When a politician acts in such a manner as to garner support from his
constituents, whoever they might be, he's behaving in a fashion we call
rational, albeit not necessarily ethical or Constitutional. But when a
politician acts in such a manner as to anger or alienate his
constituents, we find ourselves wondering what the BLEEP! is going on in
Today's conundrum centers on the head of Barack Hussein Obama.
The president of the United States would logically view the entire
country as his constituency. When facing re-election, he'd have obvious
incentives not to piss off anyone he could avoid pissing off. So the
Obama Administrations announcement, in the lee of yesterday's Supreme
Court decision on Arizona's immigration-enforcement bill (SB 1070, for
those keeping score at home), that it will suspend
immigration-enforcement cooperation with state law enforcement agencies
seems counter-intuitive. Quite a lot of Americans are unhappy with our
lax border control and even laxer attempts to find and illegal aliens.
For the administration to make it plain that it wants no one to improve
on that laxity is a remarkably anti-political move.
Indeed, the Obama Administration has handed the Romney for President
campaign a huge weapon. Romney can now say, with perfect justice, that
not only is Obama uninterested in enforcing the law; he refuses to
permit anyone else to do so. The implications are too obvious to require
further explication. Anyone who regards America's illegal-immigration
problem as a serious one that requires redress would react with anger.
How, after all, could Obama possibly refute the charge?
This isn't rocket science, Gentle Reader. Obama has just willfully
undermined his own re-election campaign, which was already in serious
trouble owing to the national economic malaise his policies have
broadened and deepened. Why would he do such a thing?
I can think of three possible explanations.
First, it's possible that this is a pandering tactic. Obama's campaign
strategists might have counseled him that a lot more Hispanics will
react positively to his move, and that they will outnumber the
non-Hispanics who'll react negatively. In this connection, it's
necessary to disaggregate:
-- Hispanics who would have voted for Obama anyway from those who will
vote for him because of this move;
-- Non-Hispanics who would have voted against Obama anyway from those
who will vote against him because of this move.
That's not an easy calculation to make. Anyone could get it wrong.
Second, this might simply be an expression of Obama's extreme antipathy
to being thwarted. SCOTUS's decision, which allows the critical part of
SB 1070 to stand, isn't exactly a slap across the face at the
Administration, but it does cross Obama's preferences. Remember that
this is a president who believes that he "owns" federal law. By his
lights, no one else is permitted to enforce it, nor to qualify its
application or effects, nor to place any conditions on it. Obama's
lambasting of the Supreme Court for other decisions he disapproves, and
his use of executive orders to circumvent Congress's legislative
authority, support this possibility. So he might just be reasserting his
view that the interpretation and enforcement of federal law are reserved
to him alone.
Third, this could be an expression of spite. The intensity of Obama's
anger toward anyone who dares to defy him is well established. He might
simply have decided that if he must endure a rebuke on this issue, so
prominent in public attention, then he'll return blow for blow
regardless of the political cost. That would be consistent with his
behavior toward those who've dared to criticize or oppose him, whether
prominent Republicans in Congress or Democrats such as Mayor Cory Booker
of Newark who've dared to "leave the reservation." It would also be
consistent with his narcissism and his contempt for the Constitution of
the United States.
Note that all three of these explanations could be true, with the third
one being dominant and Obama using the first two as rationalizations.
The American political class hasn't been particularly gracious or civil
over the past century. Its members' lust for power has ever more
completely displaced any hint of personal decency, much less any
residual attachment to American norms. In Barack Hussein Obama, that
process appears to have mushroomed so greatly as to eclipse whatever
virtues he might possess. Of course, the possibility that those virtues
are merely wishful thinking, concocted in too many voters' imaginations
as justifications for voting for this extreme leftist, is open to
conjecture, and will remain so after the November elections.