OK, I can’t take credit for the subject line sentiment. Rush Limbaugh came up with that one earlier today.
This is a big deal. And it’s turned into a carnival show. This whole thing is turning into a carnival show, it’s more showbiz. It’s stunning to me what’s really happening. We got a carnival barker tonight that’s gonna go up there and he’s gonna look at us in the eye and say, “Screw you. This is what I think of this Constitution,” and, bammo!
Bammo. Those syllables aren’t too far off from the ones that come to my mind whenever I see Nancy Pelosi. She weighed in earlier comparing Obama’s amnesty order tonight to the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln on 1 January 1863:
Whole lotta crazy goin’ on. Let’s see: when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, we were in the middle of a civil war, and he was righting what had been a great wrong by taking a courageous and singular action, when there was no unified will of the people.
There is no great wrong to be righted in the present case. If there is such a wrong, in fact, it’s the wrong done for many years now to the American people, who have the right to expect that the laws they have instituted will be enforced. It was unjust and wrong for slavery to be upheld by law in the United States; but it is just and right for nations to control the flow of immigrants across their borders with laws, and the mechanisms of law enforcement. Declaring those things to be null and void is the opposite of righting a a great wrong.
Let Obama sign an executive order declining to prosecute — or even put resources into identifying — “equal opportunity” allegations in American institutions and work places, and see how much the Democrats would like that. Doing something like that is much more closely analogous to what Obama will do this evening.
Stephen Kruiser points out at PJM that the major legacy networks will not be carrying Obama’s little address tonight. Kruiser puts that in one light:
It’s delicious to see that even the some of the lapdogs are weary of the Team Lightbringer shtick. President Obama is flexing his ego with this ill-advised move. The only transparency that this administration has ever been able to muster is that surrounding the president’s petulance when he lashes out.
But I would suggest putting it in another. The TV Bigs are protecting Obama by not carrying this address. A whole lot of people won’t even realize what’s happening if they tune in at 8 PM Eastern and see only the regularly scheduled programming. Think about it: if the Bigs carried the address, they’d have to bring in pundits to talk about it afterward, for at least a few minutes. They don’t want to have to invest in this thing in any way, because they know it’s wrong, or at least deeply questionable. But cutting Obama adrift now leaves them nowhere to go, from an editorial perspective, for at least the next two years. Better to just ignore it and not have to commit.
As we count down to The Moment, enjoy some choice chatter from the White House website, where supporters of Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty move have been waxing poetic, with sentiments ranging from “F**k all you white people!” to “Stupid white people…always talking s**t”. Yes, their range is broad. And admirable. As Jason DeWitt points out, the real thing of interest here is that the White House has left these comments on the website. (It had done so as of a few hours ago, at any rate. I haven’t visited it in the last 2 hours.)
More to come as the POTUS-in-Chief makes his case in about half an hour.
Here we go…
“Undocumented immigrants desperately want to embrace responsibility…”
HUGE lie: “Overall, number of immigrants trying to cross our border illegally at lowest point since the 1970s.”
Of course: “Republicans have refused to allow a simple vote.” So what were Democrats doing from Jan 2009 to Jan 2011, when they owned both houses?
Another lie: deportations of criminals are NOT up 80%. But catch and releases of illegals with criminal backgrounds are up.
This Obama theme that today’s existing reality is “amnesty,” whereas Obama’s proposal is not, is one of the most childish, deceptive smokescreens ever perpetrated by a politician. Apparently, he thinks he can sell it just by saying it with a straight face and an earnest tone.
Conflating illegal border surge with the need for highly-skilled workers, as usual. Always trying to make the illegal surge ride the coat tails of the skilled-worker issue.
Yeah, yeah, anecdotal stories. Reagan could bring those off flawlessly. Obama comes off as manipulative and insincere. It’s such an obvious check in the block. But people forget why Reagan was so good at them. Because he wasn’t using them to lay a guilt trip on the people, but to remind us of what is good and important.
Absolutely nothing fresh in this speech, just the same old deceptive BS about “equality” meaning that nations don’t get to enforce their laws.
Krauthammer has a good question: if Obama feels so strongly about this, why did he wait until after the November 2014 election to take this action? He’s known since 2009, when a Democrat-controlled Congress couldn’t pass the bad immigration law he wants, that it wasn’t going to get done in Congress. What was the reason for waiting until after this election — if, that is, Obama feels so strongly, and is so sure that he has law and right on his side?
A couple of my own observations. One, Obama came across as bellicose. He didn’t sound judicious and balanced. Two, he used rhetoric to try to rearrange reality, claiming the weight of law and American tradition for himself.
Now, of course he did this; it’s what demagogues do. They lie outright about what law and tradition would tell us to do, in order to cloak themselves in language that’s reassuring to the low-information voter. But we can be prepared for that, mentally, and still find it jarring when it actually happens.
This is how constitutional republicanism is attacked: not with great, ringing blows, but with quiet lies.
Next up: O’Reilly. There’s a reason I don’t watch the guy. He’s sitting there trying to make this all about whether we think Obama is a “bad man” or not. That’s such a pointless rat-hole to go down. It’s empirically demonstrable that Obama is lying to justify taking unconstitutional action, and that the action he’s taking will do significant damage to the country, in terms of both the rule of law and the specific outcomes from illegal immigration. It’s not about whether anyone takes those things to mean that Obama’s a “bad man.” In fact, arguing in those terms is juvenile and distracting.
Next up: network coverage. No trace of the speech or its aftermath on the local affiliates. It’s the news hour here (still between 5 and 6 PM Pacific), and I’m seeing weather, preps for the USC-UCLA game, and some car crash over west of me that’s got traffic snarled up.
Anderson Cooper has Alberto Gonzales on, who rejects comparing Obama’s executive action to those of Reagan, the Bushes, or other previous presidents. But here’s an interesting thing: there’s no ongoing feeding frenzy on Cooper’s show, with a big panel and a lot of attention-getting back and forth. The panel ended quickly. The coverage is actually very quiet and unobtrusive in tone now. Just Cooper, asking questions of one egghead after another in a monotone. At the commercial break just now, he promised to switch topics when he came back.
Contrast that with the wall-to-wall coverage of Obamacare for weeks after the bloody, half-strangled way in which it was “passed.” I continue to believe that the MSM are trying to avoid over-investment in this unconstitutional action. They’re all for the specific outcome — amnesty — but they don’t want to really address the rule-of-law side of it. So they’re just not doing it.
Enjoy some excerpts:
But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their wages good wages benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.
It’s been this way for decades. And for decades we haven’t done much about it.
[F]or a year and a half now Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote. Now I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as president, the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me, that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.
Now here is the thing. We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.
A psychotically incoherent passage:
I know some of the critics of the action call it amnesty. Well, it’s the not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today. Millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That’s the real amnesty, leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary it to our character.
The Obama glove-toss, sophomoric as ever:
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.
Marc Thiessen (on Megyn Kelly just now): “A moving, beautifully written, and deeply cynical speech.” Well, I give him one out of three.
9:45 PM (Eastern): Andrew McCarthy points out on Megyn Kelly’s show that if Obama follows through on the emotional criteria he brought up tonight (e.g., not “tearing families apart”), he has to give amnesty to a lot more than 5 million people. McCarthy thinks Obama is preparing to eventually give full pardons to everyone. Gee, ya think?
Note: I’m on the watch to see if Fox or someone gets a governor (or governor-elect Greg Abbott) on to talk about suing Obama over this. I don’t know if they’re ready to discuss the basis for such a suit; e.g., lay out particulars. I suspect even the most hard-headed observers are still playing catch-up, it having been so unthinkable for a president to do this up until now.