If you have children, you understand the rhetorical value of misdirection.
When I was a boy, two of my brothers and I were in the kitchen downstairs with Nan, when we heard a loud crash upstairs.
Nan hollered up the staircase at our other brother, “What are you doing up there?”
His answer was immediate, in just two words: “Coming down.”
And so he did.
We all agreed it was a masterful answer, in that it was both true, and it deflected any real truth-telling. We never did find out what caused the crash.
President Obama is less skilled than my little brother. After all, Obama’s deflection during last night’s immigration speech took three words — 50 percent more.
Here are those three words: “Pass a bill.”
Here’s the context…
Obama: “And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.
The rest of his speech comprised vague allegations of racism and hate against anyone who opposes him, along with heart-rending images (“ripping children from their parent’s arms”), straw-man arguments about mass deportations, and some tough-on-crime rhetoric about gangs and thugs.
All of this is precisely irrelevant.
The problem with Obama’s actions has nothing to do with the immigrants, their struggles and their aspirations, nor with America’s failure to effectively address its illegal immigration challenge. It has everything to do with a president setting a precedent that U.S. law can be set aside by the executive at will. He’s not “acting where Congress has failed,” he’s usurping the constitutional role of Congress to establish a “uniform rule of Naturalization.” [U.S. Constitution: Article I , Section 8, Clause 4]
He’s also not striving “to make our immigration system work better.” If that were true, he’d merely step up efforts to enforce existing law, streamline the process for the many decent, law-abiding folks eager to take the oath of citizenship, and stop beckoning illegals northward with an implied promise of amnesty.
Let me be clear (as he would say), I’m not arguing with the president.
He and I already agree that he lacks the authority to do this.
You see, if Obama had legal counsel outlining why his immigration actions were appropriate and constitutional, he would have recited chapter and verse. Instead, he raised the only real objection, and then simply set it aside without refuting it. Further, he actually blamed his opponents for forcing him to take illegal action.
Since we have his confession, before a great cloud of witnesses, here are two, very direct, words for Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell: “Repeal Obamigration.”