Earlier this week, news leaked from the White House that President Obama was formulating his own immigration proposal in the event that Congress couldn’t come up with a reform package he liked. What the president ‘likes’ changes from week to week (against same-sex marriage/for same-sex marriage, close Guantanamo/outfit it with new curtains, force religious employers to subsidize birth control/pretend that you are no longer forcing religious employers to subsidize birth control.) Still, in the immigration field, Obama’s been fairly clear that he wants to provide a ‘path to citizenship’ for the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants. I happen to agree with him on that.
Still, I get a queasy feeling in my stomach every time I hear the president open his mouth and start talking about what “we need to do.” Frankly, that’s not his call, even though he seems to think he can bypass Congress on so many important issues. He’s already shown that defending certain laws passed by Congress is optional (the Defense of Marriage Act for example.) He already tried to make interim appointments without the advise and consent of those annoying senators (nice slapdown from the Supremes on that one.) And he sent troops to Libya without first seeking an okay from Congress which, I have to say, wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Neither are the drone strikes, because anything that has the hard Left apoplectic can’t be all bad.
But the president needs to take a supporting role in the impending immigration drama, primarily because he’s likely to muck up the works with his attempts to reconcile both sides. Some will remind us that President Bush came out with his own immigration proposal almost ten years ago and no one told him to back off. But that’s not actually true. The majority of those in the GOP simply ignored his proposal, treating him like some presidential fly buzzing aimlessly around their restrictionist ears. The few who actually listened, like John McCain and our late homeboy Arlen Specter were forced into retreat by the cries of “amnesty!”
As for the Democrats, most of them just laughed off his good faith attempts at reform as gutless or, worse, a willingness to create a permanent underclass of indentured servants.
So while I admired George W’s attempts to actually make something happen, it didn’t do anything other than annoy his base and provide his enemies with yet another reason to gloat about how ‘clueless’ he was.
No one will be calling Obama clueless, not even Marco Rubio who was justifiably annoyed that the president is trying to steal his thunder yet again. Rubio is the voice that everyone wants to hear, the cherubic face that everyone wants to see, the mind that has a firm grasp on the true immigrant experience .
Obama doesn’t like that, doesn’t want to lose in the Latino Popularity poll. So he’s orchestrating every single move on the chess board of his second term with the skill of Bobby Fischer and the spontaneity of Yul Brynner doing his 3000th performance as the King of Siam.
While it’s a passable performance, we’ve seen it already, and it’s stale. We need someone else to take the lead role.
Enter Congress, stage right (cue Rubio.)