When even Politico calls something Obama does a “flip-flop,” you know something’s up:
President Barack Obama insisted for years that he had absolutely no legal authority — none whatsoever, zero, zilch — to slow deportations on a broad scale.
Forget everything he’s said.
Obama’s pledge to use his executive powers by the end of the summer marked both a dramatic reversal in rhetoric and a major strategic shift on immigration. The president is no longer emphasizing his own powerlessness but rather his determination “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”
The administration is examining how far it can go, legally and politically, to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Despite the flow of young Central American children across the southwestern border, Obama remains committed to taking significant action, according to senior advisers and advocates who have attended recent meetings with White House officials.
In other words, Obama has signaled that he intends to do exactly what he’s long said he’s unable to do.
Now, I’ll admit this puzzled me for a bit. Did Obama really think he had no authority and then someone told him he did? If so, why didn’t this person step forward sooner? If he thought all along he had the power, why did he insist that he didn’t?
Then it all snapped into focus when I remembered “Senator Present.” For those new to politics, Obama racked up over 100 “present” votes (i.e. not voting “aye” or “nay” on a proposal) during his time in the Illinois State Senate. Even HuffPo and DailyKOS (neither of them conservative sites) admit this. Ironically, I think the KOS columnist has it nailed (he was likely a Hillary supporter in 2008):
The vote “present” is more or less taking a pass on the vote and refusing to take a stand. It is a tactic often used by politicians to avoid taking a position on a controversial issue. So, if anything, Obama’s liberal use of the “present” vote exemplifies this man’s lack of strength in standing up to critics and taking, what can be, unpopular, but none the less important, positions.
So, by claiming over and over that he didn’t have the authority he’s now planning on using, he was just “voting present” again. He wants an amnesty passed, but he doesn’t want to be the one to take the heat
if — make that when — it turns out to be a disaster for America.
Obama has sunk even below Jimmy Carter on the Presidential scale. Carter, for all his mistakes, was at least trying to do the actual job of POTUS. Obama, on the other hand, wants to act as a figurehead. He’d rather be King of America than President, because President actually involves making tough decisions and doing real work. It’s clear that Obama would rather be on the golf course than doing anything remotely resembling work. He wants the perks, the cameras on him, the huge motorcades, the Wagyu beef, and so on and so on, but he’s fundamentally incapable of doing the hard work to earn those perks.
That’s why he insisted for so long that he couldn’t do what he’s getting ready to do.