In one sense, the approach the president is said to be contemplating does fit into a pattern of his use of executive power. That pattern involves taking provocative executive actions on sensitive, divisive issues to isolate people he detests, knowing it will invite a sharp response, and then using the response to scare his own base voters into thinking they are under assault when in fact they are on the offensive. That’s how moving to compel nuns to buy contraception and abortive drugs for their employees became “they’re trying to take away your birth control.” This strategy needlessly divides the country and brings out the worst instincts of people on all sides, but it has obvious benefits for the administration and its allies. Liberals get both the substantive action and the political benefit of calling their opponents radicals and getting their supporters worked up. Obama’s legalization of millions would surely draw a response that could then be depicted as evidence of Republican hostility to immigrants, rather than of Republican hostility to illegal executive overreach that tries to make highly significant policy changes outside the bounds of our constitutional order.
It’s not that he’s liberal. I’ve been through liberal presidents in my lifetime. Despite Clinton being far more damaging on guns than Barack Obama could ever dream of, I never developed the visceral dislike of Clinton Administration that I have for the Obama Administration. Maybe that’s partly psychological. The Clinton years were good. I look back fondly on that time in life. In contrast, the Obama years have been hellish both financially and in always feeling like we’re living on the razors edge just a hair’s breath away from losing everything we thought we believed about this country.
Philosophically, I think Barack Obama is a fairly conventional progressive in the mold of Woodrow Wilson; another ends-justify-the-means president who isn’t above flaming the worst instincts in the populace if it benefits the promotion of his political agenda. But I also can’t help but to take a swipe at Republicans here.
You know what makes Republican cries of overreach ring hollow? Maybe because your guy did it over the howls of the left during the last Administration? I would be the first to agree that Bush’s crimes with executive overreach pale in comparison to Obama’s, but Bush set the stage. You reap what you sow. I’m deeply angry at the Obama surveillance state, but it was Bush who laid the foundation for it. Let’s not kid ourselves.
Many people on the right call on President Obama to be impeached for a his overreach. Like the author of this piece, I am more sympathetic to handing out green cards more liberally than the majority of conservatives. But if he unilaterally, and without legal authority, implements amnesty without action by Congress, I believe he ought to be impeached. That would be a bridge too far for me when it comes to illegal executive actions. I know the consequence of that is President Joe Biden. I’d take it.
However, you know what makes impeachment politically impossible for the Republicans? You know what makes Obama invite the very idea? Progressives well remember what happened the last time Republicans decided it was a good idea to impeach the last Democratic president over the very important topic to the future of the country: lying about whether he did or did not get a blow job from another consenting adult.
Impeachment is serious business. It should only be for very serious things. But when the GOP made President Clinton only the second President in the US to be impeached by the House, over being dishonest about blow jobs, they cheapened the very idea. Along comes a president who has actually done some things I think may deserve impeachment, and sorry guys, you surrendered the moral high ground.
So Obama won’t be impeached. And you can thank Newt Gringrich for that.