Friday, July 02, 2010
Disclaimer: I fully support immigration reform...and have supported it since this latest debate started (under George W. Bush).
However, I have been extremely annoyed recently by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) and his verbal attacks aimed at President Obama. Gutierrez and his supporters have been lobbying the President hard to magically make comprehensive immigration reform a reality. But really....what exactly do they want Obama to do? Am I missing something here?
The President can't create and pass legislation. That's the job of the Congress. Obama can't sign into law what doesn't exist. And even if Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Harry Reid & others were to craft some sort of legislation...it would barely get through the House, and would be dead on arrival in the Senate. The math simply doesn't work and everyone knows it (at least everyone except for Gutierrez). I wrote several months ago that the part of Obama's agenda that dealt with immigration reform was probably unachievable and would likely have to be dropped from his list of goals. It's a lost cause. I never believed it should have been something that President Obama should even try...especially after seeing what happened to George W. Bush (by his own Party). It would be a huge waste of political capital, after he already wasted vast amounts of political capital in his first year, fighting for what ended up being a bad health care reform bill in my view. Obama could waste another year on immigration reform and be left with nothing to show for it in the end. Meanwhile, he would be so weakened by it that he wouldn't be able to get anything else accomplished. If that's not bad enough, his efforts would simply be used as a basis for Republicans to energize their supporters going into the midterm elections... creating even bigger losses for Democrats than would have been the case otherwise.
A Republican President wasn't able to do it with a Republican Congress... Republicans blocked the effort. They are going to be even more aggressive in blocking Obama. Obviously nothing can be done before the mid-terms, and Gutierrez has to know this. Most members of Congress are worried about re-election and aren't going to touch the taboo subject (made taboo by Republicans/Tea Partiers). It's radioactive. There are just certain political and mathematical realities that cannot be ignored.
On the other side of the midterms, Republicans are expected to win back one, if not both Houses of Congress...making the passage of any legislation on comprehensive immigration reform impossible. Even under assessments friendly to the Democrats, Republicans are expected to gain so many seats...that even if they come up short on regaining the majority in the House or Senate, they will still be able to block legislation. So I just don't understand what Gutierrez, and his supporters, are so upset about. Why are they upset with Obama? Do they really believe he is Superman or some sort of political MacGyver? President Obama cannot make a proclamation and declare something to be law. Congressman Gutierrez and his supporters should be lobbying the other members of Congress.... not just the President (and perhaps they shouldn't be focused on the President at all in this case). Gutierrez should target Congressional Republicans in particular. That's where he should focus his anger. Not at the President.