Obama’s immigration stance against GOP: Crazy like a fox
President Obama seems to be on the verge of following in the footsteps of two Republican presidents. He is poised to issue the same kind of executive orders shielding immigrants from deportation that were issued by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Of course, when Reagan and Bush issued those same orders, it was seen as a humanitarian gesture to keep families together. According to an AP story, “Two of the last three Republican presidents — Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — did the same thing in extending amnesty to family members who were not covered by the last major overhaul of immigration law in 1986.”
But when Obama talks of doing the same, it must be an impeachable offense, right? If Obama takes such action, he will “poison the well” so that there can be no cooperation between the White House and Congress.
Please. As if Republicans haven’t been poisoning the well for six solid years. Don’t forget that a group of Republicans met on election night 2008 and decided then and there not to support the new president on ANYTHING. They all heeded the directions from radio gasbag Rush Limbaugh, who said at a conservative talkfest in January 2009 that he “wanted Obama to fail.”
Instead, Republicans have spent six solid years trying to stymie every accomplishment; voting against every initiative, even if it started as a GOP idea, like the health insurance mandate; and attacking him from every direction, even when those attacks are in the opposite direction of previous attacks. They’ve questioned his very legitimacy as president. (He’s a Kenyan! He’s a Muslim! He wasn’t born in Hawaii, and he must have traveled back in time to insert a birth notice in a Honolulu newspaper. Whatever he is, he’s not a “real ‘Murrican.”)
Obama took a big — in hindsight, probably a misguided — gamble before the mid-term elections and held off on issuing an executive order about immigration and deportations. Senate Democrats feared they would lose seats because such an action would drive up turnout by tea-party and other anti-immigration types of voters.
Well, the election is over, and we know what happened. Those Democrats lost anyway — Mark Begich in Alaska, Mark Pryor in Arkansas. Most likely Mary Landrieu will lose in the runoff election in Louisiana, too. The tea party voters turned out in droves anyway, and Obama’s lack of an order when he promised such action could have suppressed Latino voters who decided to sit out the election rather than reward a party that was too scared to support immigrant families. Total voter turnout was only 36.4 percent — the lowest turnout in modern history in a U.S. election. When will Democrats learn that voters support positive action, not hiding?
All of that is the proverbial water under the bridge. The important thing is to consider the right course of action now. According to the AP story, Obama wants to “extend protection from deportation to millions of immigrant parents and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and expand his 2-year-old program that shields immigrants brought illegally to this country as children.”
Lawmakers such as Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) are already apoplectic. “The audacity of this president to think he can completely destroy the rule of law with the stroke of a pen is unfathomable to me.” Other Republicans bring up the possibility of impeachment over such an order. Gee, why didn’t they take the same impeachment vote against Reagan and Bush 1?
Some Democrats such as Rep. Joaquin Castro (D, Texas) are describing the GOP threats as “pure political theater” and saying they should be treated as such. “It’s clear that it’s fully within his legal authority to issue these orders,” Castro said.
Will there be a government shutdown over this? Will there be an impeachment vote if Obama issues such an order on immigration and deportations? I’ve given up trying to predict what the looniest of the loonies in the right wing will do. Those who have bothered to actually read the Constitution they claim to love so much know that it takes two-thirds of the votes in the Senate to remove a sitting president from office. Not gonna happen. One GOP congressman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, S.C.) gave this argument against impeachment: “Have you met Joe Biden?” Vice President Biden, of course, is next in line to the presidency. Fox News thought his one-liner was just hilarious.
President Obama has nothing to lose now. No more elections for him, no chance of a different Congress for the last two years of his presidency. I say go for whatever he can get done on his own, since he’s not going to get any cooperation from the other side of the aisle anyway. Many progressive Democrats are wondering what took him so long.
And the American people — and the beltway media — have started to notice. Before the election, the accepted media narrative was that Obama was “an unpopular president” and that Democrats didn’t want him to campaign for them. Of course, the Republican party polls much lower — 30 percent approval, if they’re lucky, and approval ratings for Congress itself hover just over 10 percent. And you wonder who those people are who say they approve of Congress, outside of, as Sen. John McCain (R, Ariz.) said, “blood relatives and staff members.”
Now the new narrative about Obama is that he’s turned into a man of action, and he’s not going to let the GOP stop him. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain with a chance for some good policies. His approval ratings are starting to inch up again, too.
It’s as if you could almost hear Obama saying, as he did in a debate with Mitt Romney in 2012, “Please proceed, GOP.”