On Thursday night, President Barack Obama announced the executive actions he was taking to potentially shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president’s critics—including those in the Republican leadership who blocked the House of Representatives from voting on immigration reform—promptly took to their computers and furiously banged away at their keyboards.
There’s a broad legal consensus that Obama’s new policy directives are likely constitutional, particularly because they’re centered on prioritization and inaction. The crux of the new initiatives: the administration will focus the limited resources it has to fight undocumented immigration on efforts to deport those who pose a security risk or commit crimes, and downplay efforts to deport undocumented parents of children who were born or grew up here.
As is often the case in this great land of partisan party politics, a narrative quickly coalesced. Obama was instantly branded an “emperor” and a “king.” Let’s take a look.
Pat Buchananwrote that things would never be the same: “Our rogue president has crossed an historic line, and so has the republic.”
“We have just taken a monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism,” Buchanan continued. “For this is rule by diktat, the rejection of which sparked the American Revolution.”
“Apparently, America now has its first emperor,” Sen. Jeff Sessionswrote in USA Today. “And he has issued an imperial order to dissolve America's borders.”
Writing in advance of Obama’s announcement, the ever-prescient Sen. Ted Cruzwarned of a similar dissolution of all things democratic and American: “If he acts by executive diktat, President Obama will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch.”
Cruz himself immigrated to the United States from Canada as a young child. After Obama spoke, Cruz proposed the newly elected, Republican-led Senate abdicate one of its key responsibilities: “. . . the new Senate Majority Leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee—executive or judicial—outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.”
Likely presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul showed some Web savvy by posting a “starter pack” for the “president who thinks he’s a king” on Twitter: