August 6

Maybe there is a method to President Obama’s madness. Perhaps the reason he is encouraging all the silly talk about impeachment is to preemptively discredit his critics before he commits a clearly impeachable act. This theory is consistent with the point made by New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat, who argued that “even as his team plays the impeachment card with gusto, the president is contemplating – indeed, all but promising – an extraordinary abuse of office: the granting of temporary legal status, by executive fiat, to up to half the country’s population of illegal immigrants.” Douthat goes on to say that, “in political terms, there is a sordid sort of genius to the Obama strategy.”

And as The Washington Post editorialized today, even if Congress is “obstinate, hopelessly partisan and incapable of problem-solving,” that doesn’t “grant the president license to tear up the Constitution” by issuing an executive order to give temporary legal status to most of the illegal immigrants who have recently come across the border.

I think Obama’s words and actions in recent years encouraged the race to the border. If he grants immunity to the massive influx of recent illegal immigrants, the race will become a stampede. If he does, in fact, toss away the Constitution to bless chaos at the border and send a signal to all comers that now is the time to break the law, then what won’t he do? What does he think his boundaries are? And just as important, what will he do when America’s enemies — large and small — take his cue and start to seize the moment?

I hate to be dark and imagine the unimaginable, but bear with me. We have no idea who sees Obama’s remaining tenure in the White House as a opportunity to take actions they know no other U.S. president would tolerate. At the very least, Russia, Iran and North Korea are no doubt studying the calendar and plotting their moves, as are the innumerable other miscreants we may not even recognize yet as imminent threats. It is not unreasonable to assume that our enemies seek to take advantage of a world with a permissive or completely feckless president.

We don’t know what the effect will be if the president decides to go ahead with his executive actions. The severity of unintended consequences is directly proportional to the actions taken. If a U.S. president unilaterally declares himself free from the bounds of our nation’s laws, there is no telling what the consequences will be.

 

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.