Boehner’s frivolous, embarrassing lawsuit impresses the Wall Street Journal

WSJ's editorial board praises Boehner's seriousness as the speaker sets himself up for another humiliation

Topics: John Boehner, House Speaker John Boehner, The Wall Street Journal, Immigration Reform, deportations, Affordable Care Act, House Republicans, GOP, House GOP, Executive power, executive orders, Politics, ,

Boehner's frivolous, embarrassing lawsuit impresses the Wall Street JournalJohn Boehner (Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing)

The Wall Street Journal editorial board, long known for its unwavering defense of the president’s authority to spy on Americans without warrants and “the Bush Administration’s alleged ‘torture’ policies,” can’t abide by Barack Obama’s unilateral revisions to his law that gives people healthcare. In an editorial published this morning, the Journal argued that President Obama is guilty of “flagrant contempt for regular political order” by taking executive action to make changes to the Affordable Care Act and limit deportations for certain classes of undocumented immigrants. “When the executive suspends or rewrites laws across health care, drugs, immigration and so much else, elected legislators are stripped of their constitutional role,” they observe.

But the Journal is not without hope. Their sudden concern for the concentration of power in the executive branch has a new champion: Speaker John Boehner. News that Boehner intends to introduce legislation to initiate a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s executive overreach has left the Journal editorial board impressed with the Speaker’s solemn commitment to responsible government:

The Beltway press is portraying Mr. Boehner as merely serving carrion to the tea party vultures, and no doubt he hopes in part to sate the political appetites of the backbench. But we doubt he’d wager the House’s reputation, and his own, on a novelty lawsuit that the courts wouldn’t hesitate to toss as frivolous. From what we know of the Speaker’s deliberations, he’s been persuaded on the merits.

Who would have guessed that John Boehner and the House of Representatives had reputations to wager? Boehner’s personal approval rating sits at 31 percent. Congress’ approval rating is a muscular 16 percent. There’s not a whole lot either could do to make the public hate them more.



And I’m not entirely sure where the Journal got the idea that Boehner wouldn’t put himself in the positon of looking like an idiot. That’s been the story of the Boehner speakership. The failure of his “Plan B” tax bill on the eve of the fiscal cliff? An embarrassment for Boehner. The collapse of his debt proposal during last autumn’s budget crisis? An embarrassment for Boehner. The defeat of the farm bill last summer? An embarrassment for Boehner. Even his reelection as speaker was a humiliating affair, marked by rebellions and protest votes. House Republicans shut down the government on his watch. The guy is a walking own-goal.

And the lawsuit itself is absolutely frivolous. It’s based on an exotic legal theory that likely won’t survive scrutiny. Even if it does somehow survive, it will take years to work through the courts, at which point Obama will be collecting huge paychecks on the lecture circuit.

That brings us to the obvious conclusion that Boehner’s suit is quite obviously about riling up angry, impeachment-happy conservatives and has nothing to do with good government. If Boehner actually cared about the legislature’s loss of power to the executive branch, he might consider exercising the power granted to the legislature by the Constitution – namely, legislating. But, as we’ve seen, most of Boehner’s attempts to legislate end up with him stepping on rakes.

The Wall Street Journal’s enthusiasm for the suit is similarly political. They’re not concerned about concentrated executive authority; they’re upset that it’s Obama exercising that authority and using it to do things they disagree with, like making his healthcare law work and not deporting immigrants.

Simon Maloy

Simon Maloy is Salon's political writer. Email him at smaloy@salon.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SimonMaloy.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...