Here’s the current state of play on President Obama’s threat to break immigration law in three steps.
Step One: The threat. Here’s Josh Earnest, saying that yes, Obama will go it alone on immigration.
Step Two: Sen. Marco Rubio sends Obama a letter advising him against this heinous act.
As if Obama is listening to Rubio anyway. Rubio presents an existential threat to the Democrats, or did before he waffled on immigration. He still presents a threat. Obama is likely to trash the letter, or read it and do the opposite purely out of spite.
Rubio’s letter advises Obama that granting amnesty to five million by fiat will wreck “comprehensive immigration reform” for the foreseeable future.
As if Obama cares about that. In his strategy, he gets credit from the left over his sweeping and unilateral amnesty, and if Congress doesn’t pass the law he wants, he gets to blame that on Republicans and shore up the Hispanic vote for the Democrats.
Step Three: Rep. Steve King threatens to shut down the government if Obama grants his unilateral amnesty.
Bad move. This plays right into the Democratmedia’s hands of painting Republicans, who are poised to capture the Senate, as incapable of governing. They can build a useful narrative around that and it’s, what, August? They have plenty of time to construct that falsehood and make it as sturdy as the Eiffel Tower.
You may have noticed that in the clip, Earnest is reacting to King’s threat. This whole thing is a feedback loop that leaves America entirely out of the discussion.
How Americans will react is the wild card here. Polls show that a majority favors a path to citizenship for some illegal aliens, depending on how the question is asked. But granting amnesty to millions with a stroke of a pen is unprecedented. Even Reagan’s bipartisan amnesty only had immediate impact for a couple million. His popularity took a nose-dive after that, in part because of the amnesty, and in part because of other factors.
The media have largely stopped reporting on the border crisis, but when they were reporting on it, Obama’s popularity on immigration went down. People don’t like chaos.
Obama is already unpopular. It’s clear that he doesn’t care about his personal popularity anymore. He is playing a longer game to try to cement the majority of Hispanic voters to the Democratic Party. He considers that his legacy and will do just about anything to achieve it.
Republicans like Rubio still haven’t figured that out, or if they have, they don’t act like it. To be fair, they are in a bit of a pincer move and don’t have too many good alternatives. Threatening a shutdown isn’t a good tack. Going along with Obama is a terrible tack. Doing nothing isn’t a good tack.
Running directly against Obama’s plan risks having the Democrats play the race card, which they will do anyway. Rubio could have played a useful role by never getting within a mile of “comprehensive” reform, and by calling Obama’s gambit what it is — racist, lawless and wrong. Rubio was uniquely positioned to do that. But he failed.
If Obama grants his amnesty, we head toward a constitutional crisis. Which as I’ve written before, is exactly what he wants.
Barack Obama came into office viewing the Constitution not as a bulwark against all-powerful government, but as a document that limits “what government can do for you.” It was written to limit what government can do to you.
He doesn’t like that, never has. He has two years and counting down to fundamentally transform the country.