The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Next week, it appears that Barack Obama will announce executive actions that he argues will "reform" our immigration mess. The Boston Globe comments:
Asserting the full power of his office, President Obama is expected to announce a set of reforms to the country’s immigration enforcement system, a plan that would offer a temporary reprieve from deportation to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. By taking action through an executive order, the president signals to a fractious Congress, where immigration legislation has been stalled for years, that humanitarian concerns must, in the end, be weighed against the costs of inaction. Despite the political risks, it’s the right decision, one that will keep families together and allow many undocumented immigrants a chance to come out of the shadows.
It's interesting. For the past decade, we have, in fact, had de facto amnesty for illegal aliens, so what Barack Obama is doing by executive fiat is really nothing more than codifying the reality on the ground. The problem isn't the content of what he doing, although there are undoubtedly many problems with it, many unintended consequences that will accompany it, and assuredly, significant costs for the shrinking number of Americans who pay federal and state taxes. Rather, the problem is that he is effectively writing law in an extra-constitutional manner.

But so be it.

Rather than stamping its feet and throwing a tantrum—actions that Obama is hoping for—the GOP should show that it can legislate on important matters. Immigration is important, but it is not at the top of the list.

First, the economy, tax reform, and Obamacare should be addressed. Bills should be passed and presented to this president for signature. If he vetoes, that's fine. Other bills should be created and presented yet again—until his vetoes are overridden by Democrats who have finally had enough.

Then, true immigration reform should be addressed in a deliberative manner with at least some bi-partisan input. The GOP should resist pandering to its most extreme elements who are as unrealistic on immigration as many leftists are on a whole host of issues.

As a broad outline, immigration legislation should (1) make a real attempt to seal our southern border using advanced technologies and more efficient use of manpower, (2) implement a guest worker program so that no one needs to sneak across; (3) define a clear set of criminal activities that result in immediate deportation (no appeals, no gaming the system); (4) create a path to citizenship for illegals, but do this in a manner that is fair to those who have been waiting legally for that opportunity; (6) disallow any public assistance for five years to any guest worker and any illegal who is allowed to remain in the US.

If Obama vetoes such legislation when it is presented to him, it will be time to scream, but not until them. It will demonstrate, yet again, that this president is hyper-partisan, unable to negotiate, and unwilling to accept that more than half the country now disagrees with him.

Obama's executive action is a feint. It is intended to create yet another wedge issue, to force the GOP to defocus, to move away from legislation on other important matters that affect actual American citizens. The GOP should not accept the feint and should force this president (again and again) to veto legislation that would benefit the middle class and the economy (e.g., Keystone pipeline). For once, let it be obvious that it's Barack Obama who is the true hyperpartisan obstructionist.


Obama's strong arm tactics are applauded by those on the Left, who are either too short-sighted or too delusional to recognize that executive action taken on such a grand scale will establish a precedent for some future conservative president to eliminate existing law that the Left holds dear—say, by eliminating public funding for abortion or establishing new "law" that defunds medicaid or ADC or Obamaphones. And make no mistake, what Obama is going to do is to negate existing law and replace it with his own "law." Problem is, that's not what the constitution defines as his authority.

Rich Lowry comments:
Obama’s tack on immigration speaks to a president who is out of sorts and out of step, and who recognizes his own political impotence. Unable to build a political case for one of his chief second-term priorities, he has to fall back on executive usurpation.

Prior to the election, the president delayed his threatened amnesty — perhaps legalizing millions of immigrants — because it might harm Democrats. It still became an election issue, with Republicans hammering away at it and winning resoundingly. Even a relative dove on immigration such as Cory Gardner, the Republican senator-elect from Colorado, opposed Obama’s executive action.

This electoral rebuke might give a less highhanded president pause. Not President Obama. He rules from an Olympian height above mere election results and mere constitutional constraints on his power.

The president says that he’d still “prefer” that Congress itself change the immigration laws. For him, this is a positively Madisonian expression of respect for the American constitutional scheme.

President Obama is distressed that the Senate passed an immigration bill by a wide, bipartisan margin and the House refused to take it up. Fine. That is his right. He has legitimate means to respond.

For one, he could have barnstormed the country for amnesty during the election campaign, seeking to defeat officeholders and candidates who don’t share his view on immigration. This is how legislative majorities are built. Of course, he was too unpopular even to appear in most parts of the country, let alone convince anyone of anything.

With the election past, he can still build the political case for an amnesty and pressure House Republicans to act. If he could turn up the political heat enough, he might make House Speaker John Boehner buckle. This is highly unlikely, though, given that the country is not up in arms demanding an even laxer immigration system.

When it comes down to it, fiat is the only means for President Obama to reliably get his way. His promised executive action is a substitute for democratic politics, not an exercise in it.
From Obama's high moral perch, perceived oppression of selected groups melds with fantasy to become bad policy. The only democratic process or politics that Barack Obama cares about begins with a capital D. It is up to his Party to reign their leader in. If they do not, they will suffer electoral consequences that will make 2014 look like a rainbows and lollipops.