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The Day After—for Obama and the Right

The president’s impending decision to act unilaterally to regularize the presence of 5 million illegals in the United States provoked several days of almost incredulous outrage on the Right, along with charges that these actions would basically provoke a Constitutional crisis.  Now that it’s happened, it’s become a political matter that will have profound political ramifications, and no one knows what those are going to be. Obama is flying blind. And so are Republicans and conservatives. We’re in a new political moment, and the fallout will take a long time to come clear. The truth is, though, that Obama has a history of comically misjudging just how much the American people are with him, and how angry they will get at his rivals for attempting to stymie him. He may be wrong again. The White House is banking on the fact that majorities in the polls support more open immigration policies than the Republican party does. But what’s interesting to me is that those polls suggest the American people believe in setting up a “path to citizenship.” This new policy is not that. Instead, it creates a new kind of status for people who have been here illegally for more than five years. The two are very far from the same thing, and there’s a very real question whether this new system will seem a fair process to the American people or rather an arbitrary act of line-drawing. Nor is there any real support for the president’s deep conviction that, in general, the public is with him, the source of his bizarre evident certainty that the two-thirds of the American voting population that did not vote is on his side. In fact, polling after the election suggests the American people want policy in general to be set by Congress rather than Obama, and it’s not even close; in Gallup, the pro-GOP margin is 17 points. He is sure to have his vanity assuaged over the next couple of weeks by the thrilled coverage of his action by the editorial pages he loves and the ideological reporters and bloggers he relies on. His bubble is very thick and it may not be penetrated by the news that ordinary Americans have been made uneasy by what he has done. That said,  it’s interesting to note that the day after the president’s speech, the Right feels unsure, unsteady, and even a little depressed. Perhaps that’s because, after three years of talking about it, Obama has essentially called his own bluff. He began with the “we can’t wait” and “I’ll act because Congress won’t” lines in the wake of the fiscal-cliff showdown in the summer of 2011, but it was mostly just talk until last night. I think people on the Right thought Obama was a paper tiger, and that he would be even more of one in the wake of his party’s swamping on election day. Obama has begun a victory lap, going to Las Vegas today to accept the thanks of a grateful Hispanic public. Again, he has a bad habit of thinking he’s winning when he’s actually losing. That is really not the GOP’s problem.



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11 Responses to “The Day After—for Obama and the Right”

  1. DAVID THOMSON says:

    Obama is still black and white race guilt remains alive and well in the United States. Republicans must therefore subtly—and truthfully tell white, Asian Americans, and nuclear family Hispanics that Democrat elites perceive them as second class citizens. They supposedly deserve to be harmed. The present Democratic party is an anti-white political institution.

  2. ERIC SCHUMANN says:

    Obama wins if the GOP acquiesces in his lawless act. And if they do not use the tools at their disposal – primarily, the power of the purse – they have acquiesced. To charge the President with violating his oath of office and degrading our system of government on the one hand, and on the other to fret about getting some bad press if they take action in response that might lead the President (or Harry Reid) to choose to shut the government down, is incongruous and frankly silly. Is it timidity, or cynicism? The GOP leadership supports amnesty, so I’m voting the latter.

    • DAVID THOMSON says:

      We don’t live in a fair world. Most Americans don’t pay attention to politics. It bores them to death. However, they will get enraged if the government is shut down—and harms them in any way. The Republicans will get blamed, and might pay a terrible political price. Did somebody promise you rose garden? Well, they lied.

      • ERIC SCHUMANN says:

        They didn’t pay a price the first Tuesday of this month for the shutdown last year – in fact, opposition to Obamacare was a big issue, and it isn’t unreasonable to think a strong if failed attempt to block the crappy law was a plus in the minds of some voters. Even at the time the pundits were saying one thing but the headlines were about arbitrary action by the administration to cause maximum superficial pain – hassling tourists and old veterans. The only folks who missed a check were a fraction of government workers, and they got those checks late – and essentially got a paid vacation. The government shutdowns in the 1990′s? Same story – the GOP held both houses of Congress for another decade, and won two Presidential elections during that same time. Somebody promise you a rock garden? They lied. If the President’s actions are such an outrage – and they are – then the GOP should respond accordingly. That is, assuming they really care, and aren’t more interested in a cynical manipulation of their base.

  3. EPHRAIM FUCHS says:

    Obama’s actions should be viewed as a blessing in disguise for the Republican party. If Obama can get away with this executive action, what’s to stop the Republican president in 2017 (yes, it will be a Republican) from issuing executive actions declaring the non-enforcement of the individual and employer mandates of Obamacare and any penalties against insurance companies who offer non-compliant health insurance plans? These actions would be popular with the American people and would essentially gut the law. I’ll take that in a trade any day.

  4. ROMAN SZEREMETA says:

    Catch the straw man in the Presidents argument for his Executive Action: “Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character.”
    Nobody has suggested mass deportations but many have pointed out that legalising the illegals will embolden further illegals.

    • WILLIAM CARROLL says:

      I’ll support mass deportations any day of the week. But I’m just a stickler about lawbreakers who break the law and flaunt it in my face. Let ICE start by hitting all the Lowe’s and Home Depots every weekend. This “Living in the shadows” BS is right up there with “Islam is a religion of peace”.

  5. JOHN MCINTYRE says:

    John nailed it with this sentence: “Obama has a history of comically misjudging just how much the American people are with him.”

    With his horrible midterms record, Obama’s advisers should let him come up with an idea and then plead with him to do the exact opposite.

  6. ROBERT FIPPINGER says:

    Obama’s “bubble” is more than just thick it is bullet proof. With approval numbers in the 30s that means about the only people who are in favor of the president are his hard-core base. Obama’s end-run around congress is tantamount to spitting on Americans and their representatives. Sadly not enough Americans understand this – no thanks to Obama’s cheerleaders aka: the media.

    In January when the republicans take over both houses of congress the gloves must come off. One single item bill after another that the president will veto:

    Keystone
    Corporate tax relief
    Medical malpractice reform
    etc.,

    Everyone of these can be played against the democrats and by inference Hillary Clinton.

    Keystone: the democrats do not want to help the middle class by lowering gas, energy and food prices.

    Corporate tax relief: the democrats are pushing jobs over-seas.

    Med mal: the democrats are hurting the middle class with high medical costs and unnecessary procedures.

    For the next two years the republicans should keep in mind those famous words of Tony Montana: “You wanna play rough? Okay! Say hello to my little friend…”

  7. STANLEY YARKIN says:

    I think Republicans have to either let this go by, or do something positive. A suggestion for positive action: A house bill that openly supports the content of the Presidents Amnesty, but includes a mandatory border fence. The amnesty to begin when the fence is completed. Furthermore, any illegal alien coming across from today will be returned.

    And do it now, while his action is stayed by the court. Best before new Congress.

    A: These people will be getting amnesty eventually. The Republicans can get credit, rather than more undying animosity.

    B: In the face of the dangers facing the U.S., what kind of argument can the Dems have against this?

    Perhaps there are other ways to one up the Prexy and his hard core congressional supporters.

  8. KENT LYON says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch…Obama’s action likely will induce citizens of Mexico, Central American countries, and beyond, to believe that additional decrees may be forthcoming in the next two years, and that, if they can get here by whatever means possible, illegal immigrants will be allowed to stay. They may even believe that they can come now, and, by fraud, be included in the current amnesty (as many have done with Obama’s dream act). Enforcement is likely to be lax, or nonexistent, and misrepresentation may be encouraged by a lawless Obama administration. Expect as much. Obama can game his own executive orders as readily as he can game current law. Expect a massive surge of illegal immigration incited by Obama’s current action. Look for border states, as well as those beyond, to be swamped regarding costs of social services, not to mention chaos on the border even greater than exists at present. States and state residents will likely come to dislike this action more and more as time goes on. Those who now stand four square behind it, e.g., pretty much all of the Democratic Party, may come to be held in contempt by the electorate generally for such support. This apparently will not change their behavior. as evidenced by this response to an historic repudiation of Democratic policies in this election. One sense the country coming apart at the seams. Obama seems to be accomplishing his fondest desire, to transform America fundamentally. The transformation may include disintegration.

    What tax increases are states going to face? What increases in Medicaid benefits? What are law enforcement costs going to do? How are schools going to cope? What are low income and low skilled job seekers going to face in terms of employment possibilities? Has Obama sown the wind, for states and cities to reap the whirlwind?

    And what of domestic citizen behavior? Now that the chief executive has broken the law, what is to restrain the citizenry from a wholesale violation of law? Already, the demonstraters in Ferguson, MO, are shouting from the streets their disdain for the rule of law. How widespread will this become? In Revolutionary times, the British governor of Massachusetts marvelled that in the absence of Royal authority in the hinterlands, the citizenry continued to behave as if there existed a legal authyority, and continued to behave as law abiding citizens (contrary to what happened later in the French Revolution). Will the American citizenry stay true to form, and behave as if Constitutional order is in place when it is not? The large majority I dare say will do so. But, what of the factions that foment for more radical change? Will they be cut loose from the moorings of civil society and, like a crazed Robespierre, wreak their chaos on law abiding Americans? At this point, it is hard to say. The litigation pursued by Republicans, from John Boehner to Greg Abbot, may be specious. The courts cannot force executive behavior. But they can give additional voice and weight to the dsipute. If all voices line up against the President, will he change his behavior? Evidence thus far suggests not. What happens if states like Texas begin to decide that the advantages of remaining part of the Union is less compelling than going the way of a Lone Star Republic once again? What if the state legislature enacts enabling legislation for a new conference at Washington-on-the-Brazos, or authorizes a state plebiscite regarding secession, as it seeks to control it’s own borders in the absence of federal control of the borders?

    This action may come to rival Obamacare in unpopularity. What then?




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