Obama: I’ve got five more years to deliver on my promises on immigration reform

posted at 3:05 pm on February 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I guess we can call this Hope for No Change:

In an interview with Univision, a seemingly confident Obama said he’ll have more time to work on hot-button issues like immigration in his next term.

“Well, first of all … my presidency is not over,” Obama, who just a few months ago described himself as an underdog in the presidential race, said in a telephone interview.

“I’ve got another five years coming up. We’re going to get this done,” he said. …

“I would have only broken my promise if I hadn’t tried,” he said. “But ultimately, I’m one man. You know, we live in a democracy. We don’t live in a monarchy. I’m not the king. I’m the president. And so, I can only implement those laws that are passed through Congress.”

It’s not a monarchy?  You could have fooled us, considering the edict that Obama issued last month that tells religious organizations that they can no longer choose to follow their conscience and doctrinal faith in deciding whether to give away contraception for free to their employees.  That mandate relies on a law passed by Congress as a cover for executive diktats,  but the rule itself didn’t depend on Congressional action, although Congress might act to rescind it.

But the argument is specious in another, more concrete sense.  Obama had dominating Democratic majorities in 2009 and 2010, and could have chosen to press forward with his own plans on immigration reform.  For several months, Obama had a veto-proof majority in the Senate, as well as at least a few Republicans who would have been inclined to go along on the issue, such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham.  He could have tackled immigration reform at any point in those first two years, and might have built enough bipartisan goodwill to boost his party’s chances in the midterms.  Instead, Obama pushed it to the back burner and instead pursued an unpopular health-care overhaul that cost his party 68 House seats, ruining his chances to push through any more of his agenda in the final two years of his term.  And that could end up being wasted altogether if the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional.

Obama made his choice, and the Latino voters who care about the issue won’t be impressed with Obama’s humble brag about being around for another five years.  He will almost certainly not get that kind of majority in either chamber of Congress again, which means Obama won’t be able to push his own ideas for immigration reform at all — and if he didn’t have the courage to fulfill his campaign promise with 60 seats in the Senate, he won’t with 53, 51, or 45, either.  Obama put those voters on the back burner, and most of them will be smart enough to understand that another five years of Obama means another five years of all talk and no action.


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