Friday, November 14, 2014

Maybe, On Our Terms, If We Feel Like It

For readers in the greater Philadelphia, Pa. area, the news came with their morning coffee or commute to work. "Obama roars ahead with no compromise," read the Philadelphia Inquirer headline, an analysis by veteran Washington Post reporters Karen Tumulty and Juliet Eilperin.

The problem lies not in the headline- which accurately reflects the tenor of the story- but in the analysis itself, which reflects the prevailing perspective in the Fourth Estate.

One problem, Tumulty and Eilperin indicate, lies in the Executive order the President apparently will be issuing on immigration reform.  You remember the bill establishing comprehensive reform, approved by the U.S. Senate in June, 2013 by a vote of 68 to 32, including the support of 14 Republicans.   On June 30 of this year, announcing he'd prefer "permanent fixes" rather than "administrative action," the President warned he was "beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress."  Time is running out.

There also has been considerable consternation in the conservative media, including the mainstream portion of it, over Obama's public support for net neutrality, spurred by his recognition that internet service providers "have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business."  The 41 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, who recently signed sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission opposing any action to ensure neutrality, evidently believe that ability to pay should determine access to the Internet.

We see a slightly different, somewhat improved Obama from the guy who, following the 2010 off-year elections, assertedhis party had been "shellacked," thereby himself claiming for the GOP a mandate.. By contrast, on November 5 of this year, the President maintained "To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too." Although Obama's declaration was partly motivated by strategic concerns, it was an acknowledgment that government of the people, by the people, and for the people ought to work for all Americans, a novel concept insufficiently elitist to many of the President's critics.

Even if the President's statement were meant to mollify the base of his party, it's a base which accepts compromise, as Obama always has. A post-election Pew Research Center poll revealed more Democrats want Obama to "work with Republicans even if it disappoints some Democratic supporters" than want him to "'stand up' to Republicans even if it gets done even if less gets done in Washington."  Unfortunately, 66% of Republicans and Republican leaners favor a different approach, preferringt the GOP to "stand up' to Obama even if less gets done in Washington."

It's not surprising. Now, not satisfied with 54 votes to weaken and/or destroy the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans (reports The Hill) "are mulling a hearing over ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber’s remark that the 'stupidity of the American voter' contributed to the law’s passage."   And Republicans are aghast at the likelihood of an executive order pertaining to illegal immigration primarily because; in the words of Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, "he was not elected king," notwithstanding Obama's paltry use of executive orders compared to every President going back to Benjamin Harrison and including Saint Reagan.

(The content of the expected Order is not wise policy- more on that at a later date. Suffice it to say, if the Obama government instead embarked on a process of deporting more illegal immigrants than previous Administrations, the Republicans would complain about his immigration policy. Wait- it did, and they did.)

If it's Obama, it's bad, as illustrated by the cartoons below from the Miami Herald's Jim Morin and as described by Steve M..   Like a Robert Frost character, the GOP has two choices in that, as Firedoglake's Jon Walker puts it, "They can try to get a few items approved in a deal with Obama now, or they can bet on trying to create a possible climate for a GOP win in 2016. That would give them full control of the federal government and allow them to advance many of their priorities. At the moment it seems many Republicans would prefer to second option."

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