As a country, America needs immigration reform and we’ve needed it for at least 40 years. What President Reagan did back in the day helped a little, but it wasn’t enough because it didn’t do nearly enough to regulate our borders. What President Obama did on Thursday night wasn’t enough either and for the same reason.
Our immigration policy should try to keep families together and it should concentrate limited resources on deporting the people President Obama prioritized. It should also try to keep more people from coming here illegally. But the way the President moved forward pretty much guaranteed continued polarization between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. We used to have polarization within the legislative branch too, but not anymore since beginning in January, both houses will be controlled by Republicans.
During President Obama’s administration, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have distinguished themselves by attempting to cooperate and compromise. I don’t know who started it, but the fact that it’s been going on for so long means the American public should do one of several things, none of which can happen for two years.
The voting public, what’s left of it since turnout in the last election was at record lows, should either elect a Republican President in 2016, elect a veto-proof Republican Congress (both houses) or elect a Democratic President and a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Perhaps President Obama thinks that by escalating the war with Congress, he can bring about the third option. If he does continue the war with Congress he will ensure his legacy as a less than effective President, perhaps the least effective since Jimmy Carter. And if that is what he’s thinking, his strategy could very easily backfire.
President Obama missed an opportunity to try to get along with Congress. The extreme members of the Republican Party need to realize that since they are no longer the minority, they have to try to govern too. They can’t just throw bombs. For example, if the first action of the Republican majority of both houses of Congress is to try to repeal Obamacare, that will fail. Over the past two years, the House has wasted a lot of time passing dozens of such resolutions which never even came up for a vote in the Democratic Senate. Republicans are a majority, but they are far from a veto-proof majority. If they retaliate for the President’s usurpation of legislative power, by trying to repeal Obamacare again, the President will veto the bill. To quote Otto Von Bismark (except he, of course, said it in German), “Politics is the art of the possible.” Recalling a doo wop hit of the 1950’s, everyone in Washington these days seems to try the impossible.
As I said, I don’t know who started it. I also don’t care who started it. But if it’s going to stop, somebody has to try to stop it and even if you agree with the President’s policy, what he did Thursday night threw an accelerant on the fire. If ours was a Parliamentary system of government, then the existing government , not the one that takes office in January, would have been turned out due to failing a vote of confidence. And it would be a lack of confidence in both parties, not one or the other.