There’s nothing that President Obama’s current distasteful impeachment trolling resembles so much as Alex Rodriguez in 2004. The slumping hitter, frustrated after a difficult season, triggered a bench-clearing brawl in Boston after being hit by a pitch from Bronson Arroyo.
Rodriguez threw down his bat, glared, and started cussing at the pitcher. Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek rushed into his path, and as A-Rod cursed the pitcher and accused him of hitting him on purpose, legend has it Varitek shot back, “We don’t throw at .260 hitters!” And, well, this happened. A few months later the half-centaur was swatting at Arroyo’s glove, and his reputation in baseball was never the same.
This incident should inform the general Republican Party response to any executive action on amnesty and the Left’s other passive-aggressive attempts to divert attention away from the failures of their unpopular, discredited president. Treat him like A-Rod, and don’t throw at .260 hitters.
The problem for Republicans is that if Obama does what he’s apparently planning to do, it really is blatantly illegal and unconstitutional. Yuval Levin, no crazy conspiracy theorist he:
“Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.”
Whatever your preferred immigration policy solution, yes, this is outrageous. It’s the sort of action taken by a monarch, not an elected representative of the people. Total abandonment of the rule of law for blatantly partisan reasons after failing to achieve anything legislatively, betting on the courts to ignore it or do the no standing dance until it’s established policy – it’s all pretty obscene. But impeachment is a unrealistic and unworkable approach and Republicans know it (though it is amusing to watch the media and Capitol Hill Democrats which such short memories).
There is no court or parliamentary procedure or legal technicality which can defend against Obama’s actions at this point or short-circuit the process (or lack thereof) he’s going to employ for the rest of his presidency. Under his leadership, his party has thoroughly abandoned the rule of law in pursuit of their policy aims. It might as well be part of the party platform now, and the Joe Biden presidency (lulz) would not be markedly more respectful of it.
So Republicans and Independents keep dropping jaws and cracking monocles, but it’s not going to do any good, and there’s no referee to throw the flag or umpire to call out the president for slapping the glove (well, there is that god-awful record at the Supreme Court, but that works on a delay). Paul Ryan has said that the GOP’s current political differences with the president don’t add up to high crimes and misdemeanors.
But even if Obama does this, and even if the base concludes this is a step too far, there’s really nothing Republicans can do other than to laugh at how much of a failed presidency this has become, at the sheer absurdity and elitism of engaging in mass amnesty at a time when the working class is struggling so much, and get back to winning the argument with the people.
Don’t throw at .260 hitters. Impeachment won’t stop disrespect of the rule of law from this crew. Only crafting a new governing majority will.
[First published at The Federalist.]