Skip to 24:30 for the key bit. Admittedly, admittedly, this is as rote and innocuous a statement of support for amnesty as you’ll ever hear from a GOP leader — he even stresses that we need to secure the border first — but the closer we get to the lame-duck session, the more righties are going to parse his every belch for signs of a deal on immigration. And not just righties: The LA Times perked up upon hearing this today too. As the man himself says, the sooner we get this done, the better it’ll be for
the GOP donor class America. Why not November?
This caught my attention too:
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is backing off its demand that President Barack Obama act by Thanksgiving on executive action aimed at repairing the immigration system. Instead, the group is set to approve a resolution calling for action by the end of the holiday season, a timetable in line with what Mr. Obama is now promising.
The Hispanic lawmakers met this month with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to complain about Mr. Obama’s decision to punt executive action, which is to include a ratcheting back of deportations, until after the midterm elections. They asked that Mr. Obama act by Thanksgiving, but were told instead that the new deadline was by the end of the holiday season. That’s in line with what Mr. Obama had initially said.
Why did the CHC back down and decide to give Obama another month when he already screwed them a few weeks ago by postponing executive amnesty until winter? One theory is that it has to do with Mary Landrieu’s race in Louisiana. If neither she nor her GOP opponent, Bill Cassidy, hit 51 percent on election day in November, they’ll head to a runoff on December 6. And it’s quite possible that neither will: There’s a tea-party longshot also in the race who’s polling in the single digits, which won’t keep Cassidy out of the runoff but might keep him from hitting the 51 percent he needs to seal the deal in November. (A Fox News poll released a few days ago has Cassidy leading 51/38 but most surveys this year have him ahead by low single digits.) If that happens and then O drops an amnesty bomb around Thanksgiving, the outrage among Louisiana conservatives might be enough to sink Landrieu in December. Postponing the order until Christmas would keep this issue off the table until after they vote, which is in keeping with the White House’s strategy of avoiding the consent of the governed on immigration by all means.
There’s another possibility, though. By waiting until the very end of the year to issue an executive order on amnesty, Obama will leave Boehner more time during the lame-duck session to make a deal with Harry Reid on some sort of bill. I don’t think Boehner would do that, not because he doesn’t want to but because it’d be such a knee to the groin of conservative voters who turned out big for the GOP on election day that the party would spend the next year trying to recover from it. (Conservatives would dutifully line up for the nominee in 2016, though, needless to say.) But if you’re O, why not stand pat for awhile and give him a chance? Boehner desperately wants this issue off the table and the White House knows it, which is why Obama held off all summer on issuing his order. He knows that once he makes his move, it’ll kill any chance Boehner has to bring House GOPers on board. Better to wait as long as you can and see what Boehner’s willing to do. And if you’re willing to wait all summer, wait not wait until the end of the year too?