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The big news this week out of the nation’s capital is that President Obama will push aggressively for House action on his beloved amnesty bill, S. 744.
This was so predictable it is almost laughable. The push for the amnesty bill was sidetracked during the Obamacare defunding battle and the shutdown crisis, but it’s now back on the front burner. The laughable part is the reason for the revival of the amnesty crusade.
That Obama desperately wants an amnesty bill as part of his “legacy” is not news, and Democrats are also anxious to change the subject from Obamacare to, well, almost anything else. But why should Republicans accommodate Obama?
Obamacare was supposed to be Obama’s great “legacy achievement,” his gift to America and mankind, like Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and Roosevelt’s Social Security legislation. Now suddenly, the Obamacare legacy is on life support. Apparently, amnesty is Obama’s new “legacy achievement,” and Republicans are being asked to fall into line to hand it to him.
The Democratic response to the Obamacare disaster is not to fix the problem – which would be to repeal or at least delay implementation of Obamacare – but to change the subject. Shifting public debate away from Obamacare to amnesty accomplishes that.
But why should Republicans play that game? It makes no sense to ordinary folks, but if you are a Republican insider and part of the K-Street chorus, you will think you are smart enough to claim half the credit for new amnesty legislation. To me, this is playing chess with a box of checkers, but to Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and some Wall Street Journal editors, it passes for smart politics.
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Obamacare is not anyone’s “legacy,” it is an albatross and will be increasingly described as such even in the liberal media in the year ahead. Any Republican leader who agrees to change the subject and shift the public spotlight away from Obamacare’s cascading cacophony of failures should be asked to take early retirement and let Joe the Plumber take his post. That this possibility is even being discussed in respectable circles is evidence of failed Republican leadership.
Hasn’t House Republican leadership noticed that a growing number of Democrat senators facing re-election in 2014 are quietly lobbying for a delay in the implementation of Obamacare’s individual mandate? When your enemy is breaking ranks and fleeing the battlefield, why offer them a timeout?
These new Democratic defections were kept quiet while Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were asking for Obamacare to be defunded, but now they are free to lobby for an escape from that oncoming train wreck. Yes, Republicans have their differences over tactics and timing, but they are unified in wanting to repeal Obamacare.
We are seeing more and more Democrats looking for ways to distance themselves from Obama’s “legacy achievement.” Like Obama himself, Democrats in Congress see the amnesty bill as a way to change the subject and put Republicans on the spot. But why should Republicans want to help them?
We need to remember that Obamacare was passed in March of 2010 on straight party-line votes when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi used the Budget Control Act, commonly called “Budget Reconciliation,” to circumvent normal legislative rules. They passed a Senate bill that by precedent and the U.S. Constitution ought to have originated in the House. Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare.
In the case of the Senate amnesty bill, it had some Republican support, but over two-thirds of Senate Republicans voted against it, and some of its original supporters have since June abandoned the bill. There is no valid reason for House Republicans to take up that bill or to permit a conference committee to consider any part of that bill.
Obamacare is a giant Democratic albatross Republicans need to keep in the spotlight. Any Republican proposal to take up amnesty legislation in order to give Obama a new “legacy achievement” ought to be rejected as unbelievably stupid.