It never changes…
Barack Obama’s inexplicable inability—or unwillingness—to learn what his job is and how to do it properly has reached a terrible crescendo in his Executive Order on illegal immigration. You can read the likely details here; the details don’t matter. The order itself guarantees chaos on more fronts that any Presidential act in memory, and more institutional damage over the long term. There is literally no excuse for it, but the explanations are clear. Obama painted himself into a political corner because he does not know how to do his job. He has set a precedent that will invite far more abuse, in real terms, than the order at issue now, guaranteeing a Constitutional crisis, and perhaps many—because he does not know how to do his job. Having pledged to bring the country together, he has taken a needless and gratuitous step that will divide the nation further—-because he does not know how to do his job. And he has all but guaranteed that the next two years will be marked by more poisonous partisanship in Washington and outright warfare between the parties and the branches of the government, further discouraging citizens and reducing trust in the American system to a dangerous level because…well, you know.
Let me discard the inevitable justification for this action at the outset, the rationalization given by Obama himself: He is taking action on immigration because the system is broken and Congress won’t fix it. The decisive rebuttal: tough. That’s the system. The President agreed to be part of it when he ran for office. Laws must be made by Congress and signed and enforced by the President. There are no exceptions in the Constitution waiving this system when the President is really, really sure he knows best, or when the President is really, really frustrated because he wants his way but doesn’t want to do the dirty work of schmoozing, horse-trading, building alliances, collecting I.O.U.’s , bluffing, getting half a loaf, compromising, angering his “base” know that they have nowhere to go, and agreeing to measures or he hates in order to get some he wants, or when he’s made promises he shouldn’t have made. As Obama himself once said, he can’t act like an emperor, because that’s not the system the Founders decided on. Obama has proven that he can’t act like a President, however, so now he’s giving emperor a try. Mind-boggling is the best description I can come up with right now.
Obama, among other reasons, is in the midst of this fiasco because he backed himself into a corner with the Hispanic activists in his party. Again, this is evidence of a flat learning curve. He has trapped himself repeatedly—by drawing a “red line” in Syria, by promising what his health care plan couldn’t deliver, by sending empty threats to Putin, by guaranteeing that he will not send ground troops in to fight Isis. It makes him and America look weak; it results in bad policies and late implementation of needed measures, and diminishes his stature and trustworthiness. Never mind: Obama seems to be the only one who hasn’t noticed. So now he is forced to follow through on a measure of dubious constitutional validity that will make it look as if he is choosing the welfare of lawbreakers over the convictions of a majority of the legal citizens in the country.
What a wonderful plan.
His method is also one we have seen before: dishonesty. The order is being justified as “prosecutorial discretion’…you know, like the bombing of Libya wasn’t hostilities under the statute requiring Congressional approval, like the authorization for the Iraq invasion in 2002 was still sufficient to constitute approval of bombing Isis, and like the unilateral amending of the Affordable Care Act was just administrative action. Obama has achieved a Bizarro World integrity by consistently showing no integrity at all.
All of this, mind you, to guarantee no deportation of people who were not going to be deported, to assure work papers for those already working, and to make the ethically incoherent statement that the longer an illegal immigrant breaks the law by staying here, the less illegal he should be, and the more children she dumps into the care of Nanny Sam, the more the nation should embrace the family.
I agree with Obama regarding the need to give the illegals who we have allowed to stay here too long some way to achieve legal status. I agree that Republican opposition is a dead end rooted in rejection of facts over the embrace of impractical idealism. His job, however, is to solve the problem under the system, make it palatable to the public, and not blow up the political system in the service of people who showed no respect for the system in coming here.
Obama, however, doesn’t know how todo his job.
And he’s obviously never going to learn.