Friday, September 22, 2017

a few things on DACA

I hadn't look at the details of DACA much. It's just another jacked-up part of a jacked-up system, where the economic aspects are complex, the social aspects are important, and the political aspects require intellect and especially courage (good luck with that!). 

Obama's executive order was obviously not the ideal way to deal with the problem legally. His recent comments made him even more prone to charges of political cynicism on this issue. Trump's move to open the question and give it back to Congress is brilliant, especially given the hand he was dealt.

I had occasion to go through a pile of WSJ issues from early September when the Trump policy chapter of the DACA story was getting underway. All of them puts Obama in a light somewhere between nasty and cynical: their editorial of Sept 6; Karl Rove's op-ed on Sept 7; and McGurn's op-ed on Sept 11. In particular, the 9/6 editorial and McGurn's op-ed have some key observations on Obama's background here:  

-as senator, Obama "helped sabotage" the bipartisan Bush/Kennedy plan
-as president with a majority in both houses, Obama had the votes if he decided to push the issue, despite claims before interest groups that it would be "a top priority"

McGurn's conclusion: "For all his big talk...whenever he's had the opportunity to back one, he's either declined or actively worked to scuttle it."

-later, in June 2012 (presumably to help with his reelection), Obama used an executive order which he had earlier said (repeatedly) was beyond his constitutional powers: "that's not how democracy works"

The editorialists observe that the June 2012 decision would "galvanize his base" and give the GOP a good op to "harm themselves politically" and "that a GOP successor couldn't roll it back without a public backlash". This was "Obama at his most cynical and it takes gall for him to scold Mr. Trump...for making a 'political decision'...Mr. Obama's 'political decision' to act as his own legislature teed up this moral crisis and created the legal jeopardy."


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