For a guy with a Nobel Peace Prize on his mantle, President Obama sure likes to fight. That is, as long as he's battling those nasty conservatives at home. The president's party was just hammered in midterm elections; now he's back with his pen, his phone, and an abundance of defiance.
The coming showdown involves amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. Fox News has obtained details of a 10-point White House plan that will enable as many as 4.5 million immigrants to stay in the USA legally. The president's executive action could come as early as next week, giving Americans something to chew on – in addition to turkey and stuffing – over Thanksgiving dinner.
The amnesty plan has riled up extremists on both sides, and there is never, ever a shortage of extremists. Take the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is somewhere to the left of Fidel. The CPC says the president's plan doesn't go nearly far enough, and that amnesty should be granted to many millions more.
On the other side are those like our own Laura Ingraham. She has called for deportation of illegal immigrants "by the thousands." According to Miss Laura, "We keep families unified by deporting all people who are here illegally."
For most Americans who are somewhere in the vast middle, all this raises a simple question: Why now? President Obama could let the newly-elected Congress convene in January and draft a bill the old-fashioned way. Sounds quaint, but it's certainly possible. Instead, the president is apparently seeking an issue that will renew his credibility with the far left.
But the last thing America needs right now is a nasty fight over immigration, a battle that Speaker John Boehner ominously warns will "poison the well." That well has already been tainted by various other political disputes, so can't we just take a break for the holidays?
American voters have been very clear about a few things. Above all else, they want the White House and Congress to shore up the economy. Simplifying our Byzantine tax system and reforming our complex regulations should be at the top of the agenda. Not immigration, which is far down on the list of priorities for most Americans.
Take your time, Mr. President. Show some good faith to the other side by increasing border security and by deporting illegal aliens who have committed crimes. Any crimes! That is something on which almost everyone can agree, maybe even the intransigent extremists on both sides of the debate.
And then, when the border is at least secure, politicians and immigration advocates can actually sit down and talk about what to do with the 10-million-plus who are here illegally. Most of them are decent, hard-working people who came here in search of a better life. Yes, they should have done it within the law, but previous administrations made it far too easy for them to cross our borders. That includes Republican administrations, including those of Ronald Reagan and a couple of presidents named Bush.
Most of us want a solution that is humane and fair. Immigrants should be required to register with the government and get in line with other prospective citizens. The back of the line, not the front. A plan for immigration reform is – it is simple, thorough, and will be acceptable to most clear-thinking Americans.
So again, there is absolutely no need for a confrontation right now, not after a bruising midterm election. But President Obama seems poised to enact a form of amnesty for millions. He is itching for a showdown and maybe more – our pal Charles Krauthammer says the president wants to dangle "impeachment bait" in front of his political rivals. Republicans shouldn't take that bait, which would only turn a dilemma into a full-blown crisis. Rather, they should contemplate, legislate, and navigate the high road in the immigration debate. It is a road very lightly traveled, but it could actually lead to a destination most of us will find acceptable. Perhaps not ideal, obviously not perfect, but acceptable. In these days of endless and bitter political conflict, that would be a true achievement.