Now we know for sure that he doesn’t read Vox.
I don’t know whether to take this as a sign that O’s having second thoughts about a mega-amnesty or if it’s just lip service he’s paying to enumerated powers as he gears up to rewrite America’s immigration law, but the seeds of the counterargument to executive action are right here in the second half of the clip. Immigration, he says, is an issue on which there’s actually quite a lot of bipartisan consensus. The parties’ demands overlap substantially; even many Republican voters like the idea of comprehensive reform. It’s just these darned obstructionist House Republicans who won’t let the bill move forward. If that’s true, though, then the solution is a no-brainer: Let angry voters revolt at the polls in November and toss Boehner and the rest of the GOP caucus out on their ears. If House Republicans aren’t representing the wishes of their constituents on this subject, they’ll be punished for it and then the new Democratic majority can pass the mother of all amnesty bills next year. Obama seems to be suggesting here that if the polls show bipartisan support on an issue, that gives him extra room to act — he’s vindicating the popular will because House Republicans refuse to. Whereas Ezra Klein’s point, as I took it, was that Obama has extra room to act when there isn’t bipartisan support. When the public is divided and that filters up to Congress, deadlocking the two chambers, then Obama needs to step in and make sure all-important action is taken. Those two scenarios, bipartisan popular support and the lack thereof, encompass all possible outcomes when Congress is frozen, and somehow they both lead to executive action. Huh.
Watch to the end and you’ll see Jon Karl ask Obama straight up whether he intends to issue work permits to illegals after he amnestizes them. You can imagine an argument by which the president, through “prosecutorial discretion,” can legally refuse to remove a single illegal immigrant. What the argument is for letting him authorize them to work here too, though, I have no idea. And yet he doesn’t deny that he’s thinking about it.