Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"I Can Do What I Want But Future Presidents Cannot"

Remember the 24 times since 2010 that President Obama said he is not a king, he is not an emperor, and he doesn't have the authority as President to halt deportations? Remember how he said that over and over, in many different ways and in many different forums? Remember how just two weeks ago he did it anyway?

In what passes as a fairly good interview by George Stephanopoulos two weeks ago President Obama basically denied he ever said he couldn't halt deportations. Stephanopoulos reminded the President of what he said before: "I'm out of administrative flexibility," and the President's response was "Well, that’s not true, if you look George, I often times was asked: ‘Can you just halt deportations?’ And I said, ‘No I can’t do that.’

In a fairly unusual move for Stephanopoulos, he challenged President Obama.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, but I have it right here–

OBAMA: Go ahead–

STEPHANOPOULOS: On a Google Hangout, you were asked specifically, “‘What can you do to prevent families from being broken apart’ and you said, ‘I’m not an emperor, I am out of administrative flexibility.’”

A stammering Obama responded: I–I–George, what is absolutely true is that we couldn’t solve the entire problem and still can’t solve the entire problem. But what we can do is to prioritize felons, criminals, recent arrivals, folks who are coming right at the border, and acknowledge that if somebody’s been here for over five years, they may have an American child or a legal permanent resident child, it doesn’t make sense for us to prioritize them when we know that we need more resources-

Surprisingly, Stephanopoulos pressed on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you have the right to make that decision on your own?

OBAMA: Absolutely. If you look, every president – Democrat and Republican – over decades has done the same thing as I mentioned in my remarks today. George H. W. Bush, about 40% of the undocumented persons, at the time, were provided a similar kind of relief as a consequence of executive action.

Stephanopoulos still wasn't finished.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you know the response of both Reagan – but in that case, there were bipartisan bills passed, they were acting after the bills were passed, not because Congress did not act.

OBAMA: Well George, I’m not sure that argues in favor. If Congress acted specifically and left something out and then a President goes ahead right afterwards and does more than Congress agreed to, it’s actually not different. It’s similar. The fact is is that we exercise prosecutorial discretion all the time. And, you know, the primary response that I have to Speaker Boehner and others is go ahead and pass legislation. They don’t need me to act. In fact, I encourage them to act but in the meantime what we’ve got to make sure of is, number one that our borders are secure and what I’m doing is going to allow us to put more resources there, number two it’s going to allow us to focus on the people that we really want out. Number three, what it allows us to do is to say to folks who have been here for a while, register, we’re gonna submit — you’re going to submit to a criminal background check and you’re going to pay taxes. Why we would prefer a system in which they’re in the shadows, potentially taking advantage of living here but not contributing makes no sense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in, wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it – he says I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.

OBAMA: Well, the truth of the matter is, George, that the reason that we have to do prosecutorial discretion in immigration is that we know we are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time. The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks who are most likely to be cheating. We’re not going after millions and millions of people who everybody knows are here and were taking advantage of low wages as they’re mowing lawns or cleaning out bedpans, and looking the other way – but then you got politicians suddenly going out there saying, suggesting somehow that we should be deporting all of them. Everybody knows, including Republicans, that we’re not going to deport 11 million people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?

OBAMA: With respect to taxes? Absolutely not.

President Obama told George Stephanopoulos and the world that he has prosecutorial discretion to do what he wants when he wants to but future Presidents do not. Obama and the Democrats are digging a hole they'll have problems getting out of one day. Remember when Harry Reid implemented the nuclear option in the Senate? I wonder how he'll like it when the Republicans take over in January and use it against him and the President?

One definition of tyranny is "arbitrary use of power or control." It seems President Obama has now met the definition of tyranny. Can impeachment be far behind?

You can read the entire transcript of the interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/11/full-interview-transcript-president-obama-on-this-week/

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