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Damned If You Do

The GOP strategy against the president seems to be to throw everything at Obama to see if anything sticks. Even if the things you throw at him are contradictory. Obama is a socialist, but he is simultaneously a fascist. Obama is an ineffective president who has not delivered on his promised “hope and change”, but he is simultaneously a usurping dictator who is destroying the constitution.

The media seems to be playing along with this cynical game. Even the Christian Science Monitor had the following headline “Does ‘audacity of hope’ mean unchecked presidential power?” The article goes on to quote conservatives who compare Obama to Napoleon (as if Napoleon had to run for reelection or would have put up with our obstructionist Republican party).

The CSM is talking about Obama’s recent order to the immigration service to stop deporting illegal immigrants who were brought here as children, who pose no threat to the US, and are living productive lives here.

This is similar to some of the provisions of the “DREAM Act”, originally introduced into Congress by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch. Except the DREAM Act allowed some undocumented immigrants the apply for and receive permanent residency, which could then lead to citizenship, while Obama’s order simply stops deportation temporarily. Republicans have long been in favor of this and similar immigration reform. That is, until Obama was elected and they became the the “party of no”. After all, their stated top priority is to make Obama a one-term president, and passing immigration reform while Obama is president might make him look good.

I also question whether Obama’s action actually constitutes an abuse of presidential power. Obama is simply saying that we have limited resources to prosecute undocumented immigrants, and those resources are wasted going after children. After all, they had no intent to break the law (they were brought here as children), and they are leading productive, responsible lives. Some of them are even part of the US military — would you deport them after they have served (and offered their lives for) their country?

The conservative Republican attorney general of Utah (who is a Mitt Romney supporter) said it best: “Law enforcement makes decisions based on the resources available to them — until Congress acts, we’ll be left with too many people to deport. The administration is saying, `Here’s a group we could be spending our resources going after, but why? They’re Americans, they see themselves as Americans, they love this country.’ … You’re not giving [legal status] to the parents who came here. You’re giving it to the child who was brought here. That child didn’t get to choose.”

More than once in my life I’ve had a crime committed against me (including having my car stolen and my house broken into), and the police have told me that they didn’t have the resources to do anything about it. I’m sure many people reading this have had similar experiences. Obama is simply saying the same thing. Fiscal conservatives should be happy that he is not wasting government money on this. I’d certainly rather have them looking for the jerk who stole my car than deporting immigrant children.



  1. Dean Walsh wrote:

    Interesting article and some good points. Just one slight thing though – saying someone is a facist and a socialist is not a contradiction. Even though facism is associated with the extreme of the modern political right, and socialism with the left, facists are actually socialists. The name ‘Nazi’, for example, is a shortened version of ‘National Socialist’. Facists want big government and extensive (as well as agressive) social programs organised by the state.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  2. BigDaddyCool wrote:

    The first thing that occurred to me is that the Conservatives would be trying to convince you that the immigrant child was the one who stole your car…

    The Republicans are so desperate to get the President out of office that they will say anything and do anything to make that happen. If they succeed then the rest of us are doomed to a life as peasants in the feudalistic society that they are working so hard to form.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:

    Fascism and socialism the same? I think not. Nazis may have co-opted the word socialist, but naziism/fascism and socialism are worlds apart. Consider that European socialist countries have democratically elected governments that are responsive to the public will (for the most part) while a fascist country is a one party, dictator controlled government where the state is the ultimate concern, not its citizens. (Curiously enough, communism also had a thing for using the word socialist in naming their countries – communism being far more attuned to fascism than to socialism, IMHO).

    We’re not talking apples and oranges here. We’re talking apples and platypus.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Thanks Don.

    I’m very aware that the Nazi party was the “National Socialist” party. But that doesn’t make Fascists the same as Socialists! Socialists believe “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, while fascism subjugates the individual to the state. Socialism believes in the inherent dignity of all individuals, while fascism seeks to purge society of those it deems inferior. You can’t get much more different than that!

    The only similarity I can think of is that they both limit private property, but while socialists do this by making everything belong to everyone, fascists do this by putting ownership into the hands of an elite (such as a corporate elite).

    Note that I’m neither fascist nor socialist by any means.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    NAZI had no meaning. It was mearly a means for Hitler to grab all power, including over the churches and military to reach his own ends. Over and over I read in “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, Hitler promises so and so and broke his promise five days later. Even in 1937, there was enough knowledge in the Foreign countries to stop him.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    Ebdoug, if you haven’t already done so, I’d heartily suggest you read In The Garden of the Beast. Very interesting book which gives a detailed look at what our ambassador to Germany was doing between 1933 and 1937. Gives plenty of insights into the country’s mindset at the time.

    IMHO, Nazi carried then and still carries lots of meaning. A Nazi was a person who was a member of the National Socialist Party and Naziism was a collection of the beliefs of that party. The NSP was certainly central to Hitler’s election to power in Germany. Perhaps he wanted to coin a word in the same manner as Mussolini did when he coined the word fascist to describe his view of government and power?

    Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Don, after I read “Garden of the Beast” when it came out, I started rereading “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” I read a tiny bit at a time to absorb it all. In it, Shirer does not even mention Dodd. Dodd met with Roosevelt and was ignored as it wasn’t politically expedient to start anything. England ignored all the signs after Hitler backed out of the agreements to limit arms. Everyone believed he wasn’t increasing his army. And so we paid the price for being blind to it all.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  8. Don wrote:

    Anonymous. For years, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich was considered the bible with regards to the events surrounding the Atlantic side of the second world war. Since it was written, significant first and second order materials have come to light with many of them filling in gaps and correcting errors in that seminal work (In The Garden of the Beast is an example and if it’s true that Shirer didn’t mention the ambassador to Germany during that critical time supports my thesis (I read Rise and Fall many years ago and, admittedly, don’t remember such details)).

    Roosevelt was caught in a very serious multi-faceted bind. There was the global and domestic depression to deal with which included a massive international financial nightmare (I recently read an interesting article in the Wilson Quarterly on how the international shift off the gold standard may have facilitated Hitler’s rise to and consolidation of power). The country and its political leaders and king-makers were deeply divided about what to do with Germany and there was certainly no international political consensus – especially in England and France. There was also the very strong memory of what had just occurred during World War I. Many people firmly believed that it had been the war to end all wars and dreaded the thought of doing it all over.

    At the time, many people were well aware of the massive arms build up that was occurring in Germany – especially the British. It wasn’t a secret and it wasn’t unknown to the world’s powers – they just couldn’t agree as to how to react to it and, being seriously consumed by their own troubles at home, failed to act at all.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    Don, sorry, different computer that gave my name as Anonymous, I also read Rise and Fall years ago, and with the second reading, I’m seeing all sorts of things I didn’t see before, like taking education away from the German children for 12 years so a whole generation grew up without except for propaganda and they influence their children. I keep folding little corners in the book to find things.

    Monday, June 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  10. patriotsgt wrote:

    on the illegals in the military, thats not quite correct. They can serve if they have a green card, ie. they are lawful permanent residents. And if they are and choose to serve the military will help and speed up their citizenship process.

    As to the post, the rule has been for the past 1 1/2 years not to seek out or deport alien children or adults for that matter, just those with criminal acts, even then it’s not a lock. So them announcing it at this time was strictly for the latino vote. Bog sis can absolutely say they will use there resources for other cases, but I believe it is overstepping legal boundaries to grant status without congressional approval. The legislature writes the laws, the president signs them making them legal.

    While I agree with not targeting alien children, do we really want the president to have the power to begin changing or adding laws or circumventing the constitution without oversight?

    Monday, June 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  11. Arthanyel wrote:

    @PSGT – the President did not add, change, or circumvent any law, with or without oversight, in this case or in virtually all of the cases where the right accuses him of doing so. The President runs the executive branch – the part of the government that actually executes on legislation – and he can choose to specify whatever priorities or resource allocations that he chooses.

    Republicans are just mad that he made a really good decision at a good time and made them look bad in the process – but they aren’t (mostly) against what was done, and don’t really believe he usurped anyone’s authority. He is just doing his job – for which I am grateful.

    If you want to see a President that usurped authority the most recent good example would be George W. Bush who used more signing statements than any President in history and did so to completely circumvent both the intention and the desired outcome of legislation.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink