President Barack Obama is self-righteously grumbling that, having been stymied by Republicans in Congress, he’ll enact immigration reform on his own by voice vote in the West Wing. That is, via executive decree — his go-to method of governing given his crushing lack of success on Capitol Hill.
But Obama’s promised executive actions will likely entomb immigration reform, which is already dead for the year, in the great sarcophagus of permanently missed opportunities that houses much of whatever it is Obama wanted to do or should have achieved.
The demise of his immigration agenda was predictable because it was killed by the same incompetence and false assumptions that have characterized his entire presidency. Sure, with an immigration fiat, he’ll achieve some short-term goals. A whole new crop of poor immigrants, also known as larval-stage Democratic voters, will enter the country.
He’ll also have an issue he thinks will energize Democratic voters. Though this is problematic because it threatens to ignite Republicans into an even hotter frenzy.
Once Obama unilaterally dictates the terms of an issue that has so engrossed the conservative base in recent weeks that it jettisoned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the anger will be such that only those seeking a swift and painless political death will touch immigration reform next year. Obama’s typical default to flimsily justified “executive action” will further confirm Republicans’ genuine suspicions that he cannot be trusted to implement an immigration reform law as written.