Well, I don't remember him talking about that.  Maybe he was talking to somebody individually, or maybe it wasn't important to me among all the wonderful things that we were talking about of what we can do for the American people.  But the President's opinion or mine of Fox News is also I don't think important. 

—House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

That quote from the minority leader's presser yesterday really jumped out at me. She had been asked if she and the president had discussed Fox News coverage of the IRS scandal and Benghazi, about which he has complained, at the Democratic retreat.

Instead, Ms. Pelosi says, they probably talked about "all the wonderful things" they are doing for the American people. Is ObamaCare, a monstrosity that will depress employment but leave 31 million Americans uninsured, one of these wonderful things? The Americans who have lost their doctors and health plans—did Congress do wonderful things for them?

Granted Ms. Pelosi’s party has been in heavy spin mode lately, especially in the wake of a devastating CBO report earlier this week on ObamaCare and employment, but this sounds more appropriate for Lady Bountiful than for an elected legislator in a mature democracy. It assumes a passive citizenry waiting for the elites in Congress to send it goodies.

I am reading congressional debates from the early nineteenth century for a book I am working on, and the difference between those early congresses and our current ones is stark. The debates are easily comprehended two centuries later—one reason, aside from the great speakers (Henry Clay still stands out) is that government did not involve itself in the daily lives of the citizens. Thus government was less complicated—this, after all, was an era in which Congress debated the constitutionality of federal roads and other improvements.

Ms. Pelosi’s offhand remark was, like so many of Ms. Pelosi’s offhand remarks, inadvertently revealing.

In it, Lady Bountiful arguably revealed a view of the proper function of Congress that the Founders never intended.