Charles Krauthammer and A.B. Stoddard chew on the dispute between Senator Jon Kyl and President Barack Obama, and neither really believe that Obama would have “acted stupidly” enough to make the a bald statement that Kyl described about border enforcement. If Obama actually refused to enforce the border, Krauthammer is right that it would be a dereliction of duty that Congress would need to investigate. However, if Obama merely suggested that he couldn’t do much without a more rational legal structure, is that a dereliction of duty — or just the kind of political horsetrading that Obama said he’d eschew if elected President? Cubachi has more of the details:
Tucker Carlson calls Kyl “eminently believable,” and thinks that the Obama White House has an upside on this argument. They want to have Obama seen as taking a tough bargaining position to demand Republican assistance on getting comprehensive reform passed. In a way, it gives Obama the better of both worlds; he doesn’t have to propose any specifics with which Republicans can hammer Congressional Democrats in an already-tough midterm season, but he gets to keep pandering to Hispanic voters that want to see some action out of the White House.
Unless Obama disbands the Border Patrol, I doubt a legal case could be made for dereliction. Politically, it’s an entirely different matter, but is it really that much different than the Bush administration’s actions in enforcing immigration law? Except for some high-profile raids during the debates over reform packages that ultimately failed, Obama’s predecessor wasn’t exactly known for his enthusiasm in pursuing border security at the expense of the flow of cheap labor over the southern border. If Obama is guilty of dereliction for the current efforts, he’s one in a long line of derelicts.