing or because courts don’t want to meddle in an executive/legislative scrap. That option is too cold. The third option is to simply cut off his funding. If he wants to continue making law via executive edict, that’s fine; next time he comes looking for appropriations to run the government, Boehner can laugh in his face and tell him to get the money from Harry Reid. Under the circumstances, the power of the purse would operate as the impeachment process in reverse: Reid and the Senate could do whatever they like on funding, but their bills would be DOA in the House. No money for Uncle Sugar until Obama agrees to follow the law as written.
Boehner seems … chilly to that idea. Any theories why? Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why, four months before an election, he doesn’t want to commit to a new, protracted government shutdown to settle a debate over constitutional philosophy that most voters would regard as esoteric and unimportant? As I’ve said before, the main problem in punishing O isn’t Boehner, it’s the fact that most of the public doesn’t care about this stuff. If they like the ends that government produces, they won’t fret much about the means. That’s the stumbling block to impeachment. And to using the power of the purse.