Is Obama’s last two years as president going to be a filled with executive orders? I don’t doubt it.
Reports are rampant that President Obama will sign an executive order as soon as this week that will allow up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation.
Signing such an order would have explosive political consequences — it would not only reshape the near-term fights in Congress but also have a potentially profound effect on the two parties’ national coalitions heading into the 2016 election and beyond.
Republicans have made it clear that if Obama goes forward, it would be the equivalent of giving the middle finger to their incoming majority — and, by extension, the American public, which helped the GOP gain seats in the House and Senate on Nov. 4.
At a news conference held the day after the midterm elections, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the incoming Senate majority leader, compared Obama’s signing of an executive order on immigration to “waving a red flag in front of a bull.” Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama will “burn himself” if he moves forward.
You get the idea. Republicans ain’t happy — and they are likely to get a lot less happy over the next week or so. No matter what congressional response McConnell and Boehner craft — and they are undoubtedly looking at their options — the most obvious and predictable outcome of Obama’s expected move on immigration is that any hope of bipartisanship on much of anything in the 114th Congress, set to convene in January, would probably be out of the question.
Obama knows that. And it would seem he doesn’t care. Or rather, he has made the calculation that the chances of genuine bipartisanship on virtually anything was so low in the first place that it didn’t make sense not to do what he believes is the right thing.
The post-grand-bargain-collapse version of Obama is far less willing to extend his hand to Republicans — having, in his estimation, had it bitten so many times before. He views the “now the well is poisoned” point being made by Republicans as laughable.