President Obama promised to work with Republicans and to conduct the most transparent government in American history. But after he was elected, he came into his first meeting with Republicans refusing to listen to them because “I won.” He has built a habit of keeping policy making behind closed doors, beginning with the appointment of more policy “czars” than any previous president — czars bypass the Senate’s advise and consent process — and continuing with his current effort to re-write the nation’s immigration laws, because he feels like it and because a divided Congress cannot stop him.
WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced in June that he planned to bypass congressional gridlock and overhaul the nation’s immigration system on his own, he did so in a most public way: a speech in the White House Rose Garden.
Since then, the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency — and his most consequential use of executive power — has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view.
The death of transparency coincides with the death of democracy — if he gets away with this.
Mr. Obama’s increasingly expansive appetite for the use of unilateral action on issues including immigration, tax policy and gay rights has emboldened activists and businesses to flock to the administration with their policy wish lists. It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue.
Democrats know that they’re going to lose the Senate this fall. That may leave Obama vulnerable to disciplinary action by Congress, but he has two gambits in hand to deal with that.
The first is the race card. The optics of a Republican Congress impeaching the first black president will be toxic.
The second, ironically, is the kangaroo case against Gov. Rick Perry in Texas. I debated a Democrat consultant on NewsMaxTV earlier today, and one of her talking points is that “both parties are doing” what the Texas Democrats are doing to Perry. She brought up the impeachment talk, of course neglecting to mention that most of that has been coming from Democrats, to force Republicans into foreswearing impeachment as any remedy to Obama’s actions.
Both parties are not doing what the Texas Democrats are doing to Perry. Their indictment of him is unique in Texas history, and is probably unique in American history. If they succeed, Perry will be jailed for decades. Life, in a worst-case scenario — for having done nothing wrong. A conviction would scramble Texas politics, though probably not enough to help the Democrats actually win any statewide office.
Obama is being sued by the House. Jail is not a possibility in that case at all. No one really knows what the House lawsuit can achieve.
Impeachment would not send him to jail either. The most impeachment could possibly achieve, and this is a remote possibility, is Obama’s removal from office. He would be replaced by his own vice president, of course, who would then be the incumbent for 2016.
But you watch. Democrats will denounce the Perry case nationally, and then use it to taint Republicans who aren’t doing anything that’s even remotely similar.