BOEHNER MAKES HIS CASE…. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has an op-ed in the Washington Post today on the Republicans’ “road back.” Most of it was just shallow, boilerplate rhetoric, featuring all the sophistication of a greeting-card: “If we return to our roots, to our belief in freedom, opportunity, security and individual liberty, our party will come back stronger than ever.”

There was one section, though, that stood out.

America is still a center-right country. This election was neither a referendum in favor of the left’s approach to key issues nor a mandate for big government. Obama campaigned by masking liberal policies with moderate rhetoric to make his agenda more palatable to voters. Soon he will seek to advance these policies through a Congress that was purchased by liberal special interests such as unions, trial lawyers and radical environmentalists, and he’ll have a fight on his hands when he does so.

In record numbers, Americans voted on Tuesday for a skillful presidential nominee promising change, but “change” should not be confused with a license to raise taxes, drive up wasteful government spending, weaken our security, or give more power to Washington, Big Labor bosses and the trial bar. Americans did not vote for higher taxes to fund a redistribution of wealth; drastic cuts in funding for our troops; the end of secret ballots for workers participating in union elections; more costly obstacles to American energy production; or the imposition of government-run health care on employers and working families.

This seems to summarize the Republican message of the week quite well, doesn’t it?

Democrats may have won the White House, expanded their majorities in the House and Senate, and claimed control over a majority of the nation’s statehouses, but it’s “still a center-right country.” Why? Because John Boehner and conservative pundits say so.

Boehner and his cohorts insisted as recently as five days ago that Obama presented voters with a radical, socialistic policy agenda, but as of today, Obama presented himself as a “moderate.” Got it.

And voters may have backed Obama by a wide margin, giving him the highest vote total for a non-incumbent in more than a half-century, but that doesn’t mean he has a “license” (read: “mandate”) to actually implement his policy agenda.

Why, exactly, is John Boehner the House Minority Leader? Now I remember — no one else wanted the job.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.