|Obama in winter: He may be down, but don't underestimate him.|
He's quite adept at making Republicans do damage to themselves.
How do we know that Barack Obama is making the right decision regarding immigration? It's because the very threat of doing it sends the GOP into hyperdrive to Moonsville. Could Tom Coburn prove that Obama knows what he's doing? Let's look (first 1:40 is enough):
If the Republicans want to threaten violence -- to fight immigration reform through fear-mongering -- then Barack Obama is clearly about to do the right thing. (h/t Talking Points Memo)
Kos at Daily Kos has an odd but possibly spot-on analysis of this action at this moment in time, that the GOP strategy of condemning the process instead of the man won't work:
It's clear at this point that people are pretty much sick of the president. His professorial style comes off as aloof and disengaged, and years of broken promises have erased virtually all of his early goodwill. Whether it's his emphatic pre-election promises to tackle immigration in his first year, unlike all those other promise-breaking presidents, or the years of pressure it took to move him on gay rights, to the continued fight to get him to do the right thing on the Keystone XL pipeline. (Not to mention civil rights abuses, NSA, lack of progress on labor, etc, etc, etc.)Kos then flags two polls that 1) show people don't support Obama taking action, and 2) show people support the actual action. Typical. Back to Kos:
So Americans support the policy—overwhelmingly!—but ugh, Obama taking action is obnoxious. That's not a sign of a president with any goodwill left.
The good news is that no one gives a shit about process in the end. Quick, what was the vote on the Social Security Act? Don't ask me, and who cares? It's great law, and no one who takes advantage of it cares whether it was "bipartisan" or not. What about the Patriot Act? That was bipartisan so inherently good, right? What about the Iraq War authorization vote? So goodly bipartisan, so must be good policy, right?
Fact is, whatever it is that Obama announces today will be a step in the right direction, since anything that slows the pace of deportation is a step in the right direction. It is popular policy, it is politically popular. That won't stop the xenophobic wing from kicking and screaming and braying about DIKTATOR OBUMMER, but their approach betrays their position: they won't argue against keeping families together, they'll argue process, and they'll argue Obama.They'll "argue Obama." That's what the GOP has been doing for years, nothing more, nothing less. And while I don't put Obama as far behind the eight ball as Kos does -- I feel when all is said and done, he'll build a pretty solid legacy -- I do see that the president has a pretty mixed set of failures that make even his most ardent supporters quite weary by this time.
Still, I think bold actions like his pending executive order tonight will awaken his supporters, corral a lot of Asians and Hispanics into Democratic ranks, and rattle the cages -- or clown car -- occupied by the Republican 2016 hopefuls. And that's a good thing.
Fun fact, as shown in this Slate article:
Here’s the statement from the House Appropriations Committee, the powerful, GOP-controlled panel that writes the spending bills that keep the government’s lights on (emphasis mine):
The primary agency for implementing the president’s new immigration executive order is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications. Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program. Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to “defund” the agency. The agency has the ability to continue to collect and use fees to continue current operations, and to expand operations as under a new executive order, without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.
In short, not only can’t Republicans kill Obama’s plan with the scalpel (a specific spending bill), there’s not a lot they can do with an ax (a government shutdown) either. The silver lining for GOP leadership, though, is the announcement may take the steam out of their more right-wing colleagues who want a full shutdown to remain on the table.Isn't that rich? The GOP can jump up and down and scream, but there's little they can actually do. They will not look good. The louder they scream, the more they alienate voters they desperately seek to win over.
The more ballistic they become the more the Democrats win. I agree that Obama might get tarnished short-term, but that kind of tarnish often disappears when, post-presidency, a former president's legacy gets burnished with time. Think Clinton. And Obama's got time to do a lot of things as a lame duck. He's not done, period.
What do beltway insiders think? Let's go to WaPo, which always reflects conventional wisdom that is seldom wise:
For Republicans the roiling debate over the president’s decision is not only a fight with the White House, but a test of whether they can contain some of the unhelpful passions among their swelling majorities in both chambers. The task is keeping on-message and away from the controversial and sometimes offensive comments that have traditionally hindered attempts to bolster support for the party among Hispanics.
Coupled with the desire to avoid the heated rhetoric is an effort to avert another showdown over government funding, weeks after the GOP made gains in the midterm elections and a year after a 16-day shutdown significantly damaged the party’s brand.
Many conservative lawmakers, however, are shrugging off those pleas from leadership. Furious with the president, they are planning a series of immediate and hard-line actions that could have sweeping consequences. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said Wednesday that Obama’s executive action should be met with a refusal to vote on any more of his nominees, and on Thursday compared the action to the ancient Catiline conspiracy, a plot to overthrow the Roman Republic.Yep, that's the problem. A hot head like Ted Cruz see this as the very thing to burnish his brand, and he won't be able to contain himself. This moment was made for the likes of him. What really concerns GOP leadership is that other nut cases will try to out-Cruz Cruz. That will be when it all falls apart.
The only way Republicans can come through this undamaged is if they collectively decide to let Obama off the hook. Not gonna happen.
|Sen. Ted Cruz: Will a Texas GOP Cuban-American wreck Republican dreams|
of attracting more Hispanic voters? Please, please, please...
Let the fireworks begin!