Congress been mulling over some sort of amnesty plan for illegal immigrants for a very long time, whether it’s been called “amnesty” or whether euphemisms are used to substitute for the word.
But there’s a reason Congress hasn’t done much about it, and that’s because the American people don’t want it and Congress is at least somewhat responsive to the people, despite the fact that many politicians and those who give them money are more interested in amnesty than the general public is.
Past presidents have understand that, too, and have also understood that it’s Congress that needs to deal with this for the most part. Until now.
Now we have a president who has the novel idea of completely ignoring the public during his lame duck years. Most presidents are hampered in their power during lame duck time, and they don’t want to do anything to hurt their party’s standing with the public and therefore their party’s election chances. Obama, again, has the novel idea to ignore the public and hurt his party in the short run for enormous gains in the longer run: a demographic that will be reliably Democratic and will insure the party’s hegemony (not to mention his “legacy” as a transformative president) . At least, that’s the calculation.
All the Democratic impeachment chatter (“watch out, the evil Republicans are planning to impeach me, aren’t they mean and aren’t they silly?”) is both an attempt to head outrage off at the pass and to pre-characterize it as inappropriate and hateful, and a simultaneous tacit acknowledgement of the tyrannical nature of what Obama is contemplating.
I’m with Patterico on this:
…Americans are generally rationally ignorant of constitutional processes, and impeachment polls badly as a result. They don’t really care whether Obama exceeds his lawful authority if they like what he’s doing…
We get the government we deserve. The idea that the Constitution restrains the branches is pretty much dead; its provisions don’t matter when the public is unwilling to back the side whose territory is being infringed.
I would add that a Congress, and a Democratic Party, that doesn’t understand the dangers to the republic and ultimately to themselves and their power as a legislative body is also a huge part of the problem. As for Democrats joining in voicing alarm about Obama’s plans for amnesty by executive decree, dare we hope that Ed Schultz’s criticism today is part of a new trend? It’s a longshot, but who would have thought Schutlz, of all people, would speak out this way? Granted, his objections were mostly that American workers would be hurt by amnesty, so it won’t be politically popular, but he also managed to voice a mild objection to “one man [having] that much power.”
Jennifer Rubin has some ideas for how the Republicans should react if Obama goes ahead with this:
Republicans should prepare a game plan, not merely rule out impeachment (which is the president’s fondest desire). For starters, they and the GOP candidates for 2016 should make clear that any executive order will disappear at the end of Obama’s term and any who step forward for exemptions now may be subject to deportation in 2 1 /2 years…
…The House — and the Senate if it changes hands — can censure the president and pass legislation to countermand the presidential edicts, let him veto it and then try to override it. Congress can contain whatever enforcement provisions it sees fit that go beyond the president’s edict. Congress can defund parts of the bureaucracy engaged in this lawless action (again, the Senate would join the House if Republicans take over)…Depending on the outcome of the fall election, the Senate could choose to decline to confirm nominees for the remainder of his term if the president is bent on rewriting our laws. In essence, the Obama presidency apart from national security/foreign policy should be declared effectively over.
Sounds like a plan. Let’s see if the Republicans have the courage to implement it.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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