Many of those who fought to get outgoing House Speaker John Boehner away from his leadership post don't understand that he was the speaker of the House, not prime minister, Rep. Tom Cole said Monday.
"We have to school people in the realities of a divided government in a very polarized atmosphere," the Oklahoma Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
program. However, he said that the Constitution is set up as a system of check and balances, which means that no power is to be concentrated in one place.
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"This system is meant to be difficult," Cole, an ally of Boehner's, said on the morning show, and people who do not believe that may not have been around long enough to understand how the system of checks and balances works.
"It does concern me that a lot of them pride themselves of being defenders of the Constitution, and they clearly haven't read it," Cole said.
Further, Cole said that many people who believe the Republican Congress isn't working have been "systematically" told that by "people who ought to know better."
He said he wasn't going to name names, but the "reality is, we were elected to lower the budget deficit. By the way, we have. It was $14 trillion when this president took office and it's under $430 billion today."
Also, Cole said that Republicans were picked to give tax cuts, and that has happened too, as well as entitlement reform.
And while there are members of Congress calling for a shutdown unless Planned Parenthood funding is cut, Cole said that would be a huge mistake, particularly because of the upcoming 2016 presidential race.
"The most important thing we can do is win the 2016 presidential nomination," Cole said. "If we were to shut down the government now, as some recommend, that would make it much more difficult for whoever the presidential nominee is to actually succeed in the most important task. That's giving us a new president."
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