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Tom Mann on the ‘crocodile tears’ of the Republicans

Writing for the Brookings Institution, where he is based, political scientist Tom Mann scoffs at the Republican meme that President Obama’s executive action on immigration will poison the well for compromise going forward.

Co-author of “It’s Even Worse than it Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism,” Mann writes after last night’s speech and the Republican reaction:

“The crocodile tears in reaction to President Obama acting well beyond his constitutional authority and destroying prospects in Congress for bipartisan agreement on a range of pressing public problems, including immigration, are laughable. The President has faced unified and unrelenting opposition from Republicans in Congress since the first day of his presidency, following his sweeping victory and that of his fellow Democrats in Congress in the 2008 election. Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of his presidency nor demonstrated any willingness to enter into negotiations with him to deal with the Great Recession, stagnant wages, serious flaws in the regulation of financial services, unsustainable health care costs, a deteriorating infrastructure, climate change, and a widely acknowledged broken immigration system. Instead, since the 2010 elections returned the GOP to the majority in the House, they have engaged in unprecedented and irresponsible brinksmanship and hostage-taking that have threatened the full faith and credit of the country, weakened the economy, and precipitated a sharp decline in the public’s trust in government.”

Mann believes that Obama’s executive action is within his “well documented constitutional and statutory authority.” I remain skeptical on that one, but I agree after the last six years it’s pretty funny for Republicans to suggest that what Obama just did is the reason they won’t compromise.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/21/2014 - 01:23 pm.

    Oh, They’ll Try to Blame Him

    For their inaction over the next two years of congressional dominance,…

    and they will BE inactive, because as soon as they enact ANYTHING, they risk offending some small-but-necessary slice of their fractious coalition,…

    not to mention generating outrage in moderate and/or undecided voters coming up on 2016.

    But their base will grow restive, various slices demanding that actions diametrically opposed to those demanded by others be taken,…

    every faction growing less and less supportive of the Republican Party which they will regard to be standing against everything they, themselves, “truly believe” needs to, indeed, MUST be done,…

    and the moderate and undecided voters will grow increasingly frustrated that even the most necessary things that can only be addressed by the government through congressional action are being ignored by the Republican congress.

    All of this was inevitable, brought about by the way the Republicans have so determinedly and carelessly made the bed in which they now must lie,…

    but being short-term thinkers, and only interested in winning, they’ve done so by creating a Frankenstein coalition which will, itself, prove to be ungovernable.

    They’ll try to blame President Obama’s lack of cooperation for their inaction, but in reality,…

    their inability to cooperate with each other within their own caucus will render President Obama’s cooperation, or lack thereof, completely irrelevant.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/21/2014 - 04:17 pm.

    My Ph.D.

    …in Constitutional Law got lost in the mail somewhere, so I won’t try to figure out whether or not Obama has “…well documented constitutional and statutory authority” when it comes to immigration. It DOES seem worth noting that he has plenty of precedent on his side, going back to the 1930s and the Roosevelt administration, but also including Eisenhower and both Bushes. I think it’s a moot point.

    That said, the phrase “crocodile tears” seem absolutely on the mark when describing the Republican reaction to Obama’s executive action. Having had many opportunities to craft a bill, or at the very least approve the bill crafted (and approved) by the Senate, House Republicans have continued to demonstrate the maturity and dedication to serving the American public that we’ve all come to expect… of 3-year-olds. Not for nothing has the GOP been labeled, charitably, as “the party of ‘No.’ This is merely the latest temper tantrum.

  3. Submitted by Bill Kahn on 11/21/2014 - 05:32 pm.

    2014 will seem a squandered victory for Republicans come 2016 given their nonsense now; they have two years to try and prove that they are not the problem and they are blowing it big time even before the new Congress is seated.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/22/2014 - 09:46 am.

    The argument based on the constitutional/unconstitutional nature of the actions are less of a roll in the mud of race relations, scary brown people, invading hordes, free-loaders, anchor babies, etc..

    So that is the basis of all of this hoo-ha on the Obama action.

    No real love for the constitutional issue, just a desire to appear remain above the ugliness of what drives the basic issue.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/22/2014 - 10:40 am.

    Speaking of reaction

    Why haven’t we heard from the democrats’ presumptive 2016 nominee Mrs. Bill Clinton? Isn’t the press anxious to hear her take on Obama’s power grab?

    We know what the republicans think about this, where’s the reaction from Hillary Clinton, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/22/2014 - 02:43 pm.

      No harm, no foul

      Since there is in fact no power grab, there’s nothing to react to except the Republican power grabs, which is a different issue.
      Maybe you all should get your heads out from under your beds.
      You’re wasting too much time looking for nonexistent monsters.

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