President Obama wanted to give a jobs speech before Congress next Wednesday, but House Speaker John Boehner said next Thursday would work better. Obama didn't like the idea of Thursday at first, but relented. Why is a logistics problem like this a big deal?
It's sort of like watching a reality TV show about a strange subculture, like rich housewives or Jersey Shore vacationers or sorority girls. One of the joys of watching those shows comes when one person violates the strange little rules of the group--rules that are alien to the rest of us--and everyone totally freaks out over what looks like a minor misstep. On Real Housewives of New York, for example, it's against the rules to bring up a fight at a party. When one housewife does it, the rest freak out. Then they take refuge in the mantra: "This is not the time, nor the place."
Obama and Boehner both violated Washington norms yesterday. The White House says it alerted the House of Representatives to his speech request, and, as spokesman Jay Carney said on Morning Joe, "No objection was raised. The letter went up." But a Republican aide tells NBC News' First Read that Obama only gave Boehner 15 minutes before he went to the press. Politico's Mike Allen explains, "White House and Hill officials from several eras tell us these things are normally worked out privately between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue before either side goes public with a date." A Boehner staffer huffed to Politico's Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Allen, "It’s unfortunate the White House ignored decades -- if not centuries -- of the protocol of working out a mutually agreeable date and time before making any public announcement.