Washington Wire (Wall Street Journal):
“We as Republicans do not control this federal government—the other party does,” Mr. Cantor said Friday.
Many Republicans believe then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R., Ga.), after taking over the House in 1995, suggested, intentionally or not, he had more power than he did. That helped President Bill Clinton rebound politically, giving Democrats good results in the 1996 and 1998 elections.
“There was a time in 1995 when a lot of people in America seemed to think that we were running the government,” said Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, who was attending the House GOP retreat. “In fact, there were some Republicans in Congress who seemed to think we were running the government. I can remember a statement somebody made that Bill Clinton was irrelevant.”
Mr. Barbour made it clear that Republicans did not want to make that mistake this time. He pointedly lowered expectations for the GOP-led House, indirectly laying any blame for the government’s failures over the next two years primarily at the Democrats’ feet.
That could be an important bit of positioning when the 2012 campaign begins.
“The Democrats control the Senate. They control the presidency,” Mr. Barbour said. “House Republicans can try to stop bad things from going through, to limit or eliminate the funding of bad policies. But we can’t pass laws unless the president agrees to.”MORE...