The Corner

You Have to Give It to the President

It’s a brilliant, brutally cynical near-term gambit. He delayed action until after the election, he even told everybody he was doing it! And then he completely screwed over the incoming Republican majority, making their lame-duck and first 100 days a complete pain-in-the-ass, while shoring up support among his progressive doubters who, if you watched MSNBC tonight, are back to 2008 levels of adoration.

Still, what are the Republicans going to do? Impeach him? There’s a smart-ish strategy that involves funding the rest of the government while denying DHS the funds to enforce His Majesty’s edict. But when POTUS vetoes it, what will they do then? Most likely John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will seek some face-saving move that has the effect of letting “prosecutorial discretion” proceed apace. It might be an enforcement-first measure that doesn’t require the president to actually reverse course on amnesty. Or, hey, maybe somebody will sue him, but the chief political virtue of that move is that it stretches out the proceedings along a long enough timeline that they can move on to other things, pick their next battle.

And then what is president Scotto Christpence going to do, pray tell? Inform the 5 million illegals POTUS just encouraged to look for retirement properties that there is a target on their backs, again? The politics of telling people who have been pardoned, en masse, that they are criminals once more is not the same as the politics of opposing their pardon in the first place. Maybe I’m being pessimistic, but this doesn’t strike me as a bell that can be unrung.

If there is a way out for the Republicans, it will have to be on the back of widespread public disapproval of this move, and the resultant flight of moderate Democrats (how many are left?) from it. We’ll see if that materializes. If it does, it will mean remobilizing the constituencies who just came out to vote GOP two weeks ago. No easy lift. And based on the instant reaction of the mainstream media, they sure as hell aren’t going to help.

What am I missing?

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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