Ed Driscoll

The President Proposes, But Congress Disposes

Karl, one of Patterico’s co-bloggers explores who gets run over when the Chicago Way meets The Beltway, err, way:

Every generation (since WWII, anyway) seems to fall prey to the temptation of electing a hopey-changey Democrat. Yet every one of those presidents ends up having to deal with Congress. JFK fought Congress, and had trouble passing his agenda. Jimmy Carter fought Congress, and had trouble passing his agenda. Bill Clinton caved to Congress, which pursued an agenda that lost Democrats their majorities. Obama let Congress work its will and… well, you get the picture.

From time to time, we hear talk of “the imperial presidency,” but Congress remains the first branch of government. The cliche that “the president proposes, but Congress disposes” is closer to the mark, though Congress also does its share of proposing. Pelosi was not installed as de facto prime minister by Obama; she was elected by her colleagues in the House, who now have to live with that decision as they scramble for survival in the midterm elections. Pres. Obama may shake up his staff — but aside from helping smooth some egos, it will not fundamentally change the real problem on Capitol Hill. That may take a shakeup from voters.

Given the “blood in the water,” they seem more than willing to assist.