It’s too bad there isn’t a Nobel Prize for Hypocrisy or Chutzpah. Then, maybe Barack Obama could finally win one on merit, based on his response to President Trump’s rescinding the DACA program Obama conjured up via executive order (see the link for the full text.)
Like most of Obama’s speeches, it goes on at great length, appeals largely to emotion, implies only the worst motives to those who disagree with him, and ignores the real point. He also glosses over one of the most destructive aspects of his legacy: the idea that if Congress doesn’t act, then it’s up to the President to do something. No, if Congress doesn’t act in an area that the Constitution restricts to Congress, then it is up to the President to accept their decision not to act or else go to Congress and work harder to convince them to act, something Obama was always loathe to do. “Prosecutorial discretion,” as he describes DACA, doesn’t entail creating, with the stroke of a pen, an entire new government immigration program not authorized by Congress.
President Trump is not being heartless or cruel in sending this back to Congress. He’s being responsible, by reestablishing the Constitutional limits of power that Obama sidestepped. This is the real point Obama conveniently ignores: Trump’s ability to kill the program demonstrates precisely why laws like this are left up to Congress to debate, craft and pass, and not subject to the whims of regularly-changing executives.
Notice how Obama doesn’t mention that Trump’s hand was forced by a coalition of 10 states that threatened a lawsuit if he didn’t end the program by September 5th. Their lawsuit had a good chance of succeeding precisely because of the unconstitutional way in which Obama created it. As the President has explained:
“I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed, and Congress, right now, has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system, and what that means is we have certain obligations to enforce the laws that are in place, even if we think in many cases the results may be tragic.”
That wasn’t President Trump or Attorney General Sessions explaining why Congress needs to deal with DACA. It was Obama, on February 14, 2013. He said similar things on about 20 other occasions.
If Obama sincerely cared about DACA and the people it affects, instead of launching cheap shots at his successor, he could do what he never seemed to muster the stomach for when he was President: go talk to members of Congress and help convince them to pass it legitimately. Then the next President won’t be able to kill it with the stroke of a pen.