John Boehner has decided to formalize his hissy fit in the form of a lawsuit against the President for acting on behalf of the American people by the means of administrative and executive authority, given the GOP's absolute resolve to allow Congress to do nothing. I could walk you through the mind-numbingly boring and utterly clueless memo Boehner wrote to the House, but the gist of it is this: We, the GOP House will not do any work, and we will not let anyone else do any either.
The lawsuit, needless to say, is wholly without merit. So much so that Boehner's own memo did not name a single executive action he believes violates or ovesteps the president's Constitutional authority. Of course, sources say he will tell them later. I suppose the irony of asking his chamber to approve unchecked authority for him to pick and choose whatever he wants to sue the president Obama while complaining that Obama has acted in a "king-like" fashion is completely lost on the Speaker.
But let's not kid around. Everyone with even an iota of political sense knows what this is about: the Republican establishment is worried about Tea Party money and enthusiasm, and this is a way to rake in the cash.
What the still-terrible-at-his-job John Boehner hasn't figured out, though, is that any serious challenge to the president's legal executive actions will not only fail in court but has the potential to backfire against the Republicans, and badly.
Realistically speaking, John Boehner has only a few issues to choose from - issues that the Supreme Court hasn't already dealt a blow on. Just this week, the Supreme Court upheld the EPA's authority to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants, so that's out. So what's left? And more importantly, what happens if Boehner tries to screw with any of those things?
Let's find out, one by one.
The Affordable Care Act
The lowest hanging fruit for the GOP and the Tea Party is, of course, Obamacare. Boehner has been vocal, along with other Republicans, in his opposition to HHS' discretionary extension of certain deadlines in the Affordable Care Act - most notably, allowing anyone in line to buy a plan by March 31 to complete their enrollment by April 15. Or that the deadline for enforcement of the employer mandate was delayed till 2015.
Say Boehner sues Obama over this. Take the logical next step. What is he going to ask the judicial remedy be should his lawsuit succeed? Throw off the insurance rolls people who finished their enrollment in the first half of April? That will just make off everyone with health insurance - not just those who enrolled in an exchange in a certain period of time - afraid that Boehner and Republicans are screwing with their insurance, because (a) no one trusts the GOP on health care, and (b) the GOP has themselves managed to muddy the water on this. These people vote.
What about the employer mandate piece? Is he going to ask for the judicial remedy that it start being enforced right away, pissing off - and probably drying up - GOP's big business money pit? I think not.
Another far fetched idea is to sue to withhold subsidies from federally run exchanges. The blowback from it may just relieve Speaker Crybaby of his duties once and for all. And it'd be right in time for Democrats to remind the American people that Republicans shut down the government for 17 days trying to keep them from getting health care.
Allowing Young Undocumented Immigrants to Stay and Work in America
This is the other issue burning up the pages of the xenophobic, racist Tea Party Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. In 2012, the president instructed the Department of Homeland Security to stop arresting and the DOJ to stop prosecuting undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children and know only one home: US of A. The President's action allows these young people to attend school and work via permits renewed every two years.
The president took this measure after waiting for Congress for nearly four years to pass the DREAM Act - a law that has enough support in both Houses to pass but House Republicans refuse to allow a vote on.
Despite the moans of monoculturalism from the far corners of the Right, there is absolutely nothing new about presidents and administrations deciding on prosecutorial and enforcement priorities given the limited resources.
But beyond that, this is probably the worst political move Republicans can make. Although the president's action doesn't only affect Latinos, the Hispanic community is both majorly affected and majorly supportive of this step (as well as the DREAM Act). If the same Speaker that has refused for years to bring the DREAM Act to a vote now sues to stop whatever little of it was made possible through executive action, it will motivate the Latino vote to come out and storm the GOP castle in November. So will Asian voters.
Despite the Tea Party's pronouncements, the vast majority of Hispanics (over 70%) in America are citizens.
You think Mitt Romney had it bad in 2012 with a paltry 27% of the Hispanic vote? Wait till Boehner tries to screw them over now. 2006 will look like a good midterm year for Republicans.
Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors
Another popular target among the economic Neanderthals in the GOP and libertarians is the president's recent executive order raising the minimum wage for workers who work for a federal contractor to $10.10 an hour. Again, presidents have been regulating the behavior of federal contractors for some time now.
But does the GOP really want to talk about the minimum wage this close to an election? The position of the President and Democrats is overwhelmingly popular on this issue, and it's one of those issues that actually affect people's vote.
The minimum wage is also an anchor issue. It leads to a discussion about all economic policy. If Republicans want to have a discussion about all of the popular Democratic ideas on the economy, including the raising minimum wage, reducing student loan burden, and extending unemployment benefits, all of which they are against, then I say Democrats should welcome that debate with open arms.
Conclusion: Between Barack and a Hard Place.
All of this is not even to mention that when Democratic presidents are under direct attack from the GOP, both Democratic turnout and that president's popularity goes up. See Clinton, 1998.
Boehner is trapped between the Tea Party's extreme desire to "teach the mulato a lesson" and Obama's executive orders that are not only popular and legal but are laid out brilliantly like political landmines for the GOP to step on. If he doesn't sue the president, money won't come by the teabags. If he does in any serious way, the backlash threatens to pummel the GOP in November.
Please proceed, Mr. Speaker.
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