Yesterday, Barack Obama tried to open negotiations with the House of Representatives on comprehensive immigration reform using the tried and true Obama formula for winning friends and influencing people: snide, insulting, and argumentative.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform. Instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix our immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from “Dreamers”.
While there are a lot of very good reason to reform our immigration system, the Senate bill and the timing are horrendously wrong.
First and foremost, we cannot trust Barack Obama to faithfully execute the laws of the land. The man visualizes himself as a philosophical heir to any number of Third World potentates whose word is law. What we can take to the bank is the knowledge that any comprehensive reform will have the parts that Barack Obama likes enforced and the parts he doesn’t like will be ignored.
Any immigration reform must be incremental and the beginning focus must be on enforcing immigration laws.
Immigration is, however, an issue that will create deep rifts in the GOP and ensure we approach the 2014 elections in the throes of a civil war.
Wisely, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to have realized that “doing something” is rarely a good reason for doing anything.
The response Obama got was not what he’d expected.
“Today, President Obama called me to discuss his desire for comprehensive immigration reform. The President called me hours after he issued a partisan statement which attacked me and my fellow House Republicans and which indicated no sincere desire to work together. After five years, President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue. I told the President the same thing I told him the last time we spoke. House Republicans do not support Senate Democrat’s immigration bill and amnesty efforts, and it will not be considered in the House. I also reiterated to the President there are other issues where we can find common ground, build trust and get America working again. Hope the President can stop his partisan messaging, and begin to seriously work with Congress to address the issues facing working middle class Americans that are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.”
The White House claims the call never happened and Obama only called Cantor to wish him a Happy Passover.
But a White House official said the purpose of the call was for Obama to wish Cantor a happy Passover, and the issue of immigration reform just happened to come up.
“It was a pleasant call,” the White House official said. “We are surprised by the staff readout, which didn’t reflect the call.”
Later Wednesday, a Cantor aide disputed the White House’s characterization of the conversation, saying that the topic of the call was “assuredly” immigration.
“At the end of the call, the leader wished the president a happy Easter and the president ‘responded’ by wishing him a happy Passover,” the Cantor aide said.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out who is lying here.
I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Cantor, but kudos to him for refusing to be sucked into a political battle that neither he nor his party nor conservatives can win and for calling out Barack Obama as the disingenuous poseur that he is.