As I tell my students, one of the presidency’s most important capacities is the opportunity to be the agenda-setter. The “jobs-bill” debate is a great example of that, and, to me, a pretty damned funny one. John Boehner* proudly released the transcript of the phone call in which he lambasts Obama for saying the Republicans don’t have a jobs plan. Boehner objected that they’ve had a jobs plan for months now…and then Republicans quickly submitted a jobs bill.
Sorry, Mr. Speaker, if your party hasn’t submitted an actual bill, you do not have a jobs plan. The bluster that you really have had one all along is weak sauce–you got scooped by the President, and he’s now set your agenda.
To date, Boehner seems to me to be an unusually incompetent Speaker of the House. He lost his first votes because he didn’t even realize he didn’t have support from his own party’s freshmen; he helped bring the country to the brink of default, and now he’s lagging behind an opposition party president on what is, to much of the public, the most important issue of the day. He’s supposed to be the leader of the House’s majority party, but whatever he’s doing, it ain’t leadership.
*Spellchecker doesn’t recognize that name, and has only one suggested correction. Yes, it’s just what you think it would be.