Much of the media has been running with the claim that a president's request to speak to Congress has never been rejected until this week. Various Capitol Hill "historians" have been quoted saying that House Speaker John Boehner took unprecedented action when he cited the difficulty of hosting President Obama on the president's requested date of Sept. 7. We're not so sure.The truth is that you don't have to go back that far in the nation's history to find a similar circumstance. And unlike the current speaker, who quickly agreed to host the president on the following day, Sept. 8, a previous holder of the gavel refused to grant the White House request, regardless of the date and time.Hat tip: Greg.
The June 24, 1986, edition of The Wall Street Journal featured a story headlined, "President's Bid to Address the House On Nicaragua Is Rejected by Speaker." That's right, no quibbling over the date and time, just a flat-out rejection. In that case, President Ronald Reagan wanted to address the House before its critical vote on funding for the anti-communist "Contra" rebels in Nicaragua. . . . Reagan already had the votes to prevail in the Senate, and Mr. O'Neil wanted to avoid having the spotlight turned on the House, which would make him and his colleagues accountable to the public if Contra aid were rejected. . . .
A White House aide at the time tells us that Reagan simply shrugged off the rejection and said, "They have televisions up there on Capitol Hill, don't they?" He made his case on TV instead and then won the House vote to continue assisting the Nicaraguan freedom fighters. [Emph. added]
PREVIOUSLY on Democrats and short memories:
•Rep. Speier rewrites history
•Speaker Pelosi, the Democratic Party, and hysterical amnesia
•Rep. Barney Frank suffers amnesia regarding housing policy.
•Moveon forgets whether is supported or opposed Afghanistan war
•Memories work differently in adults and children