Politico has a fascinating story on Democrat nervousness over President Obama’s promise/threat to go around Congress and the law and grant unilateral action on about 5 million illegal aliens.
POLITICO sought comment in July from every Democratic senator facing reelection this fall, but only a handful took a position. In a follow-up survey this week of the full Democratic Caucus, more senators came out against the White House strategy.
“I have concerns about executive action,” said Franken, who had previously declined to comment, in a statement Thursday. “This is a job for Congress, and it’s time for the House to act.”
[Sen. Bill] Nelson said, through a spokesman, that Obama should use his executive authority to make fixes to the immigration system, but after the November elections.
What a profile in courage!
King urged Obama to reassess his decision to use his executive authority, saying “it would inflame the issue and I just think it would be a mistake.”
“I would oppose a unilateral action of a significant nature on immigration reform both on constitutional grounds and on policy grounds,” King said in an interview. “I hope the White House and the administration are reconsidering their statements on unilateral action.”
White House officials have privately expressed frustration with the timeline to decide by the end of summer, which was first suggested by Senate Democratic leaders back in February. As the chances for legislative action diminished, the leaders had demanded that Obama act on his own to fix the immigration system if Congress failed to pass a bill by August. After resisting the demands for months, Obama eventually agreed in June and announced the shift from a legislative strategy to an administrative one.
Angus King, the Independent, sounds like he has a principle or two left. None of the actual Democrats do.
Obama’s threat to go rogue before the end of summer was intended to put pressure on Republicans in the House to take up and pass the Senate’s bill. That didn’t work and was never likely to. House Republicans don’t take orders from Barack Obama.
Purely as political strategy, it was weak and is now backfiring. The hard left immigration groups are inflamed, the vulnerable Democrats are nervous, and the Republicans are poised to take the Senate.
The way to bet right now is that Obama makes more promises to placate the immigration groups, and delays moving until after the election, while he continues not securing the border. At that time, probably the day or two after the election, he hits with an even bigger power grab than he has threatened before. Or, he does nothing at all. It’s a go big or go home moment for him. Chances are, he goes big. The Republicans will have taken both houses of Congress, and Obama will want to get going on the constitutional crisis early.