What a terrific quote from House Speaker John Boehner. (via Jed Lewison)

Boehner — now liberated from the need to be sit politely across from Obama in the Cabinet Room — is framing the debt battle in the starkest anti-Obama terms to rally his troops.

“Here’s the challenge,” he told his rank-and-file on a Sunday afternoon conference call, “To stop [Obama], we need a vehicle that can pass in both houses.”

I’ve read it a few times, and I can’t stop marveling at it.

As the House Speaker sees it, the principal goal here isn’t just to prevent a crisis of his caucus’ own making; it’s also to “stop” the president. Stop the president from doing what? It’s not entirely clear, but it probably has something to do with claiming any kind of political victory.

And for Boehner, the way to prevent the White House from getting the upper hand is to have a Republican House and a Democratic Senate approve a debt-ceiling increase that enjoys some semblance of bipartisan support.

Yeah, that’ll show that rascally president.

This entire process would be significantly less ridiculous if Boehner (a) were a powerful Speaker with the respect of his caucus; and (b) weren’t panicking a little about whether this fiasco will cost him his job.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.