The politician who has done more than any other to set the national agenda this year will soon return to Washington. It is not President Barack Obama. It's House Speaker John Boehner.

After his annual August bus tour to help re-elect House Republicans, Mr. Boehner will spend a short vacation next week at his house in West Chester, Ohio, where he'll relax by cutting his lawn with something not often seen on Martha's Vineyard: a Toro push mower.

It's been a remarkable run for Mr. Boehner. It began even before he became speaker, during last December's lame-duck session, when outnumbered House Republicans outmaneuvered Democrats and Mr. Obama on taxes.

Mr. Boehner won by shifting the debate from whether wealthier Americans should pay their "fair share" to whether it is wise to raise taxes amid high joblessness and sluggish growth. It worked. Mr. Obama started by calling for higher taxes. He ended by signing a two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts.

Karl Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor and author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010). To continue reading his column in The Wall Street Journal, click here.