Obama following conscience?

Pundits are in a fierce battle over the political wisdom of President Barack Obama’s decision to indefinitely defer prosecution for many undocumented immigrants, providing them with the ability to obtain work visas.
The conclusion seems to be that he made a political miscalculation. Obama was going to get the Hispanic vote regardless, given that Mitt Romney opposes the DREAM Act and favors laws that force undocumented immigrants to “self deport.” The main base Obama energized was Romney’s. Republicans with little use for Romney have another reason to vote against Obama.
I agree that Obama’s deferment policy will hurt him politically. I also think that Obama is a clever politician, and that he is surrounded by smart people whose sole goal is to get him re-elected.
So why does a clever politician do something that will hurt him politically?
Here’s a novel thought: Maybe Obama was following his conscience.
Obama has been shut down at nearly every turn in his presidency. He inherited a severe recession that forced him to focus on mundane economic matters that had little to do with his major goals. The one piece of historic legislation that he got passed — the Affordable Care Act — is likely to be torpedoed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress has prevented him from pursuing any initiatives of any sort since Senate Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority in January 2010.
And now, Obama knows he is very likely to lose to Romney in November. His one chance to change America for the better may be about to end.
Obama may only have six months left in which to make a difference. Any difference he makes must be without Congress. The DREAM Act, which seemed to have a chance when Obama entered office, will never get through the House.
We have become so cynical that it does not occur to us that a political candidate would take an action with the knowledge that it hurts him politically. The most logical explanation for Obama’s deferment policy, however, is that he believed it was the right thing to do.

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1 Comment

Filed under Election 2012, immigration, obama

One response to “Obama following conscience?

  1. Todd Dillashaw

    Until both sides decide to follow Spike Lee’s advise and “do the right thing” we will be stuck in this new world where each side sits on opposite banks of the stream and hurl stones at one another. Johnson chose to push civil rights legislation even though he knew it would cost him and the democratic party the south “for a generation”. Very few would publicly claim that he was misguided in his decision to move forward on the legislation, yet it appears his estimate of how long it would hurt politically was woefully underestimated. This decision by Obama is not in the category of Johnson’s, but the decision to do the right thing despite the politics is similar.

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