Article 2 of the United States Constitution specifies that the “executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” (No, Vice President Biden, Article 1 does not define the executive branch.)
We have just one president. While we may not always agree with the incumbent, the same article (i.e., 2) grants him a term of four years. And Barack Obama was elected to a just such a term. Given that we have only one president, it always seemed a little odd that our media have long allowed the opposition party to offer a response to presidential addresses. (Wonder if this process started in the Reagan era.)
Well, to his credit, House Speaker John Boehner declined to choose a fellow partisan to offer the Republican response and this has upset his predecessor:
Republicans also announced that they would not prepare an on-air response to the president’s proposal immediately following the speech, a decision House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, said was “disrespectful.”
“Listen, this is not the State of the Union address,” Boehner said when asked Thursday why Republicans would not give an official televised response. “The American people shouldn’t be forced to watch some politician they don’t want to listen to. And frankly, most of them would rather watch the football game.”
Sorry, Nancy, it’s hardly disrespectful. Instead, the Republican refusal honors the office of the presidency and the meaning of the federal constitution.