In response to my post about how congressional Republicans should respond to the coming amnesty by executive order, my friend Bill Otis writes:
I think the thing to do is (1) publicly set out the case that the order is bad policy on its merits, an overreach of the President’s power, and a direct slap at the electorate’s choice six days ago. Then (2) announce that if the President follows through, there will be serious and prompt consequences. Then, when he hands down the order, (3) impose them.
Specifically, and without saying anything further, when Obama sends ANY nomination to the new Senate, McConnell should bring it up the next day and vote it down. No committee hearings, no debate, no nothing. Doesn’t matter who it is or what it’s for.
This is not shutting down the government or cancelling anyone’s government check. It will be a shock message that, if Obama wants to act like Louis XVI, this has just become Paris in 1789.
He either recognizes that the Republicans have a share of power and will use it, or not.
Just talking doesn’t cut it with this guy. There has to be action, and it has to have shock value.
The press won’t like it, but it won’t like anything we do to exert our power and dissuade Obama from imperial rule. We just have to accept that as the price of doing business. In any event, Obama doesn’t have that much popularity left, and will have even less when ISIS launches some attack inside the country and/or Iran gets the Big One and/or the Obamacare premiums, taxes, other costs and rules finally come home to roost.
Bill’s proposal raises two questions in my mind. First, how would President Obama respond to this approach? Second, would congressional Republicans hang tough after Obama responds?
Obama would respond, of course, by attacking Republicans for preventing him from staffing the executive and judicial branches. Assuming the Republicans stick to their guns, Obama then would likely call for a compromise — some form of relief for illegal immigrants that falls a bit short of his executive amnesty, in exchange for allowing him to have nominees confirmed.
Considering the stength of the presumption that a president should be able to have at least some of his nominees confirmed, we can expect Republicans to negotiate. How the negotiations would go is anybody’s guess.
The incentives don’t favor Republicans, though. Unlike GOP members of Congress, Obama won’t be facing voters in 2016. His focus is on his legacy, which he is convinced will be enhanced by decreeing amnesty. In the end, therefore, he would probably drive a harder bargain than congressional Republicans.