Monday, November 24, 2014

Obama's Executive Move On Immigration - Paints GOOPS Into A Corner

As the crazed Reepos continue to scream and froth at the mouth over Obama's executive action on immigration (see Sen. Ted Cruz's latest fulmination on 'stopping this lawless administration and its unconstitutional amnesty') we see that the end result has been a brilliant strategic move - with the public now favoring any kind of action forward on immigration (See: 'Public Favors Immigration Order', The Denver Post, Nov. 23, p. 6A).

Basically, a funny thing happened after the mid-terms: Instead of Obama coming out all meek, self-pitying and weak, he came out like a ball buster and handed the Reeps their nuts with his audacious immigration address and the issuance of an executive order the next day. Never mind this order is in fact relatively modest, i.e. it only sends immigrants to the back of the deportation line - and even then they'd have to have  been in the country at least five years. So one wonders why the Reepos have so easily lost their minds over this.. (Many immigrants,  on learning the limits, are actually now complaining a bit as noted two days ago in a Miami Herald piece.)

Maybe it's because Obama, basically, has painted the GOP into a corner on an issue that could spell a monstrous loss for the Rs in the 2016 presidential election. Why? Because if the little fuckers go too far off the deep end - shutting down the gov't or trying to pull funding from immigration programs or trying to impeach Obama, they WILL lose at the ballot box.

They will antagonize millions of Hispanic voters, for one thing, and this is the same demographic that was critical with Obama winning back in 2012. They will also outrage many sane Americans who now demand some kind of action on immigration - via Obama's executive orders, if not actual legislation.

As the Denver Post article puts it:

"With the public favoring changes in the immigration system, the Republicans' best short term response appears to be purely rhetorical...Beyond that their hope of reversing his policies appears to be either a years long lawsuit or the 2016 presidential election."

But as the article also notes:

"GOP congressional leaders are desperate to squelch talks of a government shutdown or even impeachment."

Why? Because such moves, even if undertaken and unsuccessful, will ensure the demise of any GOP presidential election hope in 2016. They will simply piss off too many voters who will take out their anger via the ballot box by voting for the Dem Presidential nominee.

So basically, like a classical pin move in chess (using one piece, e.g. knight,  to neutralize two of the opponent's pieces) Obama has pinned the Reepos. If they go crazy and shut down the government over this, or over-react and try to impeach him or even refuse to vote on his assorted nominations, they will lose at the polls in '16 and big time.

Obama has thus won by being headstrong and forceful as opposed to taking the mid-term defeat personally (as a rebuke) or as an obligation for him to be a pusillanimous supplicant to the belligerent Reeps. And this alone drives them crazy.

Apart from the above, it is well to take a meta perspective on the whole kerfuffle. Why, exactly, are the Repukes working themselves into a lather over a minor immigration executive order when congress as a whole has abdicated its most important powers for the past 60 years? If you are going to be a Constitutional fetishist, I would think you'd be a purist about it and not pick and choose which constitutional powers you're going to demand while ignoring the most critical. (Or, using rhetorical ploys to explain away the ceding of war powers!)

Thus, in Article I, Section 8 we read the full swath of congressional powers - all prefaced with the words: "Congress shall have the Power to......"

To what? Well everything from to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties and Imposts to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" to

"coin money, regulate the Value thereof"  and

"To declare war, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal"

But what have we actually observed?

Well, recent congresses (Demo and Reepo)  have done little or nothing in the way of laying Taxes to provide for the general Welfare - specifically our crumbling infrastructure - now featuring some 70,000 bridges on the verge of collapse, as noted on '60 Minutes' last night (about which I will have more to say in a future post).

As for money, Congress (and the Treasury Dept. by extension), has basically ceded the printing of money - bills - to the Federal Reserve. Recall this entity (not in any way associated with the federal government proper) lays interest on every note made and this is passed on to the banks. The Federal Reserve also has the foremost power in the valuation of money,  for example by its implemented policies such as "quantitative easing" and hiking or lowering interest rates.  (QE and lower interest rates makes every dollar cheaper - which the stock market loves - and raising interest rates makes each dollar more dear and which the stock market hates.)

Where's the beef there? I guess maybe congress- especially the Reeps - forgot they had any say to do with money.

Last but not least, is the congressional  power to declare war, missing since World War II. In each of the wars that have occurred since - for whatever reason - Congress has allowed the executive branch to define either a "police action" (i.e. Korea, so not specifically requiring formal declaration) or some "resolution" (Gulf of Tonkin Resolution for Vietnam War, Iraq War Resolution for Iraq War) to finagle congress into ceding its own war powers and declarative power in favor of passive votes on the executive's resolution. And now these wussies are whining about the executive having "too much power" and presidential "lawlessness"? Give me a freakin' break!

Any moron and his pet monkey knows, or should, that war powers have far greater repercussions than almost any other and indeed their execution can influence a nation's debt and future welfare. This ain't rocket science, or astrophysics!

Author Gore Vidal pinpointed this absurd willingness of congress to cede power to the executive  when he noted (Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, 2002, p. 124)

"Since 1950 the United States has fought perhaps a hundred overt and covert wars. None was declared by the nominal representatives of the American people in Congress…they had meekly turned over to the executive their principal great power to wage war. That was the end of that Constitution”. 

So now the Repups are squalling because a President delivered a moderate executive order on immigration? No wonder this country is in the crapper - too many have lost touch with reality-  or the actual touchstones of history showing how the constitutional landscape has changed- and how THEY contributed to it by abdicating too much power to the executive.  How can we put this so they understand? Oh yeah! It's a bit hard to corral all the cows back into the barn after leaving the barn door open! DOH!

Maybe they all need to go back to school, and maybe take remedial history 101.

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