This week’s Republican address wasn’t about Homeland Security or immigration. It was about a bipartisan college savings plan. I can understand that. It’s better to avoid an issue that brings you shame and could signal the last stand for House and Senate GOP leaders who seem just as broken as the immigration system Obama condemns.
Last stand against amnesty for GOP leaders?
It’s easy to be brave when the time for a decision has not yet arrived. Boehner talked tough about Obama’s lawlessness after the November election. This is an old habit. In the unlikely event no one noticed, Obamacare is still with us.
Big talk in December and the passage of H.R. 5759, the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2014, gave conservatives a glimmer of hope that Republicans had summoned their courage and reinserted their spines, at least in the House of Representatives. Boehner sounded like he would stand firm:
The president thumbed his nose at the American people with his actions on immigration, and the House will make clear today that we are rejecting his unilateral actions.1
Accusing the president of thumbing his nose was being way too polite. Obama abandoned his working class supporters in favor of illegal immigrants because he didn’t need them anymore. It was more important to court the illegals who would threaten their jobs. As an American president he betrayed conservatives as well, but that’s pretty much what we expected. What we didn’t anticipate, but probably should have, was the leader of the Republican House backing down on amnesty after taking a stance from which there was no turning back (see: Ernst Speech, Blackburn Vote: Trouble for Conservatives).
By the end of the week Nancy Pelosi was supporting our speaker on a one-week DHS spending bill that signaled a broken GOP leadership failing on all cylinders. That’s how irresolute Republicans have become over the first big conflict of 2015, a holdover from last year when Obama first announced his plans for amnesty. Even a one week funding bill sounded like a long shot after all the tough talk, but now we have to wonder whether all Boehner bought was another week before capitulation and the accompanying promises to take up the issue at a later time.
McConnell gives up early on executive lawlessness
How do you stop a president who is out of control? If you are the Senate majority leader of a newly empowered Republican Party you talk a lot and do nothing of consequence.
It’s difficult to imagine what led Mitch McConnell to think that Democrats would turn tail and back the GOP against Obama:
We’ll also find out if Democrats agree with a President Obama who ignores the law when it suits him, or if they agree with a President Obama who made this statement just a few years ago in Miami:
‘Democracy is hard,’ he said. ‘But it’s right. [And] changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.’2
The Senate leader shouldn’t have wasted his time wondering what his opponents would do. Most anyone on the street could have given him his answer. We also could have guessed that his words would inevitably lead to compromise if not outright surrender after taking a feeble last stand against amnesty. Nancy Pelosi, still embracing the lie of “protecting the American people,”3 used Mitch McConnell’s Senate sellout to throw Boehner under the bus:
You’ve made your point. Your colleagues, Republican Senators, do not agree to drag this out. They’re giving you a face-saving path.4
Boehner’s Senate counterpart stabbed conservatives in the back and played into Democratic hands. If our GOP leaders think for a moment that Obama won’t find a way around the courts saying no to his immigration order they are worse than naive. Now we are inching closer to the inevitable acceptance of his executive overreach, something Boehner hasn’t publicly accepted yet. Give him time. There is no can so big and heavy that it can’t be kicked down the road until it is forgotten, if only to save face. When the Homeland Security dispute is over, perhaps he can go back to that lawsuit against our president that he used to talk about.
UPDATE March 4, 2015: The House gave up yesterday and voted a DHS funding bill that lets amnesty go forward. With the force of the Federal Government solidly supporting illegals, how many days until the Texas decision is thrown out?
Worst Political News Story This Week published February 28, 2015.