Via the Corner, the balls on this guy to float an answer this blithe when he’s had weeks to prepare for the question, which he surely knew was coming. Read ’em and weep — 22 different occasions compiled by Boehner’s office when Obama told the public, either broadly or specifically, that he can’t go around changing immigration law without Congress’s assent. What’s the missing context here, Jeh? Obama, July 2010:
“[T]here are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws. … I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship. And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.”
Listen for actual laughter in the hearing room after Johnson walks straight into a trap that Jason Chaffetz has set for him and then dismisses it with ye olde “out of context” hypothesis. This guy very well might have been the next secretary of defense had Obama not made him his point man on what’ll come to be seen as one of the most notorious executive power grabs in American history. And the worst part, the thing that moves this from pathetic spin to outright deceit, is that Jeh Johnson knows better than almost anyone else in Washington just how disdainful of the law Obama is. Who was the Pentagon lawyer who warned O three years ago that the White House was violating the War Powers Act by engaging in “hostilities” in Libya without congressional approval? Why, Jeh Johnson, of course. But rather than resign in protest, he kept his mouth shut — and got a cabinet position at DHS as thanks. According to this NYT report from a few days ago, Johnson’s first proposal on executive amnesty back in May was far more modest than Obama wanted, probably because Johnson knew just how legally dubious a massive amnesty would be. Too bad, Obama told him; go back to the drawing board and find me some legal fig leaf I can use to legalize millions. So Johnson did it, and now he’s playing the stooge in front of Congress for his boss. He deserves that defense job. In this administration, it’s a consummate “yes man” position. Who’s more qualified than him?