President Obama took a step today toward some fashion of immigration reform.In reality, it was not a huge step, but enough to sharply mark the difference between the two parties today on the issue of immigration policy. Best I can tell, the primary criticism of the president is that his move was political. Really? Are the actions of the Republicans to repeatedly take the country to the brink over the debt-limit non-political? It’s an election year for goodness sake. Everything is political; that’s just part of life here in America.
The more interesting analysis is an examination of the issues each party decides to make political: same-sex marriage, tax policy, regulation of Wall Street, environmental policy, and in this case, immigration. I think what likely has the Republicans in a tither about what Obama did was that it reveals a split between the severe right wing of the Republican Party and what’s left of the Republican centrists. Obama’s new policy puts his opponents between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If the party line continues to turn its back on the millions of undocumented people here, who work to keep our economy functioning, then Republicans stand little chance of capturing any of the Latino vote in November. Some in the party, like Rubio, understand this is untenable, but on this one, he is not likely to carry the day. Romney abandoned his previous more moderate stance and veered sharply to the right to capture the primary victory. Despite the obvious hypocrisy of now moving back to the center, I hope he makes the right “political” move and does just that. Time will tell. In the meantime, I congratulate the president for his political move.