Today, Barack Obama formally declined to commit electoral suicide on behalf of every democrat running for higher office in a “leans Republican” state.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, a White House official told the Associated Press today that President Obama has abandoned his pledge to implement immigration reform by the end of the summer. Via Fox News Latino:

“Because of the Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue, the president believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections,” a White House official said, asking for anonymity.

Nonetheless, he added that Obama wants reform carried out in a “sustainable” way, and for that reason will take action “before the end of the year.”

“The president is confident in his authority to act, and he will before the end of the year. But again, nothing will replace Congress acting on comprehensive immigration reform and the president will keep pressing Congress to act,” the official said.

As one blogger in Texas put it,, President Obama allowed this leak “early on a Saturday morning, ripe with the possibility of the least amount of Americans noticing.” He claims that he’s putting off comprehensive reform to save future efforts, but with 60 days to go until the election, we know that “not wanting to politicize the issue” is really code for “not wanting to lose the Senate to Republicans in 6 swing states.”

Although this gives Republicans time to develop their own cohesive approach to securing the border and reforming existing law, it’s important to remember that the thing democrats are best at is controlling the emotional narrative.

By kicking the can down the road, Obama is angering amnesty and reform advocates, but he’s also ensuring that democrats in danger of losing their seats will be able to shift the blame for broken promises onto the backs of Republicans who have been working to prevent both executive action and legislation granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. He’s dangling the promise of the American dream so that it’s just out of reach, so that even if Republicans do flip the senate, lame duck democrats will be able to cast a suicide vote for comprehensive reform with zero consequences.

A recent Pew Poll shows that Americans remain nearly evenly divided on the issue of comprehensive reform vs. targeted legislation addressing border security and a path to citizenship:

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted August 20-24 among 1,501 adults, finds that 33% say the priority should be on better border security and tougher enforcement of immigration laws, while 23% prioritize creating a way for people in the U.S. illegally to become citizens if they meet certain conditions. About four-in-ten (41%) say both should be given equal priority.

The key to maintaining the advantage in the immigration debate is control over the narrative. What matters now is 1) emphasizing Obama’s broken promises, and 2) highlighting any unwillingness on the part of campaigning democrats to address their immigration policy plans.

What the Pew poll tells us is that, although Americans are divided on the issue of where to start, voters by and large care very much about fixing our broken immigration system.

Until now, democrats have been very successful with controlling the narrative; but with the recent border crisis coming to a head, and today’s punt on new policy proposals, Republicans have a golden opportunity to lead on the issue now and after the election.

Right now, democrats are trying to have it both ways. No sense in allowing their narrative play out to the peril of true reform.


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