The PJ Tatler

In Which I Admire John Boehner

Speaker of the House John Boehner takes a lot of abuse, between his opponents the Democrats and his supposed allies in the GOP.  Maybe some of it’s deserved; as I get older and craftier, I’ve started to notice that I often don’t actually know what someone should have done different. (This is a serious job liability for a supposed pundit, but let that pass.)  Mostly, it seems to me that Boehner is a wizard when people like an outcome, and a bum when they don’t.

All well and good.  When we’re making everything into 30 second sound bites, I guess we can’t expect people to look at the long term,

On Fox News Sunday today, though, Boehner said something that I think ought to be mentioned.  Chris Wallace pulled out one of this week’s Democrat talking points: since Congress has only passed 80 laws this session, isn’t Obama justified in complaining abut a “do nothing Congress”?

Boehner answered immediately and with some annoyance “Do we really want to measure Congress by how many laws it passed?  Most Americans think we’ve already got too many laws.”

Just stop and think about it for a moment.  Isn’t that a perfect summary of what’s been wrong with Congress?  That is, the unending desire to do something?  Isn’t it the “true conservative” position that Congress, in general, should leave us the hell alone?

Boehner may or may not be a good Speaker, but I’ll say this: I’m much more confortable with a Speaker whose first impulse is to ask whether Congress really ought to be passing all those laws.