If Obama Pulls The Trigger On Executive Action, Republicans Have Limited Options

Republicans don't really have many options if the President pulls the trigger on immigration reform via executive action.

Mitch McConnell John Boehner President Obama

As the White House leaks details of the President’s threatened executive action on immigration, Congressional Republicans are debating how to respond to what now seems like an inevitable event:

Congressional Republicans have split into competing factions over how to respond to President Obama’s expected moves to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, which are likely to include protecting millions from being deported.

The first, favored by the GOP leadership, would have Republicans denounce what House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has called “executive amnesty” and use the party’s new grip on Congress to contest changes to the law incrementally in the months ahead.

The second, which has become the rallying cry for conservatives, would seek to block the president’s decision by shutting down the government for an extended period until he relents.

The brewing internal debate, which started to play out Thursday in meetings on both sides of the Capitol, represents the first significant test for Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) since Republicans won full control of Congress, forcing the leaders to balance their desire to show that the GOP can govern and their fears of upsetting the conservatives who lifted them to power.

“It’s a big test for the leadership. We cannot listen to the loudest, shrillest voices in our party,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican who represents the Philadelphia suburbs. “At some point we have to fund the government, and we should not fight to attach some demand. I don’t want to stand by and watch as our party gets driven into a ditch.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), an advocate for an overhaul of immigration law, has been counseling House Republicans this week about the need to show empathy for undocumented workers as the party rails against the Obama administration, according to GOP aides familiar with his deliberations. He is concerned that too much vitriol could send the wrong message to Hispanic voters.

Still, Diaz-Balart said in a recent interview that Obama lacks the legal authority to act on his own and if he does so will upend any hope of bipartisan accord on a host of unrelated issues, including major trade agreements and tax reform.

“If the president ignores the fact that there’s going to be a new Congress in January, that makes it frankly almost impossible to get anything done,” he said.

Added Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “This whole threat of an executive order has a chilling effect on everything.”

On the right, there are calls for the party to attach the immigration issue, and specifically the issue of executive action, to the spending bills that must be passed either during the current lame duck session or very soon after the new Congress has convened in January. While this is idea that has generally only been put forward so far by the likes of Ted Cruz and various other Tea Party aligned members of the House and Senate, it’s an idea that seems to be sticking around at least as some kind of a threat. Senator Jeff Sessions, who is likely to become the head of the Senate Budget Committee in the new Senate, brought up the possibility of using the spending bills to block the President, with the implicit threat that there would be a government shutdown if the White House didn’t back down. While this threat is likely to play well with the base and with back benchers in both chambers, it’s apparently that leadership isn’t at all on board with the idea. While House Speaker John Boehner refuses to say that a shutdown threat is off the table, it seems clear that he would prefer to take another, less drastic course of action should the President go forward. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, continues to say that a shutdown is not an option, even if it concerns a showdown with the President over executive action on immigration.

Another option apparently being weighed is to make the President’s actions on immigration part of the House’s lawsuit against the President:

 House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is considering expanding a proposed federal lawsuit over President Obama’s executive orders to include action on immigration. Filing a separate lawsuit over the president’s authority to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation is another option that gained traction Thursday during talks among party leaders.

The idea to use the courts as an initial means of dissent, should the president move forward in the coming weeks to protect millions from deportation, moved to the front of the House GOP’s playbook after the leadership reviewed it. Boehner reportedly wants to respond forcefully and quickly should the president act and believes a lawsuit would do that, as well as signal to conservatives in his conference that he shares their frustrations about the president’s use of executive power.

Several Republicans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid confirmed Boehner’s outlook and the thrust of the leadership’s discussions. They cautioned that any final decision by House Republicans will be made only after consulting rank-and-file members in the wake of a White House announcement — if the president decides to issue executive orders on immigration.

Given the fact that this lawsuit, which was authorized back in July, has yet to be filed it wouldn’t take too much work to shift the focus of the case as suggested here. Right now, of course, the lawsuit as authorized by the House is limited to the President’s decision to expand the period of time during which employers have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health insurance coverage for employees. Leaving aside for the moment the preliminary issues regarding standing and the Political Question Doctrine that apply to any lawsuit by Congress against the President, and which I’ve discussed at length before here and here , this has always seemed like a particular weak ground on which to base a lawsuit regarding the supposed illegal use of Executive Branch power. For one thing, there was always something quite odd about the idea of Republicans who oppose the PPACA suing the President for taking an action that, at least temporarily, provides some relief from the requirements of that law. More importantly, though, is the fact that the period for which the extension applies will have most likely expired by the time any court even got to the merits of the lawsuit, assuming that even happened. The same could not be said about the merits of a lawsuit based on the kind of relief from immigration laws that the President is contemplating, which would last at least until the end of his Presidency unless he decided to repeal it himself, which seems unlikely.

In order to proceed in this manner, of course, the House would need to pass a new resolution authorizing a change in the grounds of the lawsuit, but that would be relatively easy given the Republican majority in the body. Such a lawsuit, though, likely would not fare any better than one based on the Affordable Care Act. It would still face the same problems related to standing and other issues that a PPACA lawsuit would face, for example, and based on standing precedent the most likely outcome of any proceedings dealing with those issues would seem to be dismissal of the lawsuit for failure to state a claim. That issue would likely get appealed, obviously, but that just means that the matter would continue to be unresolved as the days ticked down on the Obama Administration, the 2016 Presidential race drew closer, and more and more people took advantage of the benefits of the President’s action. Moreover, as I discussed earlier, it is by no means clear that there is anything about the proposed Presidential actions that is per se illegal. So, even if we got to the point where a Court considered the House’s claims on the merits it’s entirely possible that those actions will be found to be wholly within the boundaries of the authority of the Executive Branch as established by the Constitution, and under the discretion granted to the President and his deputies under the relevant immigration laws.  In the end, of course, that may not matter since the purpose of the lawsuit has little to do with the law and everything to do with politics, including the desire to placate the more radical elements of the Republican Caucus who are likely to push for options like government shutdown fights, or even impeachment, in response to the President’s action.

There is one final option available to the GOP, of course, and that would be to push some kind of a bill on immigration reform that the President might agree to. As we sit here today, though, it’s hard to imagine that happening if the President really does pull the trigger on executive action. There’s little obvious enthusiasm in the GOP Caucus in either chamber of Congress for such reform to begin with, and if the President does take the action he’s threatening it seems as though the eagerness to act will almost completely disappear. Responding in such a manner immediately, for example, would likely be seen as the kind of capitulation that I would not expect to see from anyone on Capitol Hill so early in a Congressional term. Additionally, executive action would quite obviously inflame the GOP base to such a degree that it would be politically difficult for even pro-reform Republicans to act once the President has acted.

This is why the President’s current position is politically unrealistic if the he really wants Congress to pass an immigration reform bill. Whether he likes it or not, the bill that passed the Senate is dead. It probably would not have passed the House in any case, but it most certainly would not pass during a lame duck session. More importantly, it would not pass the new Senate that will take office in January. Rather than setting up a confrontation based on a bill that will be dead once the current Congress ceases to exist, the answer will be to start over in a new Congress. Which means that the new bill will have to be something that can pass both the House and the new Senate.  That is a political reality that the President doesn’t seem to recognize.  Of course, that assumes that he is making this threat because he wants to see Congress act. I don’t think he does. I think that, like every other Democrat, he wants to keep the immigration issue unresolved so that his party can continue to exploit it to appeal to Latino voters. This doesn’t let the GOP off the hook, of course, and it would be entirely logical for the President to put the new Congress on notice that he will act if they don’t. That, however, is a battle for 2015, not a battle for a lame duck session.

All of that notwithstanding, it does appear for the moment as if the President is going to take action of some kind. If he does, though, it’s not at all clear what the GOP can do to stop him, or to push back, other than acting on immigration reform itself. Unfortunately, the President’s very actions are likely to make Congressional action of any kind difficult if not impossible. It’s almost as if neither side of this debate actually wants to get anything done, isn’t it?

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Borders and Immigration, Congress, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    It’s almost as if neither side of this debate actually wants to get anything done, isn’t it?

    Well that’s just dumb…oh…I see…it’s your BOTH SIDES DO IT fetish.
    Republicans are never, ever, going to act on immigration. Where have you been for the last 6 years? The only way to get anything done is for Obama to act on his own. To think otherwise is delusional.

    Anyway…after Obama acts…they’ll just sue him.
    Oh wait…that didn’t go so well last time.

  2. Anything the President does is going to be limited, and temporary, and it is going to make the probability of any bill making it through Congress in the next two years close to zero.

    The GOP is most certainly not without responsibility here but if Obama really wants Congress to act he is doing everything that will make it less likely that they will actually do so. It’s almost as if he and his fellow Democrats would rather keep the issue open so that they can use it as a cudgel in the 2016 elections.

  3. Stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This is a reality discernment question here, Doug. Do you think the Republicans want to, or are capable of passing , any serious immigration reform legislation?
    With all due respect, the reality is the new Republican Congress is NEVER going to pass such legislation, because their constituents don’t WANT them to.

  4. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “The GOP is most certainly not without responsibility here but if Obama really wants Congress to act he is doing everything that will make it less likely that they will actually do so.”

    Since the probability of Republicans acting (or in general cooperating with Obama on anything over the next 2 years where he is not giving them exactly what they want) is zero, I am not seeing the downside from Obama’s point of view.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Stonetools:

    This is a reality discernment question here, Doug. Do you think the Republicans want to, or are capable of passing , any serious immigration reform legislation?
    With all due respect, the reality is the new Republican Congress is NEVER going to pass such legislation, because their constituents don’t WANT them to.

    Exactly. The Rubio-Schumer immigration proposal was DOA’d by Republican leadership, primarily because it wasn’t punitive enough. There is no way Republicans wanted to out themselves on THAT before the mid-term elections.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Anything the President does is going to be limited, and temporary, and it is going to make the probability of any bill making it through Congress in the next two years close to zero.

    It’s already zero.

  7. LaMont says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    it is going to make the probability of any bill making it through Congress in the next two years close to zero.

    What hell do you think has been going on since 2010? This has gone down as the most do nothing Congress in history. They have obstructed at every turn. Do you really expect the GOP to work with President Obama now? This is a “calculated risk” by a president that already knows the outcome if he were to capitulate. You are arguing in favor of a possibility that is unlikely to exist.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @LaMont:
    Doug has never understood that. His libertarianism affords him a superior, oh-so-far-above-it-all perch from which he is able to ignore reality and insist on a “both sides do it” notion that is factually absurd. But libertarianism is a form of delusion, a willing suspension of reality. So we get this kind of ridiculous commentary.

  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    If Obama Pulls The Trigger On Executive Action, Republicans Have Limited Options

    Hmmm… Let’s see:

    1) Pout

    2) Temper-tantrum

    3) use it as a fundraising opportunity

    4) all of the above.

  10. LaMont says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s like Doug often recognizes reality with rational thought in the middle of his articles, then the BSDI (both sides do it) syndrome kicks in and he’s reverting back to irrationality. Whats probably most fustrating to me is that I can see that Doug often knows better but chooses to be…well…complicated (best way I can put it)

  11. Grewgills says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Anything the President does is going to be limited, and temporary, and it is going to make the probability of any bill making it through Congress in the next two years close to zero.

    Do you really doubt that is the case regardless of what Obama does? If you were a betting man, what odds would you put on the Republicans putting together real comprehensive immigration reform that could draw the support of moderates?*

    * Absent executive action by Obama obviously.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @LaMont:

    He’s terrified because underneath the b.s. he’s quite an effective advocate for Democrats. Somewhere he got it into his head that he must never, ever, allow himself to support Democrats, so as he writes article after article pointing out the idiocy of Republicans, then has to perform mental gymnastics to reach a conclusion that BSDI. He sees reality, he just can’t accept it. Ideology really is the great crippler of minds.

  13. Geek, Esq. says:

    Obama’s taking this action will reduce the Republican’s likelihood of taking action from 0.00% to 0.000%.

    Republicans have purposefully chosen to make themselves, and by extension Congress, completely irrelevant to the issue of immigration. This is the result.

    It is not Obama’s taking action that is preventing Congress from reaching resolution. Rather, it is the decades-long refusal of Congressional Republicans to allow any legislative action which has made such action necessary.

    This all comes down to the fact that the Republican base is a bunch of wacko xenophobes. So, they get to watch while the adults figure this out.

  14. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Stonetools:

    Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), an influential member of the tea party caucus, told reporters Thursday that the election should embolden Republicans to face off with Obama. He was one of the signees of Salmon’s letter (reprinted below).

    “No one ran on getting along with the president,” he said. “That’ll be the difficulty if folks turn around and do a 180 and say, ‘Oh now we’re going to compromise with the president.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/house-gop-immigration-reform-shutdown

    The Republicans not only can’t govern, they have no desire to govern. They just want to complain.

  15. Guarneri says:

    “……like every other Democrat, he wants to keep the immigration unresolved so that his party can continue to exploit it to appeal to Latino voters.”

    Calling Prof Gruber. We need your hide-the-ball political acumen again. The stupid people might wake up.

  16. Stonetools says:

    Here’s reality, folks, from the National Journal no less:

    As a counterpoint, in as many as a dozen seats already safely held by Republicans, retiring or defeated GOP moderates are about to be replaced by more-conservative members. Among the new conservative congressmen are Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice of Georgia, as well as Gary Palmer of Alabama and Dave Brat, who unseated former Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia.

    “There are numerous movement conservatives in the new class,” one GOP chief of staff said. “If leadership thinks it’ll be easier to pass nonconservative things, not only are they mistaken, they are already selling out the mandate upon which so many new House members and senators were elected.”

    Self-identified movement conservatives already serving in the House are heartened by what they see as backups in the fight to drive the party right. Rep. John Fleming, cochair of an antiabortion group, the Values Action Team, said his group met Thursday to consider how to pass antiabortion measures in the next Congress, particularly by attaching amendments to appropriations bills. They also want to act decisively against President Obama’s policies on health care and immigration.

    So the new Congress is even more conservative and hyper partisan than the old Congress. That being the case, what possibility is there for a bipartisan deal on immigration reform? If even the National Journal thinks the new Congress is going to be more obstructionist, why in the world should anyone think that there is a possibility of immigration reform, whatever Obama does? Zero chance is zero chance, folks.
    You know what we will likely see out of this Congress? Not immigration reform-“abortion” reform. Watch and see.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    It’s funny…when I read the Gruber quote I thought of you.

  18. Will says:

    The majority of Americans oppose unilateral action on immigration? Obama needs to at least meet with Top GOP leaders and at least give bipartisanship a chance. He really needs some new advisors because someone with half a brain would at least tell him to try to work with Republicans. I know most of you will say well the GOP has 0 interest in passing immigration and Obama is just wasting his time. My response to that is he is the President and he needs to finally show some leadership and listen to what the American people want and try.

    As for me, I am in favor of some type of amnesty for illegal immigrants. I do not fear immigration and understand how important it is to a country that will need them to help support Social Security and other govt programs for our aging population. I understand that without immigration the US could face significant problems like Japan and Europe. I just oppose Executive action by Obama which will only help the GOP in 2016.

  19. Slugger says:

    How can the majority party obstruct and realistically threaten to shutdown the government? Have I been transported to Bizzaro World while I was sleeping?

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @Will:

    He really needs some new advisors because someone with half a brain would at least tell him to try to work with Republicans.

    Where in the fvck have you been for the last 6 years?
    He has bent over backwards trying to work with Republicans…pissing off his own base in the process…and gotten bubkis in return.

  21. David M says:

    I’m pretty sure the Republicans in Congress have plenty of options if they want to actually address immigration reform. The Democrats have shown they will compromise on the issue and not filibuster every proposal, so a deal is definitely possible.

    Unless of course you were talking about the preferred Republican solution of doing nothing, then yes, this does cause them problems.

  22. Blake says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The probability of immigration reform getting through Congress is already zero. That’s the political reality that you seem unable to grasp, despite the number of well-informed commenters who keep trying to help you see it.

  23. Will says:

    @C. Clavin:

    cliffy, no need to be angry. The world is not how you see it. We Republicans love Obama these days. He is responsible for the revival of our party. We hope he continues to alienate most Americans. Look at how desperate and disorganized the Dems are these days. Elizabeth Warren the fake populist in a leadership role won’t help. At this rate, Hillary might not even run..

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @Will:

    The world is not how you see it.

    So you think the Republicans have been willing to work together for the last 6 years? And the grid-lock is Obama’s fault?
    OK.
    If it were me I wouldn’t call an election with the lowest turnout since WW2, with an electorate that overwhelmingly white and old…a revival. But I guess when you got nothing anything is something.

  25. LaMont says:

    @Will:

    You appear to insinuate that Clavin is angry because of Republicans disdain for President Obama. You miss the point – He’s angry, as I am, at the fact that you/republicans don’t appear to understand the heights republicans are willing to go in order to prove their disdain of the President.

  26. Will says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Do you read other peoples comments or just respond with your usual dribble? As one of the very few Republicans left on here, I try to offer our perspective. I don’t expect or care if you disagree, but I offer another view instead of you all agreeing with each other all day which is pretty boring and caused a lot of people to flee this site.

    If you actually read my comments, you would see that the American people want to see the President work with Congress. The president has an obligation to the american people to try even if the chances are slim a deal can be made. If Obama keeps doing things his way, the Democratic party will face long odds in 2016. You don’t need a poll to tell you that but just common sense which you lack.

  27. David M says:

    @Will:

    Is there any reason the response to Republican refrains of “work with Congress” shouldn’t be a middle finger given the GOP introduction of the 60 vote threshold for routine matters?

  28. Will says:

    @LaMont:

    I’m sorry if you are angry, I truly am. Don’t take politics so seriously and you’ll be happier. That clown Clavin started out responding to me, “Where in the fvck have you been for the last 6 years” To me thats an angry statement.

    As for our disdain for the President, you do have that right. But don’t make the error of thinking we all hate him because he’s black. Most of us resent his Hope n change bullshit which most Americans have finally woken up to. The guy was uniquely unqualified to be president and just pisses on the Constitution to get what he wants. Our relations with just about every country have also declined under Obama. Have you read the Gates book? I can list more but whats the point. You see things your way and I see things mine.

  29. Will says:

    @C. Clavin:

    What about the War on Women? Maybe those pesky Voter ID laws. LMAO, you are running out of excuses. btw, i went to a new doctor the other day. Got a physical. I actually had to show a picture ID..

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @Will:
    WTF????

  31. David M says:

    @Will:

    But don’t make the error of thinking we all hate him because he’s black. Most of us resent his Hope n change bullshit which most Americans have finally woken up to. The guy was uniquely unqualified to be president and just pisses on the Constitution to get what he wants. Our relations with just about every country have also declined under Obama.

    The reason the the first statement comes up is the “reasons” listed don’t come close to making any sense in the real world. None.

  32. LaMont says:

    @Will:

    As if President Obama was never willing to work with congress! And it is hard to draw the conclusion of wanting the President to work with Congress from a low turning-out mid-term election. That sentiment existed for Presidents and Congresses dating back to 1776. Congress has to have an agenda the people wants before any blame can be cast toward the President. Tell me right now – what is the Republican stance on immigration reform? And how much do you want to bet that if they were to actually put on paper some of what they wanted it would be unpopular? President Obama loses nothing by executive action simply because the GOP does not have a viable alternative.

  33. Moosebreath says:

    @Will:

    “If you actually read my comments, you would see that the American people want to see the President work with Congress.”

    Do you believe the Republicans over the last 4 years had any obligation to work with the President (who, after all won 2 elections with a larger majority in the Electoral College than Bush 43 or Clinton)? If so, how did they meet that obligation?

  34. C. Clavin says:

    It’s sad when someone makes Munchbox look sane.

  35. Will says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You guys are really scared, huh. It’s Over. Your messiah has failed. Every move he makes benefits us. Hope you enjoy the ride!

  36. LaMont says:

    @Will:

    As for our disdain for the President, you do have that right. But don’t make the error of thinking we all hate him because he’s black.

    Without saying anything about the subject you bring it up. That tells me all that I need to know about how many see our President. Furthermore, we have quantifiable data, pictures, video, and audio clips that would suggest otherwise. And most of them identify themselves as republicans. People can be more wretched than you think.

  37. Will says:

    @Moosebreath:

    i think pushing through the abomination called Obamacare when you guys had control of Congress started all this. Maybe if Obama actually had tried to work with Republicans in passing other legislation before this monstrosity, he might have a better relationship with Congress.
    Obama doesn’t even try to work with Congress. HE is even detached from his own party.

    We’re sick of the arrogance of Obama and the Democratic party.”

    We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it ….”
    — Then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Obamacare, March 9, 2010

    National Journal’s Ron Fournier, an ardent backer of the ACA: “And so even I have to admit, as a supporter, that Obamacare was built and sold on a foundation of lies.” He says that in today’s political discourse there are two types of lies: “Those that hurt ‘my party’ and ‘my policies’; and those that don’t. We condemn the former and forgive the latter ….”

    Even in Gruber’s come-cleanery, there’s one more lie. The people who deceived you about Obamacare didn’t do so because you’re stupid. They did so because they thought voters are smart, and would reject them and their schemes if they didn’t spin their many deceptions.

    We had a decisive national election last week. Maybe Americans proved how stupid, or how smart, they truly are”

  38. Will says:

    @David M:

    The real world? That was last Tuesday, the election.. That’s when real people stood up and voted.

  39. Jeremy R says:

    This is why the President’s current position is politically unrealistic if the he really wants Congress to pass an immigration reform bill.

    The GOP is incapable of supporting anything besides border fences, policing and drone surveillance. They’ve spent the past decade priming their base to see anything that even remotely resembles “immigration reform” as unconscionable amnesty and consequently have zero room to maneuver on this issue. The only realistic option for any action at all on immigration reform is executive action (unless your meant “border security” when you said immigration reform).

  40. LaMont says:

    @Will:

    I think the meeting key republicans had on Pres. Obama inauguration night to obstruct religiously with the sole purpose of undermining everything Pres. Obama would do in hopes of making him a “one term President” started it.

    You say the president didn’t work with congress. That’s funny, because I remember him bending over backwards for republicans to have their input in the healthcare act only to get the shaft by republicans anyway. If anything, Pres. Obama was way too naïve to believe he could get bi=partisan support.

  41. Jeremy R says:

    @Will:

    National Journal’s Ron Fournier, an ardent backer of the ACA

    You clearly haven’t read Fournier or watched his media appearances through the 2008 elections and the entirety of the Obama administration. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between his columns and Peggy Noonan’s if the bylines were removed.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Will:

    Dishonest crapola.

    Obamacare was a Republican plan, it was your most recent presidential nominee’s plan.

    You will never support a real health care plan because in your little heads it means black people getting something from the government. And a black president getting credit for it? Oh, my God, that’s unthinkable! So you cut off your noses to spite your faces, just as southern white men have done since slave times. Like I said: belligerent stupidity.

  43. LaMont says:

    @Will:

    We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it ….”
    — Then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Obamacare, March 9, 2010

    Now people are finding out what is actually in it and they are signing on by massive numbers affirming the point that Nancy was making – everything republicans predicted about Obamacare is turning out to have been hogwash!

  44. Tyrell says:

    I don’t know what Republicans plan to do, but with 70+ % of the people against any sort of “amnesty” action by the president, Hillary better distance herself far away from the president’s plan: like as far away as the Redskins are away from a Superbowl.

  45. Moosebreath says:

    @Will:

    “i think pushing through the abomination called Obamacare when you guys had control of Congress started all this. Maybe if Obama actually had tried to work with Republicans in passing other legislation before this monstrosity, he might have a better relationship with Congress.”

    Ignoring the (hilariously wrongheaded) commentary on the adoption of the Republican alternative to the Clinton-era Healthcare proposal, drawn up by the lefties at the Heritage Foundation and previously passed into law by Mitt Romney, let’s actually look at some big name bills which were passed before Obamacare:

    Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 — 3 R’s in the House, 5 R’s in the Senate.

    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (even after it was amended to deal with Republican concerns by turning 1/3 of the Stimulus to tax cuts) — 3 R’s in the Senate and a donut in the House.

    In other words, no, the Republicans never cooperated with Obama. Not before Obamacare passed, not after.

  46. Moosebreath says:

    @Will:

    “We had a decisive national election last week.”

    We also had decisive ones in 2008 and 2012. What lessons did Republicans take from them?

  47. Will says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That’s disappointing coming from you. I wouldn’t expect you to play the race card. i thought you were too smart to do go that route and could offer a better argument. I think you’re spending too much time on here.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    The actual numbers:

    Pew poll:

    “Which comes closer to your view about how to handle undocumented immigrants who are now living in the U.S.? They should not be allowed to stay in this country legally. OR, There should be a way for them to stay in the country legally, if certain requirements are met.”

    71 to 25 for staying in the country.

    CBS/NYT poll:

    “Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are living in the U.S.? They should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship. They should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally, but not be allowed to apply for citizenship. OR, They should be required to leave the U.S.”

    50% for stay and apply, 13%for stay and not apply, 32% for kick ’em out.

    “If Congress does not act to address the immigration issue, do you think Barack Obama should or should not take action using executive orders?”

    51 to 43 for should.

    Once again: don’t get into political debates when all you know is what Fox and Rush have told you. It never works out.

  49. Will says:

    @Jeremy R:

    Its getting harder and harder for you guys to spin the bullshit. Read the Gates book or Chuck Todd’s new book. Enjoy the weekend, I’m out. I’m off to mentor veterans. I’m a successful recruiter & aspiring author, but I also like to help veterans. I help them with their resumes and offer job search assistance. We Republicans aren’t so evil after all.. It’s nice to actually help people instead of talking about it all day like so many of you do

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/06/books/chuck-todd-the-stranger-about-barack-obama-review.html?_r=0

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Will:

    Take the “race card” and shove it up your racist rear end. Really. When you say things like that, you might as well just tattoo “racist” on your forehead. No one here is fooled.

  51. michael reynolds says:

    “Will” is “Jenos,” right?

  52. LaMont says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Gotta be…

  53. David M says:

    @Will:

    argle-bargle Obummercare derp derp Grubergate

    The mildly entertaining part of the rant is that even in the face of such unrelenting and dishonest opposition from the Republicans, Obamacare has still been a success.

  54. steve q says:

    Doug have you been awake at any point in the last 6 years?

  55. Will says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Wow, you really are becoming unhinged. I didn’t realize how badly you were taking the Dem beating last week. You tried to play the Race Card and i called you out on it. Talking about us Republicans just hating on the black president and us wanting to keep the black man down.

    go back to wring fiction for teenagers because your political arguments are becoming quite Comical.

  56. Jeremy R says:

    @Will:

    Its getting harder and harder for you guys to spin the bullshit.

    What bullshit? If legislating around getting a better CBO score is now scandalous then every member of Congress is scandal-ridden, as that’s how all major legislation is drafted. The ACA isn’t even a particularly egregious example of it (for master class CBO gaming see Medicare Part D or the Ryan Budgets). It’s also not particularly scandalous for an academic to use impolitic language when describing the public’s knowledge of healthcare policy. It’s called academic freedom. Gruber’s musings and opinions are his own, and just because he, years earlier, did some consulting work, doesn’t make anyone else responsible for how he conducts himself now.

  57. steve q says:

    with the lowest turnout in like 70+ years it’s no wonder the GOP won. Old retired racists have nothing better to do than vote.

    BTW does anyone else just automatically skip all Doug’s tl;dr posts and go straight to the comments?

  58. michael reynolds says:

    @Will:

    Ah, poor, Jenos, outed again, and as pathetic as ever.

  59. Will says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No, you guys must have scared Jenos away. Just me ol timer’.

  60. wr says:

    @Will:” If you actually read my comments, you would see that the American people want to see the President work with Congress”

    This may come as a big shock to you — as it does to most Teapublicans — but “the American pepole” is not defined as “you.”

  61. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “It’s sad when someone makes Munchbox look sane.”

    Well, there’s about a forty percent chance they’re the same person…

  62. Tillman says:

    Maybe if Obama actually had tried to work with Republicans in passing other legislation before this monstrosity, he might have a better relationship with Congress.

    I keep reading this refrain in conservative circles, and I keep wondering what the hell it means. What does it mean when you say Obama should “try to work with” Republicans?

    What I think most who use the phrase fail to notice — and this is one of those “so obvious no one thinks of it” observations — is that it implies an extant problem. A prior conflict. Obama and the Republicans have trouble working together because they have a problem with one another. I bring this up to conservative people and they invariably reply that Republicans’ problems with Obama begin and end with his trampling of the Constitution and the rule of law. “When did he start doing that?” I ask. They say it began with Obamacare. It was shoved down the throat of the American people with no Republican support using arcane parliamentary procedure.

    Well, what about before that dire point (March 21, 2010)? Looking through the history of its enactment, there’s no single point at which you can truthfully and factually say President Obama shoved Obamacare down the throats of the American people. It was, for the most part, a messy internal Congressional Democrat negotiation since the moment the Democrats adopted the insurance mandate, a Republican idea in past healthcare debates, to appease the more conservative members of their voting bloc (Lieberman is noted in the Senate as being one of these who killed the public option), the Republican Party washed its hands of the whole idea of negotiation. Some conservatives I know say it began before Obamacare, to the bank bailout. I don’t think I need to spell out the obvious error there.

    What this tells me is that Republican problems with Obama that necessitate Obama “trying harder to work with” them are imaginary. The problems the Republicans point to as requiring greater bipartisanship to overcome are more the fault of Democrats in Congress if anything, since all Obama did in the process of passing Obamacare was keep the feet of legislators to the fire. This is hardly worth the years of acrimony we’ve seen. But till this point we’ve been taking Republican objections to Obama at good faith, which we should always be obligated to do if for no other reason than to note absurdity when it arises. When you rule out good faith and start pondering over political strategy, as if this wasn’t governmental processes that afflict the citizenry of the entire nation but more of a game for the people playing, you can more easily see why such problems might be imagined by the Republican coalition.

    I don’t know why I bother spelling out this entire train of thought though. No one has any memory beyond two years ago in politics.

  63. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Hoot Gibson was still my favorite. I think that one last half a day.

  64. Tillman says:

    @Will: Shouldn’t you be off mentoring veterans? Do you really have time to waste with partisans on a domestic politics blog? I took you as more righteous than that. 🙂

  65. Tillman says:

    @wr: The interview where the “one-term president” note came from, which is paywalled but helpfully excerpted here by Glenn Kessler, notes McConnell as saying, “If President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he’s willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.” Which, in the light of history, is really the most polite way I’ve ever heard someone suggest that compromise means accepting all of someone else’s demands and getting nothing in return.

  66. al-Ameda says:

    @Will:

    Your messiah has failed.

    Conservatives seem to have a Messiah Complex.

  67. Jeremy R says:

    @Tillman:

    “When did he start doing that?” I ask.

    It actually must have been before he was even inaugurated as that’s when the unprecedented obstruction began:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/strict-obstructionist/308344/?single_page=true

    The very first bill to be considered on the Senate floor in the 111th Congress, in early January of 2009, before Obama was even inaugurated, was the Public Land Management Act, a sweeping conservation measure with broad bipartisan support that would protect 2 million acres of parks and wilderness in nine states. The Republicans filibustered, forcing a series of votes and requiring a weekend session to finish. The bill eventually passed, 77–20.

    The same tactics were deployed against most other initiatives, and expanded into new realms. Traditionally, only votes on the most controversial judicial nominees had been delayed or filibustered, although the number crept upward during Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s presidencies. Under McConnell, Republicans have also filibustered noncontroversial nominees, many later confirmed unanimously. They have filibustered even nominees put forward by Republican senators, and required separate votes for district-court judges, who used to be confirmed in groups as a matter of routine. The resulting increase in vacancies has exacerbated a shortage of judges across the country, leading many districts to declare “judicial emergencies”—vacancy levels so high that they threaten the courts’ ability to function. McConnell bet (correctly) that he would pay no political price for this type of obstruction, because the White House and the media would be preoccupied with other things—things even harder to accomplish as the Senate calendar filled up.

    “We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” McConnell says. “Because we thought—correctly, I think—that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”

  68. Guarneri says:

    @Will:

    For Reynolds its race 24/7.

  69. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:

    Blah, blah, blah, the inevitable nothing from the man with nothing to say.

  70. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @C. Clavin: Have you missed it? Will is Jenos using yet another sock puppet name. He’s trying to sound more reasonable in this version, but it’s ss/dd otherwise.

  71. anjin-san says:

    Country Joe McDonald weighed in on “Fortunate Son” the other day:

    And now the singing by a civilian of a song written by a veteran causes indignation by gobs of civilians defending veterans. Veterans do not need anyone defending them. They know how to defend themselves.

  72. michael reynolds says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    At least I think so. Both “Jenos” and “Will” admit to being wanna-be writers, they both think diminutives like “Cliffy” are the very soul of wit, they hold the same positions, have very similar writing styles, similar word choices, reveal the same neediness, and who but Jenos is so desperate for attention he uses the “skins logo as his avatar?

    Plus “Will” tried to position himself a s a long-time lurker who only recently decided to comment – an effort to explain using the backstory of this blog and pre-empt any questions as to how he knows so much of what’s gone on. There was a Napoleon Dynamite level of un-coolness in how he announced at one point that hey, he wasn’t even really into this blog or whatever, like, it’s all good, maybe I’ll just comment and yeah, I don’t even like the Redskins but I’m such a bad boy. . . and so on. Like clumsy character-building mixed with dork-at-a-high-school-dance.

    Then there’s the Batman/Bruce Wayne thing. Jenos drifted off as Will was arriving.

  73. anjin-san says:

    Your messiah has failed.

    Nope. My messiah is rockin’

  74. anjin-san says:

    @michael reynolds:

    At least I think so.

    Why settle for just one pathetic online persona when you can have two? Two is better than one.

    It’s sort of like that time I made out with the Palmer sisters. Well, actually that was pretty frickin’ cool, so I guess it’s nothing like it. Sorry Jenos.

  75. Mercer says:

    ” decades-long refusal of Congressional Republicans to allow any legislative action which has made such action necessary. ”

    The GOP has not controlled Congress exclusively for decades. The Dems were in charge for the first two years of Obama’s presidency and could have passed an immigration bill if they wanted to. The Congressional Dems chose to do nothing about immigration when they had the opportunity.

  76. David M says:

    @Mercer:

    Got it, the Democrats are the ones who need to be in charge to get things done.

  77. Grewgills says:

    @Will:

    He is responsible for the revival of our party. We hope he continues to alienate most Americans.

    The turn out was 36.3%, the worst in over 70 years. 52% of them voted for a Republican. So 18.9% of the population sweepingly denounced Obama and 17.4% supported him. The senate races accounted for only 52% of the population, so there we are looking at 9.8% of the population against and 9% for. 63.7% couldn’t bring themselves to vote for either. Claiming a sweeping mandate based on that is absurd. Nearly 2/3s of the populace is disengaged from the process. Neither party is speaking to them strongly enough to bring them to the polls. That is the message.

  78. Grewgills says:

    @Will:

    Our relations with just about every country have also declined under Obama.

    By what metric? It can’t be opinion polls in other countries because that one cuts against you. Unquantifiable generalizations about respect don’t count.

  79. Will says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You really are a shitbag Michael. Your true colors have really come up out. its pathetic how you and your liberal gang try to bully people when they disagree with you. How come you just dont get your own blog? I also wonder why i never see you on Politico or the Hill or any major website? its because you are a Coward who knows your voice is very small on those sites. You come to this site every day for reassurance and to soothe your fragile ego.

    Its such a treat for such a “big time” author to come here and enlighten us with his wisdom. A guy who knows Steven King too, but doesn’t have a 1% of the talent. Yeah, i actually picked up with one of your shitty books last week when you were civil . Do you really write that poorly or is it just geared for a junior high reading level?

    btw, still not Jenos, but it is funny that you think i am him.

  80. Will says:

    @anjin-san:

    Whose the man and whose the woman in your relationship with Michael? You’re up this guys ass 24/7 that its hard to tell.

  81. Will says:

    @Tillman:

    thanks for asking you Lebowski wannabee. Found 4 jobs for vets last week. Fixed 8 resumes.
    What have you have done for anyone this week aside from your annoying snark that is never funny?

  82. Will says:

    @Will:

    If you actually want to do something and help. its called the Veteran Mentor Network on Linkedin

    .http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Veteran-Mentor-Network-4466143/about

  83. Tyrell says:

    What the people saw months ago was tv coverage showing images of busloads of illegal immigrants, many of them children and teens, rolling through this country like it was 3:00 dismissal bell at the middle school. Some of these people who got in here illegally are gang members. Evidently some body cleaned out their jails and sent them in here. Our towns and communities are already in a financial bind with funding cuts. Schools are over crowded. Social and health services are struggling. They can’t take on some other countries’ people. Sorry, but that’s the economic reality of the last several years. Some politicians say “welcome, come on in, but don’t stop in our state”. The results of the failure to act : people swarming through the border like it is Black Friday at the mall !
    The buses should have been stopped, give them a bathroom break, Happy Meal, and a brochure explaining how to become a US citizen – legally. Then turn them back around.
    Our “leaders” were warned about this growing crisis a few years ago.
    “This field trip is over !”

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @Will:

    If you’re going to get this upset every time one of your sock puppets is exposed, maybe you shouldn’t keep doing it. Maybe you should pick a persona and stick with it.

  85. Davebo says:

    So SD has finally gone over the edge? Or did it happen a while back and I missed it?

    I suppose raging against the dying of the white light is all he has left.

  86. Laurence Burton says:

    I think that, like every other Democrat, he wants to keep the immigration issue unresolved so that his party can continue to exploit it to appeal to Latino voters.

    I don’t suppose it is possible that Democrats applaud this move because it makes life better for millions of people (yes, illegal immigrants are people!), and because Democrats know that with today’s Republicans there was absolutely no chance for comprehensive reform anyway?

    I suppose not in Doug’s “both sides do it” world.

    Anyway – here’s my take on this:

    Well done Obama! Do as much as you legally can. It’s good to see you acting like the President I voted for twice.

  87. michael reynolds says:

    @Will:

    Taking a moment here to explain. “Playing the race card” is no different than accusing someone of “Playing the Holocaust card.” Yes, people on occasion are too quick to accuse people of racism or anti-semitism, no question. But the response, “You’re playing the race/holocaust card,” is to deny the essential, underlying reality. It’s a shorthand way of denying history.

    Going that way is a “tell.” See, if you accused me of racism or sexism or whatever, I’d refute you using facts. That’s how normal people, who don’t have racial issues, respond. Then you have people like SD who has never actually denied being a racist when confronted. He’s a proud, out-there, un-reconstructed racist and he knows it.

    You on the other hand are a careless, glib smart-ass who thinks “race card” somehow absolves your party for the race-baiting they clearly engage in. One of two things: either you are astoundingly ignorant of the role race has played in the entire history of the United States, or you’re actually a racist. Now, I and others have taken the time at various points to educate you on the history of race, and to educate you on the on-going racism in the GOP – a racism even many Republicans acknowledge – so if your defense is to claim simple ignorance, well, it’s a strangely persistent ignorance. A deliberate, motivated ignorance. At very best you’re trivializing something rather awful, or at worst you’re a racist yourself.

    So, before you decide to open your mouth on subjects of race, go and learn some history. The best data we have is that in the 86 years between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 African-Americans were lynched. That’s 40 a year, three a month, for almost a century. This does not count the other murders, or the castrations, or the beatings, or the forced sterilizations, or the “medical experiments” or the cross burnings or the endless stream of vitriol from white politicians (Democrats in those days) or Jim Crow laws and their day by day, year after year humiliation of an entire race.

    Now, you and your “race card” brethren want to pretend that this all somehow magically went away in the 60’s. Not a problem anymore. So here’s a site, right now today, just one of thousands. Go take a look, then come back and toss off another smart-ass “race card” remark.

  88. anjin-san says:

    @ Will

    If you are having a meltdown, you should probably go talk to a therapist. Doing it in public like this is just embarrassing.

  89. John425 says:

    @Grewgills: Well, let’s see: Things are not going well for us in Russia, China is testing us in their “no-fly zone. Ukraine, Israel, The U.K., Poland, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and oh, lest we forget, the war zone that they call the Middle East. Other than that, the last I/8th of the planet thinks things are going great.

  90. anjin-san says:

    @John425:

    How do you define “going well”? Were things going well when Bush had a schoolboy crush on Putin after “looking into his soul”? Were they going well when thousand of our troops were dying in the disastrous Iraq war? Is your definition of things going well with Israel having Tel Aviv draft US policy?

  91. wr says:

    @John425: It’s nice that you know how to spell the names of many countries. Now all you need is some kind of point.

  92. John425 says:

    @wr: You apparently didn’t read the post in it’s entirety. In response to your question of where Obama’s foreign relations are in disrepute, I listed those nations. I believe it is you who fails to get the point. Don’t they let you have sharp objects where you live?

  93. John425 says:

    @anjin-san: Putin was much more docile under Bush’s scrutiny. Under Obama he’s become a tiger. Perhaps because he sees Obama as a pussy.

    I am an unabashed supporter of Israel’s right to exist. Their policies are for their own survival. Obama thinks Israel’s survival is “negotiable”.

  94. David M says:

    @John425:

    A list of nations by itself means nothing.

  95. al-Ameda says:

    @John425:

    Putin was much more docile under Bush’s scrutiny.

    In much the same way that Bin Laden was much more docile under Bush’s scrutiny.

  96. anjin-san says:

    @John425:

    he sees Obama as a pussy.

    Well, let’s get in the wayback machine and review what happened under the manly Republican that preceded Obama in the White House.

    Hainan Island incident: Bush basically apologizes, cap in hand, to the Chinese to get our people back.

    9.11: Terrorists murder thousands of Americans in the heart of New York City and launch a successful attack on the Pentagon.

    Iraq: 4K+ KIA 36K+ wounded. Trillions in national treasure squandered. Net result? Balance of power in the region tipped to Iraq. Table set for the rise of ISIS.

    Georgia: Russia attacks Georgia. Bush imposes sanctions, takes no other action.

    Obama thinks Israel’s survival is “negotiable”

    So you say. I say there are leprechauns living on Pluto. See how easy it is to make things up?

  97. John425 says:

    @anjin-san: Hainan encounter was a vague expression of regret and was purposely ambiguous in our letter of “sorrow”
    9/11 was a miscalculation by al-queda and they paid for it.
    Iraq was in salvageable condition until Obama got hold of it.
    Georgia was a confusing mess and both sides said the other was supporting separatists.

    As to leprechauns living on Pluto, well I’ll take your word for it as you are really far out of touch with this planet. Is Pluto your home planet or is it a waystop?

  98. anjin-san says:

    @John425:

    Hainan encounter

    Clearly, China had no fear of the consequences of holding our people.

    9/11 was a miscalculation by al-queda and they paid for it.

    That’s right. Bin Laden sleeping with the fishes – on Obama’s watch.

    Iraq was in salvageable condition until Obama got hold of it.

    Sorry partner. That pooch was screwed from the first bomb we dropped.

    Georgia was a confusing mess

    So you can’t even come up with a lame excuse for Bush’s inaction? If he was so much tougher than Obama, why did Putin dare invade Georgia?

  99. wr says:

    @John425: Why not list Mars and Jupiter as well, if all you’re doing is listing countries and claiming, with no evidence at all, that they hate the darkie pretender as much as you do?

  100. wr says:

    @John425: “9/11 was a miscalculation by al-queda and they paid for it.”

    Ah. So since it was a poor choice by al Qaeda, the Bush administration was right not to bother to investigate all the screaming intelligence warnings about it. Because ultimately it would backfire, so who cares about 3,000 Americans and billions of dollars in losses to the economy, right?

    I’d say you’ve pretty much put yourself on the permanently ignore list.

  101. John425 says:

    @wr: Be sure to tell Clinton that he missed his chance too.
    I won’t put you on the ignore list. You don’t rate that high.

  102. Tillman says:

    @Will: Good on you. I just wish you didn’t feel the need to deploy your good works as some sort of shield for engaging in dirty mudslinging on a politics blog. 🙂

    And my snark is never funny, this is true. 🙁