The Republicans are threatening all sorts of things in response to President Obama’s executive order on immigration outlined in a speech last night, including impeachment. And of course, it is true that he has “poisoned the well” for future negotiations on all sorts of things, but how much worse could the well get after Republicans have used it as a toxic waste dump for the past six years.
However the anger of the Republican leadership, usually feigned, seems real for a change as they had different things in mind to focus on when the new congress takes office, at least according to an article in the Los Angeles Times yesterday. McConnell, Boehner et al had:
“hoped to focus on corporate tax reform, fast-track trade pacts, repealing the president’s healthcare law and loosening environmental restrictions on coal are instead being dragged into an immigration skirmish that they’ve tried studiously to avoid for most of the last year.
That’s largely because the question of how to handle the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. bitterly divides Republicans, and the party has been unable to agree on an alternative to the president’s plan.”
Of course, the Republican leadership realizes they need to do something about “our broken immigration system” before the next presidential election, but they don’t want to get mired in that squabble now. They want to pull the party together on a few things before batting that bee hive about.
By the way, when I say the Republican leadership realizes the need to do something on immigration it is because the need is obvious. Obama got about 70% of the Latino vote in the last election and it seems nearly impossible for the Republicans to win the next one without cutting into that margin.
I’ve seen Carl Rove say that as well as a generally respected Republican pollster whose name escapes me at the moment. Romney got 59% of the white vote in the last contest and according to this pollster’s estimate, they will need nearly 64% of that vote, likely unachievable, to win if they can’t attract more of different hues than lily white. There are only so many of us white people to go around.
And to add to Republican discomfort is the fact that Obama’s executive order could be rescinded by a Republican president, a point that will be drilled into Latino voters in upcoming months to get out that vote.
Of course, Obama is aware of that as it is obvious, and those on the right may view him as playing a cynical political game, but he wanted to take this action last summer, announced he would I believe, but put it on hold in response to pleas from Democrats running for office. And we all know how well that worked out.
Also, this executive decision isn’t very popular according to recent polls, one indicating 48% of Americans thinking he is overreaching, and only 30-some per cent in favor of his action. Whatever his shortcomings (and for God’s sake people he has THE TOUGHEST JOB IN THE WORLD), I believe in Obama’s sincerity.
Finally, I recommend you read that LA Times article linked above as it gives the gist of key dynamics at work in response to Obama’s executive order. The other link provides a good summary of what that order means in practice.