Those who think that either the Constitution or possible negative consequences to the Democratic Party will deter President Obama from acting unilaterally on immigration policy probably still don't understand what makes this man tick.
The main things that drive him are his own interests -- whether political or legacy -- and his own ideological goals.
The Washington Post is reporting that both Democrats and Republicans "are in a state of high anxiety" over the possibility that Obama will issue an executive order allowing millions of people who entered the country illegally to stay in the United States in contravention of Congress, which clearly hasn't authorized this move.
The Post says both parties, for different reasons, fear that such an action by Obama could negatively impact their prospects in November's midterm elections. Obama's threat -- and that's what it is, a threat, because there's nothing positive about his acting lawlessly again, especially for such a nefarious purpose -- brings back more un-sweet memories.
We've all watched this movie before, not just with the immigration issue but with a host of others on which Obama has thumbed his nose at the Constitution and Congress and virtually dared Republicans to challenge him.
The movie metaphor is especially appropriate because with movies, the audience is necessarily passive. It has no impact on the unfolding of the plot and narrative. Obama often acts as if he were in a movie that's already been filmed and we were powerless to influence events. We must just sit back and watch this character rub our noses in the dirt as he intentionally flouts the prescribed limitations on his authority.
A few years ago, Obama gave a defensive speech to the amnesty-supporting La Raza organization, explaining that he can't change immigration laws on his own, though it "is very tempting." About a month later, he defied his own insincere words, Congress and the Constitution and proceeded to issue an executive order anyway.
He had the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issue an immigration enforcement memo directing ICE agents, attorneys and directors to exercise "prosecutorial discretion," which meant that they were to relax deportation actions for people who were students here, who had lived here since childhood or who had served in the military. This was a brazen act, even for Obama, because this policy had been proposed in the DREAM Act, which had been rejected by Congress. Columnist Charles Krauthammer correctly noted at the time, "This is outright lawlessness on the part of the administration."