To the Editor:
I could not disagree more with the tone and sentiment expressed in the Islander’s Nov. 27 editorial entitled “A Belligerent President.” It criticizes President Obama for his “belligerent posture,” suggesting instead that the president should have “doubled down on efforts to bring Republicans and Democrats together on a comprehensive solution to the vexing immigration problem…”
What universe exactly are you living in? The editorial briefly mentions the piece of legislation that actually brought the parties together for just such a comprehensive solution. Then the article seems to pretend that legislation never happened, that it hasn’t continued to sit on House Speaker John Boehner’s desk for over 500 days! The article ignores the fact that the speaker has said repeatedly he will not bring the bill forward even though it has the votes to pass because the speaker’s caucus can’t trust the president to enforce the legislation as written.
The article ignores the fact that on Nov. 14, after the recent election, when asked if he would commit to bringing up the immigration bill up in the next congress, Boehner said he would not. The article ignores that Obama, over the last year and a half, has repeatedly cajoled the speaker to bring up the bill, all the while warning that if Congress refused to act, he would.
What on earth would lead the author to think that “doubling down” would somehow move a heretofore obstinate, obstructionist Congress, made more so by the recent election? The idea strains credulity to say the least.
The article also ignores the fact that every modern president has issued executive orders pertaining to immigration. Though none were of the same scope as Obama’s, most similar was George H.W. Bush’s, which in the face of congressional inability to make a fix to a flawed immigration law, extended amnesty to about 30 percent of people in the country illegally at the time.
One may agree or disagree with the president’s action. One may believe it was a purely political move, or just the right thing to do. But belligerent? Congressional Republicans left the president no choice if he is to get something done on immigration during his final two years in office. The president did what he, for over a year, told Congress and the American people he would do. It was hardly belligerent.