Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Please, Mr, President. Don't Do It

President Obama seems to be determined to get an immigration bill by the end of the year, or, he says, he'll do it by executive order. I have one thing to say to the president. Don't Do It.

Here's why. It will be bad for the country, bad for the Democratic Party, and bad for the president.

Bad for the Country.  According to the Gallup Poll Americans are in favor of immigration reform. Over 80 percent are in favor of a security fence and employers checking immigration status. And 88 percent are all in favor of giving illegal immigrants a path to US citizenship if they pass certain requirements including "paying taxes and a penalty, passing a criminal background check and learning English."

So it oughta be easy for the president to push an immigration bill through Congress with overwhelming support. Right? Except that the devil is in the details, with Democrats against a fence and penalties and English, and Republicans thinking that maybe illegal immigrants should never get citizenship. And then there is the little problem that nobody wants to deal with the president, not Republicans, not Democrats.

The way to pass comprehensive legislation is by comprehensive legislation in which both parties sign off and we get a "consensus." Legislating without Congress and without a consensus is called "ruling by decree." It's the sort of thing that tin-pot dictators do. And it ends in tears.

Bad for the Democrats. What a surprise! The Republicans totally cleaned up in the 2014 midterms. The GOP now has more members in House of Representatives than any time going back to 1929. How could that happen?  Could it perhaps be that President Obama has been governing by partisan division? That his nominees have been bending the law anywhere and everywhere to advance the progressive agenda by any means possible? Today Dennis Prager is laughing at the NYT pundits writing about a "dysfunctional" politics. Dem defeat for them means that the people got it wrong.

Here's my prediction. If President Obama changes immigration law "by decree" he will further erode voter support for the Democrats. Surely, right now, a lot of Democratic officeholders must be talking to each other and saying: Wow, I don't know how he is doing it, but this guy is demolishing the Democratic Party right before our very eyes. We've got to stop him before the tsunami gets to me.

Bad for the President. It may be that the president has no ego. It may be that he is just trying to push as much of the progressive agenda past the American people as he can, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. But I doubt it. I think the president is human and he wants his place in the pantheon of great presidents. But like anyone in a tough spot, he doesn't know what to do except do what he knows. As the airplane accident guys say: when an airliner hits an emergency the crew instinctively do exactly what they are trained to do. The president is trained to be a community activist; that's what he does. So he keeps doing it because that's what he's trained to do.

Here's my prediction. The president's divisive governing style is going to make him an example of How Not To Do It for the next 100 years. People will say: if you want to divide the country and provoke a massive backlash, if you want to ruin your political party, and if you want to go down as the Worst President Ever, then do what Barack Obama did.

Don't do it, Mr. President.

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