It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare. The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program. It is a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Cruz explains; tax cheats are defrauding the government of billions, and he wants the IRS to concentrate on them. Of course, he is willing to modify his order as soon as Congress agrees to fix what he considers a “broken” health system.As the editorial notes, just a couple months ago Obama was telling a crowd (correctly) that he didn't have the power to just ignore the law. Suddenly, he can. His buddy Eugene Robinson gives him cover by writing that since Boehner won't call a vote, all that stuff you learned on "Schoolhouse Rock" goes out the window.
What changed? Well I have a theory and it involves stringing along the Hispanic community for six years. Obama promised immigration reform in his first year, back when he had filibuster-proof majorities in Congress:
Obama failed to deliver on a promise, and he blamed Republicans instead of acknowledging any real responsibility for that failure.Imagine that. I don't think Obama ever wanted to fix immigration, I think he wanted an issue. He wanted a cudgel to use against the Republicans in 2012 and secure his re-election. Then he dangled the issue out in front of reform proponents insisting in speech after speech that, since he didn't have authorization, the only way to fix immigration was to elect Democrats.
When the 2014 midterms didn't turn out the way he hoped, it was clear to Obama that he had squeezed out all the political usefulness from the issue. Time to forget everything that guy said in the past.