Tuesday, November 18, 2014

President Obama has always favored Congressional action

To the chagrin of many LGBT activists back in 2010, President Obama demonstrated that he preferred Congressional action to Executive Orders on ending DADT. They simply assumed the former would never happen. But President Obama held out - and with majorities in both the House and Senate - he got it done.

That's exactly why he's given Speaker Boehner over a year to act on the bipartisan immigration reform bill passed by the Senate. He prefers Congressional action. But at some point, you simply have to recognize its not going to happen.

In both cases, there is a reason why the President prefers for Congress to act. That's because Executive Actions =/= Congressional Actions. This is a point I expect President Obama to make very clearly when he announces what he's going to do on immigration.

The latest right wing talking point we're hearing about is that - in the past - President Obama said that he could not legally do what he is planning to do now. The assumption behind that one is that Executive Actions = Congressional Actions. They do not!

What the President is likely to propose is significantly short of offering a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in this country. It will offer SOME of them temporary relief.

Its especially important that those of us on the left are clear about that. The whole situation got rather muddied when some Latino activists decided to go after the President for not acting on deportations. They failed to articulate the reason he continued to press for Congressional action. And now that failure is coming back to haunt us in the form of right wing talking points that obscure the difference.

And so, when President Obama announces his plan - which will include the kinds of things both Presidents Bush and Reagan did - an awful lot of undocumented workers will be able to breath a little easier. BUT - that's only temporary. We will need to press on for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.


  1. From the start of his campaign never mind his administration, President Obama has emphasized the crucial role of real democracy in what he was trying to do. Somehow the Left looks on this as something wrong because, yes, they apparently do see legislation as the equivalent of EOs when they are NOT. Legislation makes things vastly more enduring as law. EOs temporarily right wrongs - in some cases permanently - but do not change the landscape of injustice. We are laze, we Americans, wanting a benevolent autocrat rather than doing the work that is needed to first elect then mobilize officials to do what we wish. Every day I think that it was no coincidence that the first thing to go from school curricula in the 70s was Civics. Ignorance knows no party, and ignorance is easily misdirected by the very forces that we purport to despise. Time to understand that we have been in the hands of greatness - our own. We blew it. PBO is doing what he can and doing it brilliantly, but we would have as a society done so much more if we hadn't abdicated democratic process while whining he wasn't 'pounding the bully pulpit' as if that made a lick of sense. It was ours to lose. We lost it.

  2. the behavior of dkos-style gay activists back then, calling Obama a bigot, was a primary reason I left "progressives".

    seeing Hispanic activists treat Obama the same, is good confirmation I was right.

    being on a team with them is something I will never do. best of luck to them.


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