Six Lousy Responses to Obama's Immigration Announcement

The sky's not falling, any more than usual


John McCain

Last night President Obama announced what kind of executive action he would take on immigration policy—so-called "deferred action" for parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents as well as deporting only illegal aliens who present "threats to national security, public safety, or border security." Republicans say the president said he wouldn't act alone before reversing course several months ago and finally announcing he would announce what he intended to do after the elections, which went poorly for his party, and former White House spokesperson Jay Carney admitted the president was doing something he previously said was unconstitutional—some constitutional scholars disagree. Some supporters of immigration reform worry unilateral action now makes a permanent legislative solution less likely, as Republicans took control of the whole Congress in the midterms. Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), a longtime supporter of immigration reform, warned about "young punks" saying stupid things that would be taken to represent Republicans as a whole. These aren't your "angry birds." Here are six responses to Obama's decision that stand out as goofy, at best:

1. John Boehner

Speaker John Boehner, who for a while there said he was trying to get a bipartisan immigration reform bill passed in the House before the whole thing collapsed, says Republicans will "rise to this challenge" presented by Obama's immigration actions. "We will not stand idle as the president undermines the rule of law in our country and places lives at risk," Boehner said, talking about the president's decisions to prioritize deportations and defer action against parents of legally residing children and not the illegal war the president has committed U.S. forces to against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The "people's House," as Boehner calls it, hasn't taken any action on this military overreach or any previous one for President Obama. Instead it stood idly by.

Jeff Sessions

2. Jeff Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), no young  punk, nevertheless mouthed off like the way McCain would imagine one to, calling the president's decision "an imperial order to dissolve America's borders" in a column. But the president's action, which effectively caps deportations at 400,000 a year, a number said to be based on budgetary concerns, focuses deportations on security and border threats. For comparison, in 2008, Sessions acknowledged the bank bailout was an "unprecedented governmental intervention in the economy" and voted against it but nevertheless believed it was "well-intentioned." No such slack given here. Even in 2011, when President Obama committed military forces to Libya without any consultation or authorization from Congress Sessions, who opposed the action on the floor, strayed from calling one man's ability to decide to enter his country into a war on his own "imperial."

Ted Cruz coloring book
Really Big Coloring Book

3. Ted Cruz

At 43 years old, Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born Cuban-American serving as the junior Republican senator for Texas, qualifies as "young" in the U.S. Senate. He didn't wait for specifics about what the Obama administration intended to do before calling it "lawless" and the president a "monarch" who was "defiant and angry at the American people." Politicians of all stripes should mind drawing too much consent out of any particular election result barring the authentic 1984-style landslides. Progressives loved to claim the 2012 election was a "ratification" of Obamacare even though the law was not on the ballot and President Obama had one of the worst showings of any winning incumbent president in history, against a lackluster establishment Republican opponent on whose state healthcare program Obamacare was partially based. Cruz himself led the charge in refusing to authorize spending if it included funding Obamacare, a law. Sounds lawless by Cruz's standards, unless his standards are limited to partisanship sniping.

Michele Bachmann

4. Michele Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who professes to be faithful to the Constitution but voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act, also thought the president's actions, directing deportation toward security threats and allowing parents of children here legally outright exemptions from deportation, were somehow an attack on the American people. "All I heard was contempt for the American people, as though he thought we were so stupid that somehow, he could say that his illegal actions were legal and we would all turn over and roll over and believe it," Bachmann, who did not seek re-election, said. But Bachmann believes in an exemption to the constitution when it comes to the war on terror, saying foreigners who come here to (allegedly) attack U.S. citizens don't deserve constitutional protections, widely seen by Constitutionalists as a dangerous erosion of constitutional rights. Who's stupid?

Pat Buchanan

5. Pat Buchanan

One-time presidential candidate and longtime paleo-conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan writes in his syndicated column that the president's decision on immigration is a "monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism," arguing that an "Obama precedent" was set that would allow a future president to decline to "enforce this or that law, because of a prior commitment to some noisy constituency." President Obama's ability to take action, inasmuch as he ends up taking action—the pro-reform American Immigration Council noted "the full impact of the President's announcement will reveal itself in the months ahead," the "pass it to find out what's in it" precedent—isn't a new precedent but action built on decades, more than a century's worth, of expansion of presidential powers. Although the Obama administration wouldn't argue it because of its implications, the executive action on immigration is merely a more transparent manner to go about deciding which laws to enforce and how that presidents have been doing for a long time. Buchanan says the president's actions on immigration is the kind of thing the American revolution was fought over, although the Alien and Sedition Acts were roundly rejected as unconstitutional when this nation of immigrants was young.

Barack Obama
White House

6. President Obama

While announcing his plans, President Obama rejected the label "amnesty" for his proposal, saying that instead "amnesty is the immigration system we have today," because illegal immigrants don't pay taxes or play by the rules. Oh boy. Illegal immigrants, 8 million of them, already pay taxes, including income, Medicare, and Social Security. The president's actions won't allow any illegal immigrants to access entitlements they paid into. It doesn't provide legal status or a path to legal status, and neither does the current law. Neither is amnesty, but amnesty shouldn't be a dirty word especially for a president who claims to want to bring illegal immigrants "out of the shadows."

NEXT: Anthony Fisher Talks Immigration, Surveillance and Ferguson on HuffPost Live's "Political Junkies" Today at 2p ET

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  1. Buchanan is absolutely right on the precedent aspect. I can imagine a future GOP POTUS declaring all state/local gun control laws, for instance, as unconstitutional and take various steps to "discourage" their enforcement. In addition, Obama's decision to basically say the law does not matter is an open invitation to millions more to come into the country, and on a scale that will make the DREAM Act incident seem like an Easter parade.

    I'm perfectly okay with the notion of Obama seeing these as features rather than bugs, but let's not pretend they are not potentially unpleasant realities to face.

    1. Obama's decision to basically say the law does not matter is an open invitation to millions more to come into the country, and on a scale that will make the DREAM Act incident seem like an Easter parade.

      The pants-shitting brigade is here early.

      1. incentives work. But feel free to pretend otherwise. Open borders and the welfare state cannot coexist, but that's been covered previously. The paper dispenser is to your right.

        1. It's been covered alright. Immigrants are paying into a system that would be doomed even if they weren't. Maybe you should focus on the welfare state! Unless you're just using it as a cover for xenophobia that is.

          1. no xenophobia at all. I've said repeatedly that the welfare state cannot coexist with open borders, and the welfare state is the greater evil. But I don't see it being dialed back, let alone going away, so adding to the demands on it does not make much sense.

            1. But you're just wrong. Immigrants contribute to the welfare state and take out less than citizens. They are a net positive to it. So you're going to have to come up with another excuse.

              1. LOLOLOLOLOLOL! And the moonbat brigade has officially arrived from Huffpoland. Time to start the blue unicorn parade.

                1. that's right, if you don't agree
                  it must be a lie, the rightwing
                  mantra, stupid is simpler

              2. I don't know if you are playing the semantics game, or if you're just purposely being ignorant. The issue at hand is ILLEGAL immigration, not just immigration. To your point, how do ILLEGAL immigrants contribute to our welfare state? I didn't realize sales taxes (about the only thing illegals repeatedly pay for) fund welfare

                1. Maybe you live in a bubble where you are unaware that pretty much all illegal immigrants get a forged social security card as soon as they can. Employers don't have to look very hard at documents, but deduct all the usual payroll taxes, which the illegal workers rarely ever manage to collect on. Unsurprisingly, the government pays less attention to things like social security numbers when they are attached to money coming in, than they do when they money goes out.

                  1. No bubble, thank you. ALL illegal immigrants? Sorry, I'm not sure where you concocted that notion. Stealing/forging SSN numbers does happen, but most illegals (at least in CA) are just paid under the table. Why? You can claim the gov't just looks the other way when a dead 60 year old man is paying taxes on income earned as a laborer, but the illegal knows that opens them up to possibly more scrutiny than just getting cash. Maybe your local Home Depot doesn't have a cadre of laborers on its sidewalk everyday, but if you think they all have fake SSN's, I've got some magic beans to sell you.

                2. sorry, the right has transitioned
                  to the anti-immigrant party
                  lots of luck with that

          2. Since the systems are doomed, most people are paying in less than they will get out. This is especially true for low income workers. So the more people you import into the system, the worse the system gets. If importing people strengthened the system by paying more in, the system wouldn't be doomed in the first place.

            And then of course there is this:

            Cytoxic on the subject of entitlement reform,

            Those fucking lazy, greedy boomers think that they are entitled to these benefits and are willing to bankrupt the country to get them.

            Cytoxic on the subject of immigration,

            Immigrants are paying into the system and therefore shouldn't be denied legal status and access to the benefits.

            Situational logic is situational.

            1. Cytoxic on the subject of immigration,

              Immigrants are paying into the system and therefore shouldn't be denied legal status and access to the benefits.

              I sure would love to know when I said this!

          3. Say something critical of Obama to a progressive and you're a racist; say something critical of open borders to a libertarian and you're a xenophobe.

            1. Notice only one side of this debate resorts to name calling.

                1. But we're right. The borderites always let the mask drop ie comparing Mexican immigrants to invading Visigoths.

                  1. Declare the truth and it is then the truth. Good job.

              1. *Looks down at "With Jews We Loose"'s and Sam Haysom's posts*

       might want to reconsider that.

                1. I didn't really see any name calling in Sam's post, and "with Jews we loose" is obviously a troll, but I'm sure you knew that, you just didn't care.

          4. Well that didn't take long, 4 comments in and we already have a cry of XENOPHOBIA!!!

            You forgot to throw in racist!! and Natavist!!!

            1. Yup, the DNC digital BBS response team is on overtime.

          5. The immigrants "saved" by this executive decision most likely do not pay significantly into any system. They probably don't pay income tax. If they're earning a paycheck (as opposed to making cash under the table), then they contribute to medicare and SS. That's about it.

            The welfare system here is such that you'll take in WAY more than you put it. Reason scoffs at seniors who defend medicare on the basis that they paid taxes for it.

            Why do people play this sort of game? You don't think immigrants take in as much as they pay? Um, in what part of the country? Holy phucking cow, what gated communities do people live in?

            None of my family and friends were citizens when they got their driver's license 10-15 years ago. Some welfare programs count mostly countable income. SURPRISE, we find ways to get resources. Pretending to live in your cousin's house and..... well, I won't spill all our secrets.

            And Obama did NOTHING for the long term. NOTHING. Your typical (law abiding) illegal immigrant do not live in fear of random deportations. Wage theft and domestic violence is an issue.


            1. Please "spill the beans".

              I think it would enlighten many here to hear it.

              When it comes from someone like me they think I'm making it up.

              For instance, many illegals claim not to be married. Wives and children get benefits and husbands work for cash or use stolen SS numbers to work in the petro chem plants if they are lucky and pay their "patron" foreman part of their paycheck for the job. They drive late model pickup trucks with "Gonzales" in Old English decals on the rear windshields and see signs everywhere saying "WIC accepted here" in Spanish

              Please elaborate. Educate people. It's just Reason. Nothing negative will come of it and it will be funny to read some peoples reaction to the truth.

          6. Oh please, how much do you think an unskilled and barely literate farmer from rural Central America pays?

            And stats show their children aren't much better off than they are after years living in the US.

            Now compare to the cost their education, medical treatments and slew of taxpayer funded infrastructure and, yes, welfare.

            Even in Canada, where the immigrant profile skews far more to the skilled, the net cost of immigration is $22 billion a year in a country the size of California.

        2. Serious question here: let's say a person is working as a legal resident alien in the U.S., paying not just income taxes but all the payroll taxes as well. He then becomes a legal U.S. citizen ten years later and becomes eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

          Does his benefits "clock" start on the day that he becomes a citizen, or on the day that he started paying the payroll taxes into the system?

          1. You don't have to be a citizen to collect Social Security. You just have to be a lawful resident paying in to the system for 40 quarters to collect.

            Because the benefit is calculated based on your highest 35 earning years and is skewed towards the lower income people, immigrants who do not work 35 years get a higher payout per dollar paid in than the native born.

      2. I happen to agree. In 1986, we were told that the amnesty would solve the then-existing problem of illegal immigrants being here "in the shadows" and having social ties, etc., while the feds proceeded to start enforcing the immigration laws, preventing further illegal immigration. Except that they never did. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. 10-15 million illegal immigrants later, decades of indifference, then Obama says, well, we'll let the poor children stay, and now, the parents. It's crystal clear that the feds will never enforce the immigration laws. Why would anyone be stupid enough to apply and pay the fees and costs and suffer the delay of legal migration?

  2. Can this be the top-sticky permanent immigration thread? Please?

    1. there is talk of adding gay sex and week to make it the all-encompassing sticky thread. Maybe Reason could do a poll.

      1. and weed....


      2. They could ask those damn kids...what are they called again?

        1. Whacko birds?

            1. Oh, sorry.

              We got 'clustered' at work, so the term resides higher in my memory.

              Jokes regarding the implied euphemism still abound.

      3. Hey, I like talking about weed! And gay sex! And your mom!

        1. gay sex and weed would be one of my kids. Mom, not so much though the thought of her being stoned beats the hell out of the usual Friday Funny.

      4. A poll of millenials would be nice right about now.

  3. "The president's actions won't allow any illegal immigrants to access entitlements they paid into."

    We have obviously reached the ABYSS when Reason editors are advocating for increased government spending/expansion of social programs.

    1. Your reading comprehension could use some work their pal. Buddy. Friendo.

  4. I'm so glad Bachmann is gone and I can't wait for Buchanan to just pass away. The other comments weren't so bad just melodramatic. I am pretty sure this all blows over with not much changed one way or the other. Unless you're one of the unauthorized immigrants whose life is not infinitely improved by removal of the threat of being deported over no actual crime just asinine laws.

    1. But they have calves like cantaloupes from smuggling drugs in!

      1. Why Dumbocrats can't come up with a candidate to beat Steve King is a mystery to me. Many of his antics are kind of comedic but I guess he helps you proggies think all Republicans are that way.

    2. Don't bash Buchanan. He's one of the few sane conservatives when it comes to foreign policy still left.

  5. Enough. Already.

  6. Iron Laws that apply here:

    1. You get more of what you reward and less of what you punish.
    6. Me today, you tomorrow.
    7. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

    1. 1. Good. More immigrants please.

      6 & 7. Apt points for the borderites. Draconian immigration laws = draconian enforcement (100 mile Constitution-free zone).

      1. Of course law breaking is being rewarded here not immigration but you know that. You also know your lust for open borders is shared by a tiny minority of people so lick that tyrants boot. Afterwards if you clean up you can have a few food truck tacos to rinse the taste of leather away.

        1. In which a borderite projects his authoritarianism onto me.

      2. Cyto, this isn't about immigration. This is yet another power grab by Obumbles.

        Benevolent kings are a tiny percentage of the Malevolent ones.

        This is bad.

        1. I am on the fence about this, but so far it appears what he's doing is legal.

          1. Thumbing through existing laws and unilaterally deciding which ones don't count while he's in charge is not faithfully executing the office of the presidency.


        2. I'm kinda shocked by hearing people complaining about quasi-legal government power grabs, the sanctity of national sovereignty, democracy, etc.

          These are the same arguments from the people who say that you need to sit down, shut up, pay your taxes, support the military industrial complex, let us decide whether, when and where you get to use drugs and alcohol, etc. And, if you don't like it, we have rape cages for you.

          The government is a joke. The government is going to do really whatever it thinks it can get away with while making its constituents happy and not resulting in torches and pitchforks headed towards Washington DC. That's it. No one really takes democracy, sovereignty, faithfullness to interpreting and executing law seriously.

          I would think that libertarians would be the first to get the joke, but they frequently talk as if they're the last to get the joke.

          Hell, yesterday I heard someone talk about how we need immigration control in order to take us all back to the 1950's, where people made great living on manufacturing jobs. Sorry, but 60 years have gone by, and it's really weird hearing people who are (apparently) concerned about freedom and liberty start suddenly embrace the idea that we should control where people are allowed to work and live in some sort of attempt at market protectionism for low skilled workers, and to centrally plan ourselves back to 1950.

          1. My fellow libertarians are going to have to admit something. Name an issue you care about. Free speech, gun rights, taxes, welfare issues, public school issues.
            Now pick which of those issues mass third world immigration will help us get closer to politically.

    2. #7 is the administration's hidden bumper sticker slogan. Consider the multitude of lies and misrepresentations along with the malicious truths from the likes of Gruber - bad shit = features to these folks, not bugs. Fucking up the system virtually ensures expansion of govt power.

  7. Since threats to border security is one category upon which the executive will focus deportation efforts, what constitutes a threat to border security? Is that code for new illegal arrivals, or is it something more specific than that?

    1. The threat is that the border might become secure. Then Democrats will be a permanent minority and aspie libertarian programmers won't be able to stretch their 65000 salaries as far.


        1. I was being nice 50000.

          1. Wrong direction, poor man. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            1. Right my mistake you get paid in pesos 100000 pesos.

      2. Software Developer, Las Vegas, NV
        Salary Range: $74,690 - $119,023

        Software Developer, Charlotte, NC
        Salary Range: $86,782 - $138,294

        Software Developer, Palo Alto, CA
        Salary Range: $115,425 - $183,938

        1. Then I guess the libertarian crowd sucks at programming.

          1. The gulf between how clever you think you're being and how clever you actually are is incomprehensibly large.

          2. Wow, you're dull.

        2. Software developer?

          Like condoms?

          1. Would that not be "hardwear"?

            *runs away cackling*

            1. Not unless they program or build penises.

            2. *narrows gaze*

        3. Dayum, my company gets me for cheep.

  8. Pat Buchanan writes in his syndicated column that the president's decision on immigration is a "monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism," arguing that an "Obama precedent" was set that would allow a future president to decline to "enforce this or that law, because of a prior commitment to some noisy constituency."

    I really wish this were so, but this argument went the way of the dodo 150 years ago. The idea that the executive hasn't overstepped its power with extraordinary regulatory since Lincoln (and before, though to a lesser extent) is plainly wrong.

    Lincoln and Wilson jailed political dissidents, and FDR sent tens of thousands of untried Americans to concentration camps via executive order. God only knows what assholes like LBJ and Nixon were up to beyond the abuses history records.

    We like to portray Bushbama's abuses as unprecedented, but this stuff is old, old, old. To Buchanan's credit, at least critics can still marshal sufficient outrage to object to the perpetual abuses of the executive. To Buchanan's discredit, his relationship with Nixon makes him pretty much the worst candidate to do so, not that anyone much cares about stuff like that in an era when Al Sharpton roams cable television unmolested.

    1. Never forget. Buchanan once advocated for putting homeless people into work camps.

      Yeah, that motherfucker has room to talk.

      1. If someone refuses to get a job and work and won't take help offered them to do as much and thinks begging and living on the street is a lifestyle choice, fuck them, send them to work camps. I don't care what you do, as long as you support yourself and don't spend your life squatting on other people's property. If your ideal life is living in a rented room in a flop house while using your income to smoke crack, good luck. You won't hear any complaints from me. But if your idea is to lay around the street bothering people and begging so you can smoke crack, fuck you go dig ditches for the state.

        1. If someone refuses to get a job and work and won't take help offered them to do as much and thinks begging and living on the street is a lifestyle choice, fuck them, send them to work camps.

          So long as the streets are public property rather than state property, the homeless can do what they like in parks and sidewalks. Reality being that actual public property is an absurdity in practice, as anyone who's had to put up with marathon barricades or dementia sufferers roaming the middle of the highway can attest. Property can't be used by everyone, else you have the tragedy of the common. Therefore the state must administer it, at which point you get the tug of war that defines Progressive-era politics.

          More to the libertarian point, begging on a sidewalk isn't a moral crime, and no one has cause to harm or relocate homeless people on "public" property just because they're annoying. Outside of privatizing the sidewalks, we're left with two options, namely putting up with the nuisance or using force against them because they offend us. Libertarians would opt for the first, Giuliani the second.

          1. It is not a moral crime. It is a quality of life crime. People have a right to be left alone even in public spaces. If someone makes their living by confronting people and begging them, they are violating those people's right to be left alone. Further, when someone moves into a public space and sleeps and lives there, they are lowering the quality of life for everyone using the public space. It is no different than showing up with an 8,000 watt stereo.

            I would be okay with people who want to put their cup out and let anyone who comes by give them whatever. There they are not confronting anyone. But no living on the street and no confronting someone unsolicited. But I would ban unsolicited door to door sales as well.

            1. It is a quality of life crime. People have a right to be left alone even in public spaces.

              No one has a right to not be offended. Approaching passersby with flyers or political material or begging them can't be viewed as aggression. If that were the case, then the annoying guy at the bar who hits on every woman would be a moral criminal rather than a nuisance.

              The door-to-door thing can be easily solved with a visible no trespassing notice and enforcement of property rights. My problem with public property is that there is no solution that doesn't entail harming someone who has a nominative ownership right to the property she's occupying, as different people have different views on how that property should be used. In that case, it's left to the wisdom of the state to determine who really owns the property, and we know how that goes.

              1. It is not the right to be not offended. It is the right to be left alone. And you have no right to act in a way that reduces other people's quality of life.

                It is just societal comity. I don't screw with you and give you your quiet and enjoyment of public space and you do the same for me.

                1. I don't think that would qualify as a reasonable standard of being left alone for most people. Maybe if the homeless guy was being particularly aggressive/threatening you'd have a case for removing them from "public" property, but it's my experience that someone who just asks everyone for money becomes part of the scenery after a while.

            2. Red Tony's ban-boner goes crazy.

        2. Leave us out of your authoritarian fantasies John.

        3. It would be pretty awesome to establish Homeless National Park. It would be open to everyone, not just the homeless, but I trust that very few non-homeless people would be interested. No admission fee, no amenities, just a whole lotta raw land. No forcing homeless people to go there, either, just an open invitation.

          At that point, we could stop all govt funding of homeless services. Let private charities and individuals provide all they want, and if anyone complains that private charity is insufficient, just say: "fuck it, let 'em go to Homeless National Park."

        4. Uh...once the camps are set up do you think only homeless people will be sent to them?

          Most homeless are mentally ill and unable to function. I don't think work camps will help that much.

      2. Buchanan once advocated for putting homeless people into work camps.

        I've not read that, but I take you as a credible source. That and I'm inclined to believe all kinds of shit when it comes to Buchanan, who I agree with about 80% of the time but creeps me out the rest of the time. Defending Nixon's legacy in the 21st century is beyond the pale for anyone who identifies himself as something other than a Keynesian neocon.

        Every time a conservative or paleocon seems vaguely reasonable, they have to say something insane--ref. WFB quipping that gay men should be forced to have their asses tattooed--to remind us why libertarians are homeless in the American political system.

        1. Nixon was a Keynsian but he was not a Neocon. I don't see how you can call the guy who ended the Vietnam war and ended the draft and made peace with China a "neocon".

          Nixons sins were that he thought he could abuse the powers of government and get away with it the way Johnson and Kennedy had and he believed the pervailing economic thinking of the day that said wage and price controls were a good idea.

          I am not going to defend the merits of Nixon's economic policies. There is no point in denfending the indefensible. Nixon's legacy should however be qualified with the statement that those policies were absolutely conventional wisdom and embraced by the top men of all political persuasions as self evident. It is easy to forget just what a real radical someone like Goldwater or Reagan actually was in the late 60s and early 1970s.

          1. Yeah, you're technically right (my favorite kind of right) about the neoconservative bit, as Podhoretz and Kristol were well to the right (left? whatever) of Nixon on Vietnam. I'll go with "strong interventionist" for Nixon instead for his escalation in Cambodia.

            It is easy to forget just what a real radical someone like Goldwater or Reagan actually was in the late 60s and early 1970s.

            I tend to think that the first 60 years of the 20th century were a particularly shitty period in federal government, with Vietnam and the revelations about Nixon finally creating enough popular suspicion of the federal government to dial things back temporarily and pave the way for the Reagan/Clinton era of Modestly Decent Feelings.

            1. I never understood why people got all hot and bothered over the "escalation" in Cambodia. The NVA was there against the wishes of the Cambodians - like a dagger aimed at Saigon.

              No way Nixon could even pretend to leave South Vietnam stable without clearing it out. It's like bitching about the American escalation in the Netherlands in 1944.

              1. I mean what ushered in Reagan.

            2. A lot of people supported Nixon and thought Watergate was just bullshit revenge for him winning the Vietnam war, which it really was.

              What ushered in Nixon was the economy and inflation and Carter's response to it. Carter told the country that the problem wasn't the government but them. They just expected too much and needed to stop feeling sorry for themselves and adjust to this new reality. It was as Heinlein said "bad luck" and there was nothing to be done about it. It was called the malaise speech and it more than anything did Carter in.

              Reagan won because he was optimistic and patriotic. He told the voters that Carter and his ilk could metaphorically go fuck themselves. America was a great country and the economy could be good again if those assholes would just get out of the way and let Americans do what they do.

              I wish people would remember the positive nature of Reagan's message more than they do. Too many times both conservatives and libertarians sound like liberals. Instead of talking about how horribly racist the country is, the right talks about how they are all just stupid, lazy welfare queens who will forever vote for more free shit.

              First that isn't true and shame on people who think it. Second, even if it were true "hey you lazy fuckers get off the welfare tit and vote for me" isn't going to get anyone elected.

              1. Reagan was the tallest dwarf among 20th century presidents with the possible exception of Coolidge, differences in era taken into consideration. Hardcore libertarians tend to single RR out on occasion to signal to one another their hardcore-edness, though Friedman, Sowell, and the Chicago crew have always been strong defenders of his legacy.

                To borrow from Postrel, Reagan was elected because he was glamorous and charismatic and one of if not the best political candidates of the entire 20th century. Voters don't follow issues nearly as much as they do perceived personality, and Reagan was one of the smoothest operators you will ever find. For all his skill as a poseur and purposive blank slate, Obama is a dogcatcher by comparison.

                *When I'm looking for material for my socon family, I will occasionally steal liberally from youtube videos of Reagan telling Soviet jokes. The one about the proletariat who wants to buy a car is a personal favorite.

                1. Reagan in his prime would have crushed Obama into a pulp in a debate, and destroyed Candy Crowley as an afterthought.

                  And he would have walked away smiling like it was nothing.

                2. To borrow from Postrel, Reagan was elected because he was glamorous and charismatic and one of if not the best political candidates of the entire 20th century.

                  That is true. And he would have been none of that had he not been optimisic and carried an optimistic message. Too many people on the right forget that and think politics is about settling scores and showing how smart and right they are. That is what debate is about. Politics is about convincing people to vote for you and winning. And that is not the same thing as debate.

                3. As far as 20th Century Presidents, Coolidge undid Wilson and ushered in a great time for the country. He is at or near the top of any list.

                  Don't under sell Eisenhower. You have to judge people by what they did in the circumstances they were in. The political climate would have never let Eisenhower be Coolidge. People just wanted more government and the best Eisenhower could do was work with the Congress to channel that urge. And he did that rather well. Say what you want about the interstate highway system, at least its useful and won't bankrupt us.

                  More importantly, Eisenhower ended the Korean war, cut the size of the military, and kept the world from destroying itself with nuclear war at a time when that was a real possibility. For that alone, he deserves praise and admiration. And he did so without getting into another big war. (And don't tell Vietnam. You can't blame Eisenhower for what Johnson and Kennedy did).

        2. Holy crap. It is nowhere to be found. He said it on national television during an interview when he was seeking the republican nomination back in the early nineties. It sunk his campaign.

          1. Oh, and political cartoons popped up everywhere with him wearing a Hitler mustache.

    2. The thing is that those former abuses, while bad, were seen as such and ended. We don't still jail dissidents and we don't send people off to concentration camps for being potential enemy agents. The reason for that is people stood up and made sure the country stepped back and not forward toward dictatorship.

      You are right, this is not the first or the worst abuse of exectutive power and does not necessarily signal the end of the Republic. That fact, however, does not excuse people from standing up and saying it is wrong and taking steps to undo it and even welcoming the help of those like Buchanon who have in the past supported steps in the same direction. The point is to step back and undo it not to settle old scores and play no true Scottsman. If you do that, you eventually lose the ability to step back and over the years more and more people are unable to assist you because of their previous sins.

      1. The reason for that is people stood up and made sure the country stepped back and not forward toward dictatorship.

        My list of the three most dictatorial American presidents--Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR--all died in office. Nixon is probably no. 4, and he suffered from being immensely unpopular with the progressive press for obvious reasons. As bad as these characters were, things could have been much worse had any one of them enjoyed two or three more terms before the passage of the 22nd Amendment, which is one of the best amendments to the federal constitution since the BoR. On the presidential dictator front, we've been lucky in a perverse sense.

        Agree with the rest of your sentiments, though. As much as I enjoy picking apart talking heads for their past sins, we can't digress too much from the topic at hand. There Buchanan is in the right ethically, no matter the 19th-century precedent for Obama's actions.

        1. The measures taken by Lincoln ended. And in fact Lincoln would have been more respectful of people's rights than the radical Republican Congress was after his death.

          And Wilson did not die in office. He finished his term an invalid and saw his party suffer the worst electoral defeat in US history. Wilson and his policies were so loathed that Progressives had to start calling themselves liberals because Wilson discredited the term so much with the public.

          And the public revolted against FDR's war socialism and gave the Congress to the Republicans in 1946 who promptly forced Truman to end it.

          So yean, people did stand up and we did take a step back.

          1. And in fact Lincoln would have been more respectful of people's rights than the radical Republican Congress was after his death.

            I don't truck with historical hypotheticals, but I doubt this. Lincoln's depression made him a nothing-left-to-lose tyrant in practice, and he was notorious for his micromanagement and willingness to sidestep Congress in every matter imaginable.

            Wilson didn't wreck progressivism or technocracy in the least, which is why the philosophy has thrived for four generations since him. FDR's appropriation the "liberal" identifier is the prototype of the Randian anti-concept and was intended to squeeze classical liberals out of the debate entirely.

            And re: WW2, yes, when war finally concludes, people tend to shift toward resenting government expansion, as per Obama's election and the small-government Tea Party revolution. But where in the world do you see a repudiation of FDR or his four freedoms speech in modern American life? Do you really think that Truman had the same charismatic power over the people as FDR did? Roosevelt had been repudiated by midterms before, and it barely slowed him down.

            You're underestimating how skillful and dangerous these people were.

    3. Lincoln? Didn't the idea of 'limited government' get challenged when Jefferson bought Louisiana - so cheap it was the equivalent of buying it on Amazon!

      1. And the reason that Louisiana was so cheap? France was financially overextended by unlimited government and had to sell their new world investment.

        Say what you will against limited government but it puts a state in the position of exploiting the overreach of others. How about Alaska, or the Mexican-American war?

  9. Most of the arguments here are pretty frivolous and basically irrelevant. The claim that Boehner "stood idly by" while Obama "overreached" on a military decision makes zero sense - what in the world does Boehner's action there have to do with his action here?
    Apparently the writer is trying to equate the two situations.
    He and the House obviously approved of Obama's military action - they were not "standing idly by" which is a totally fraudulent characterization. The other GOP responses can be similarly defended -
    this is grade school logic being employed here. Let me know when you
    come up with something plausible or convincing.

    1. Even if they had objected, what were they going to do about it? They can't impeach him without support from the Democrats. And when they tried to shut down the govenrment to stop Obamacare, Reason had kittens about it. And it is hard to see how shutting down the government and leaving American service members unfunded in the field would have been anything but a political disaster for the Republicans.

      You are right, this is Huffpo level thinking. If the Republicans had no viable options available to stop him, how can't be accused of standing idlely by and doing nothing since there was nothing to be done.

      This is one of those examples of Reason acting as a controlled opposition to the Progs. Go after the Republicans at every opportunity using whatever cockeyed logic is available while occasionally barking a few times at Democrats to look even handed and rolling over for a belly rub from the other beltway media.

      They don't always live up to that slander. But sometimes they really try to.

  10. The awesome picture of monocled fat cats goes away when I open the article. That's how I picture everyone commenting here.

  11. Good news!

    Collect more than $7,000 per month for 'fostering' adult illegal aliens

    The federal government is in dire need of U.S. citizens willing to house the thousands of illegal immigrants who enter the country each week, and they are willing to pay them to do so.
    Braiser mentioned that foster families will be paid $40 per day for each migrant they take in from Catholic Charities? Foster parents have the ability to collect more than $7,400 per month, considering that they can house six immigrants at any given time.

    1. *runs to hardware store and lumberyard for bunk-bed materials*

    2. Alien farming! I might buy a ranch out near Carson City for this purpose.

      1. When I hear the phrase "alien farming" I picture something much cooler then this.

    3. I'm willing to foster illegal young ladies in the 18 to 22 age bracket...

        1. Let's not get judgmental with my charitable offer.

  12. So Republicans are hypocrites, I get that. That doesn't make what Obama is doing okay.

    1. Yes it does!


  13. Looks like Mary went down the memory hole.

    1. I find it a bit disconcerting that there isn't some sort of "Comment deleted" notice.

      And, of course, I wish they did that to the spammers.

      1. Rishmojosgottago

      2. Reason is too incompetent to implement it. They barely got this website working and can't get the mobile site to be worth visiting.

      3. Since - sigh - we're piling on, I want the reply system to be more coherent. I can't follow who is replying to which comment.

        1. A little visual indication of the degree of indent of each comment would help. Slashdot also has a handy "Parent" button to take you to the parent comment.

          Personally, what annoys me are two different sets of Submit/Preview buttons, depending on whether you are replying to a post or making a new comment. There is little differentiation between each of the pairs in each set, and they're in different orders. Argh.

          I'd also like a way to upvote or downvote posts without commenting, and to view posts in order of votes.

    2. That might be record time for her. And on a Friday no less.

  14. Love how the gist of this article is: "since these people didn't say something about something else in the past, they can't say something about this".

    How childish and idiotic--and this is REASON?

    1. "...and this is REASON?"

      It's Reason on the subject of an open Mexican border; the writers get on the subject like Foot Washing Baptists on the literal interpretation of the Bible. I sometimes wonder if they speak in tongues when the topic comes up in staff meetings.

      1. They speak in freedom. You wouldn't understand.

        1. Its the language of faith and unchallanged assumption. And you are right. The unclean will never understand it.

        2. Yes, disagree with Cytotoxic and you are anti freedom.

          1. He has no other methods than assertion and insult.

            I am going to start scrolling by, like I do with Bo and Tony.

    2. It's tremendously disappointing to see Ed K descending to the level of "tu quoque". I'd expect that on Salon, but not here.

    3. It feels like the grownups have all left the building and the eager but hapless new kids have taken over with the goal of maximizing clicks rather than discussing principle. To me, anyway.

  15. "supporters of immigration reform worry unilateral action now makes a permanent legislative solution less likely"

    I maintain that this was in fact the entire point of his unilateral move =

    to turn immigration into a national 'polarizing' issue, which forces a retrenchment of the democratic base that failed to stand behind obama in the mid-terms, and puts republicans in a position to "do something" which will both take the focus off of Obama's failed legislative program (and the ACA) and turn media attention back on Republican xenophobia and their own lack of policy clarity.

    Most TV networks reviewed the announcement, and decided it was "more politics than policy"; and that's how i see it.

    1. I think so too. And that is why the Republicans need to not take the bait. Let Obama and the Democrats live with the backlash. There is no point in throwing a temper fit and fighting letting the subject turn to how mean everyone is in Washington. Just make it clear that nothing can be done thanks to the Democrats' unwillingness to help and drop the subject.

      1. Republicans really need to figure out how to get to yes on immigration reform. No no, not because it's necessary and a good thing for the country and its human inhabitants (let's not go crazy with expectations), but because they just might be able to take some credit and allow Latino people you are certain really want to vote for Republicans to do so.

        1. No they really don't. It is not their problem. Immigration reform is unpopular with the country and very unpopular with their supporters. Immigration reform is entirely a civil war within the Democratic Party. It is the Democrats who are stuck with meeting the ever rising expectations of Latino activists while somehow convincing unions and blacks that their abadoning them on the issue is okay.

          Immigration is an enormous problem for Democrats. That is why they didn't pass reform when they could have in 09. The Republicans don't have to anything but stay out of the way.

        2. "Tony|11.21.14 @ 4:07PM|#

          Republicans really need to figure out how to get to yes on immigration reform."

          Oh, because the GOP is *so* the source of the problem...

          Someone pointed out in earlier thread that the GOP has repeatedly tried to get agreement on a sequence of smaller bills to enact reform, but the Dems only want ONE SIZE FITS ALL

          "It could pass if we break it down into smaller pieces," said Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas). "[The House] has always been amenable to passing smaller bills on a step-by-step basis."

          Once Congress passes legislation to tighten border security and interior enforcement, it could pave the way for a deal legalizing an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, expanding work visas and enlarging the flow of legal immigration, Senate Republicans argue.

          Democrats, however, would balk at reforming the nation's immigration laws through a variety of separate bills.

          Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the lead author of the comprehensive Senate immigration bill, signaled Wednesday that Democrats would not be willing to join in such an effort"

          Pretending that the other guy just won't go along with your huge, bloated pork-laden and politically polarizing bill is a convenient way to claim 'obstructionism!!'

        3. Maybe but a better thing would be to ask how amnesty for illegals isn't a slap in the face to legal immigrants. The message of amnesty seems to be "if you went through legal channels rather than sneaking in or overstaying your visa you're a fool."

    2. That and testing the boundaries of just how far he can get in ignoring Congress.

  16. "But the president's action, which effectively caps deportations at 400,000 a year, a number said to be based on budgetary concerns, focuses deportations on security and border threats. "

    I'm reminded of

  17. I'm in favor of immigration reform--although I no longer favor open borders, not while we have our existing, generous welfare state. This isn't reform, this is just rule by fiat. Legal or not, this fails to fix the current policy and introduces two new flaws.

    It disguises the problems with the current policy from the public, for one. Think about sodomy laws. There are laws on the books in many parts of this country that dictate the kind of sex you can have with your wife or husband, but they stay on the books because they're never enforced. But, they're still law, which brings us to the second, bigger problem...

    It creates an avenue for graft and corruption. Rather than enjoying the protection of the law, if you're an illegal you're now here exactly as long as the INS and the DOJ decide to leave you alone. There's no protection against any kind of quid pro quo, or shakedown, or anything else. Think about marijuana dispensaries in CA as an example of what relying on the mercy of the federal government gets you.

    1. This all happened in 1986. We are apparently doomed to repeat history.

  18. Wait, how do you even KNOW what Bachmann said? Does ANYONE listen to her any more??

  19. Anyone have a cite for the assertion that follows: "A stunning two-thirds of illegal immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes." the link above points to an 8 year old Reason piece that points to nothing. I'm curious because this is not my experience in Southern California.

    1. And it's higher than any study I've seen on the subject (usually suggesting 40-50% using stolen SSNs)

  20. FYI - the reaction from the immigrant community (not the activist types who lives and dies by immigration) seems to be mixed at best. Most of them recognize this as a (1) ploy (2) way to demonize the GOP and placate DEM base (3) short term solution. And we all know why he delayed this decision until after the election.

    It's a mockery, and insulting the intelligence of the immigrants. I honestly want to pulverize the balls of some white kid who thinks immigrants are "fruit pickers". You probably have to go through 20 facebook friends to find a 25 year Latino guy who ever worked at a farm.

    I would say 80% of all immigrants work in places that the lower middle class "natives" (another stupid term) also work in. Retail, restaurant chains, some office, etc.

    A good guest worker program means America's farms may need illegals less and less, especially if they start unionizing.

    1. Without the pressure of paying people well for field work there will not be enough incentive to automate these jobs.

      If robots can weld car bodies and pack printed circuit boards, they can pick fruit. In addition there are all sorts of labor saving practices than can be employed.

      In Spain the people picking fruit sit in cherry pickers instead of climb up and down ladders with a sack around their shoulders. It is safer and faster.

      UC Davis in the 80s had a program to automate farm work that was halted because it wasn't economical.

      No more guest workers, make the farmer and the people who eat his produce pay the full freight of the cost of it's production. When the wages get high enough a burger flipper will decide to pick crops.

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, Americans are too lazy, blah, blah, blah. They do all kinds of shitty jobs when the pay is high enough. What makes a farmer so special?

  21. And here's a good one. blog/obama-speech-never-mentioned- his-action-gives-work-permits-millions- more-compete-directly

  22. Yup, The President punked the Congress. He really isn't doing anything that is not already being done. Little to no enforcement inside the country and on business. Check. The vast majority never show up for the court date after being caught breaking the law. Check. Massive amounts of hot air about the fall of the Republic. Check. Ignore the President and pass a border security bill then let him veto it. Don't rise to the bait.

  23. There is basis in law for everything he says: action legal points.pdf

  24. I love Reason. I am a regular donor to Reason and I will continue to be but I think Reason is wrong about this immigration issue. This country stands out for the principles that Reason espouses and everyone wants to come here. There are many lousy countries in the world where no one has read Hayek and you can't blame the people for wanting to go to a better place. If you let everyone who wants to come here do so, we will be flooded with people and if they don't understand certain things they may change the nature of this country going forward (I consider Mexico a quasi socialist state and if a lot of Mexicans come here, our country would be more like theres. I love Mexico, I speak Spanish, and I love the Mexican people.) In allowing immigration you also deplete the sending countries of the people who could work to improve their countries. Cuba regularly allowed emigration to get rid of dissidents. I have no problem with picking a number (maybe 2 million or whatever) and allowing that amount of immigration every year. But this is one case where just letting the "natural" thing happen isn't going to have a better outcome.

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