No, we’re not talking about Egypt. We’re talking about America – and a duly re-elected president who, unlike his predecessor, has not seized total executive branch powers to himself. Alec MacGillis discovers the truly unhinged Ailes-fed paranoia that’s now common on the right:
[I]t’s taken no time for declamations against the administration’s regulatory freelancing on Obamacare to turn into general paranoia about what the administration might conspire to do with an immigration law. Steve Benen noted that this started with a Washington Examiner column by Conn Carroll. Next thing you knew the paranoia was being voiced on the House floor by Louisiana Rep. John Fleming (whom you may recall as the fellow who complained that high taxes left him with only $600,000 each year to feed his family). “One of the biggest fears we have about the Senate amnesty bill … is we can’t trust the president,” Fleming said.
“We can’t trust him…Whatever we pass into law, we know he’s going to cherry-pick. How do we know that? … ObamaCare; he’s picking and choosing the parts of the law that he wants to implement. This president is doing something I have never seen a president do before: in a tripartite government with its checks and balances, we have lost the balances. We have a president that picks and chooses the laws the he wants to obey and enforce. That makes him a ruler. He’s not a president, he’s a ruler.”
So there you have it: by attempting to sabotage a law of the land they reject, Republicans have made it increasingly easy for their more outspoken members to argue against legislation many of their leaders support.
But Alex Altman and Zeke Miller report that the failure of immigration reform could prompt the type of executive actions Republicans fear:
If reform fails, Administration officials are plotting how to keep Obama on the right side of public opinion. They won’t rule out the possibility of further executive actions to circumvent Congress in the event the House fails to act. Congressional gridlock has driven Obama down this path before. He issued a series of executive orders on gun control, and toughened emissions standards on vehicles and power plants when climate legislation faltered. He also used executive authority to halt deportations of so-called DREAMers at the height of last year’s presidential campaign.
But Representative Albio Sires, a New Jersey Democrat, told reporters after a meeting with Obama that the President was wary of taking executive action to further curb deportations now. “He’s afraid that it’s going to harm the overall process of trying to get immigration done,” Sires said, according to Politico.