As far as I know, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) became the first elected official to say what a lot of conservative bloggers and editorial writers have thinking, ever since Barack Obama claimed the new trans-Constitutional power to rewrite legislation on the fly... something our unitary executive ironically chose to do on the very eve of our great national Independence Day holiday.
Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday, Labrador said "immigration reform is necessary," but those already tenuous guarantees of border security just got even more ephemeral:
The legalization happens first, and then the security happens second. And I think the American people are not going to stand for that. In fact, if you look at this Obamacare debacle that they have right now, this administration is actually deciding when and where to-- to actually enforce the law. And that’s what some of us in the House are concerned about.
If you give to this Administration the authority to decide when they’re going to enforce the law, how they’re going to enforce the law, and you-- you tell them that it’s okay if they decide if there’s going to be 20,000 troops or if there’s going to be-- I mean 20,000 border patrol agents or it’s-- or they get to determine when the border is secure, I can tell you that Janet Napolitano has already said that the border is secure. So what’s going to happen is that we’re going to give legalization to 11 million people and Janet Napolitano is going to come to Congress and tell us that the border is already secure and nothing else needs to happen.
The great steaming piles of Administration "discretion" heaped upon every border security clause in the Gang of Eight bill already made its promises absurd, but Obama's new super-powers represent a new stage in the dissolution of the rule of law. Every deadline and trigger date can now be moved by executive fiat, for any reason at all. The ObamaCare employer mandate was moved for one stated reason - complaints from business owners who would be crushed by the burden of the law - and one much more important, unstated reason: the Democrats don't want to run against an ObamaCare-inflicted recession in 2014. Both of those reasons will be readily available when it's time to move the border security triggers.
House Republicans would be foolish to accept the Gang of Eight law under these conditions. They'd have been foolish to accept it before, but Lucy is now openly threatening to kick Charlie Brown in the ribs after he makes his latest ill-fated run at the football... and she's not even holding a football any more.
At the same time he was exercising his new "the law says what I say it says" powers, Obama was very quietly abandoning all efforts to prevent fraud in the new ObamaCare welfare programs. Many wondered how the government would be able to verify eligibility for ObamaCare subsidies if the employer reporting requirements were postponed for a year or more. The answer is, "they can't." The whole thing is going to run on the honor system.
In theory, the IRS - which just became a vital component of the American medical system - will be able to "claw back" undeserved subsidies after the Royal Presence decides his employer reporting requirements can finally go into effect. In practice, that's not going to happen, because (a) it would be an administrative and legal nightmare, which the government does not have the resources to handle, and (b) it would be like getting blood from a stone. A lot of the people who will cheerfully shake undeserved subsidies out of the ObamaCare gumball machine will not be able to afford a "claw back." Democrats will line up to emphasize this point against any heartless Republicans who insist on it.
It was only a month ago, as the NSA surveillance revelations were blowing up in his face, that President Obama stressed the importance of trusting the government. "If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress, and don't trust federal judges, to make sure that we're abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here," declared the master of the mandate.
Well, as Obama's comments implicitly concede, only an utter fool trusts the government without due process and the rule of law. That includes laws the President decides are unwise, inconvenient, or politically disastrous for his Party. Without fidelity to the Constitution, the government is free to abuse us, provided it can convince enough of us that it knows what's best. The ObamaCare precedent leaves the super-State more free than ever before to abandon its promises and discard its restraints. We're all Lando Calrissian now, getting an armored finger in the face from Darth Vader while he instructs us to count our blessings and pray he doesn't alter the terms of the deal any further.
The basic premise of ObamaCare was the government's superior ability to organize the health insurance industry. That postponed employer mandate is the final proof that it can't. All of Obama's projections were wrong, nothing in the ObamaCare system has worked as promised, everything is getting more expensive, and there hasn't even been much of an improvement in coverage for the uninsured. Central planning is once again exposed as an utter failure.
ObamaCare's continued existence now relies entirely on corrupting the basic principles of American government; the rule of law must be deformed beyond recognition to nourish it. The whole deranged idea was never compatible with a Constitutional republic of free citizens. It requires a bigger government, and smaller people, than we should be willing to tolerate. Either ObamaCare ends... or America will have to shrink enough to fit inside it.