Probably inevitable. In a bad electoral landscape, with election day bearing down, Democrats were bound to get jumpy about a move this bold. (“No question where the long-term advantage lies, but right now, in an ugly year, it’s raising an uglier head.”) Except for Colorado, the states in play this November are unlikely to tilt due to Latino turnout. Amnesty shills will be disappointed, but hey. Obama can endure a few more weeks of Luis Gutierrez calling him the “deporter-in-chief.”
One ominous possibility: Maybe O will make it up to Gutierrez et al. by going even bigger with his delayed amnesty than he was initially planning to. If he issues DACA 2.0 now, it’d probably mean legalizing five million people or less. If he issues it later, it could mean legalizing … more.
Fed up with congressional gridlock, the president has said he’ll use his executive power to make changes. One proposal under discussion would delay a decision on the more sweeping and controversial changes under consideration until after the November midterm election, according to a White House official familiar with the discussions.
Under that plan, the president would first announce measures aimed at tightening enforcement of current law, then put off until the end of the year a decision on a more sweeping program that could temporarily shield millions of immigrants from deportation…
Aides say the president has not made a decision on precise actions or timing. The official familiar with the talks, who would not be identified discussing internal deliberations, said the two-step proposal was one of several on the table.
So he’s going to take a “security first” approach and wait on legalization for awhile? I wonder what the GOP messaging team will do with that precedent vis-a-vis comprehensive reform.
Obama said at yesterday’s presser that he’s still hoping Congress will act and thinks that they might “after the midterm elections,” which, yeah, does imply a delay. There may be more to his strategy than “let’s not do anything to further piss off already pissed-off red-state voters” too. Greg Sargent, a reliable pipeline for what Democrats on the Hill are thinking, says a mega-amnesty now to impress Latinos could momentarily alienate another important lefty constituency:
Dem hopes for survival rest heavily on turning out the unmarried women who are increasingly key to the Dem coalition but sit out midterms. The way to move them is with a message relentlessly focused on women’s economic issues. Any move that allows Republicans to argue Dems are focused on giving jobs to illegal immigrants — however demagogic — risks muddling that message in the minds of voters who are already suffering from economic insecurity. While some argue acting would rev up core Dem groups, Latinos are not a major factor in these races and it might not have any such impact on these unmarried red state women.
There may not be enough Latinos in swing states this fall to turn the elections but there may be enough single women — if they turn out. Tossing a grenade on immigration could blow up the party’s efforts to make that happen. Beyond that, it may also be that O and the Democratic brain trust have reluctantly concluded that Republicans aren’t quite stupid enough to be baited into shutting down the government right before the election to protest Obama’s amnesty. A spokesman for Marco Rubio, who hinted earlier this week about attaching conditions on immigration to the next spending bill, told Byron York three times in the course of a short interview yesterday that Rubio won’t support a shutdown. There may be some House Republicans who make noise about it and Ted Cruz will probably say something not entirely disapproving, but there’s just no way the GOP’s going to respond to Obama rolling a grenade into his own tent by rolling an even bigger one into its own. Which means O has no reason to go ahead with his executive order before November except to spare himself Luis Gutierrez’s frowniest frowny face. Aw.