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Matt Vespa - Great Moments In Government: NY Governor, GOP Opponent Under Investigation For Ethics Violations
Posted: 7/31/2014 3:15:00 PM EST

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is certainly taking some heat for torpedoing his own commission that was set up to investigate ethics violations and other felonious activities in state government. But there was a problem: the commission was looking into his friends. His office allegedly ran interference on some of the investigations conducted by the Moreland Commission, which was already marred by intra-office politics, especially between its executive director and its chief of investigations.

Now, New York’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is warning Governor Cuomo that his office could become subjected to an investigation over witness tampering and obstruction of justice. According to the New York Times, Mr. Bharara’s office has been looking into the reasons for Mr. Cuomo’s premature dissolution of his ethics commission:

In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor’s cancellation of his own anticorruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

The warning, in a sharply worded letter from Mr. Bharara’s office, came after several members of the panel issued public statements defending the governor’s handling of the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, which Mr. Cuomo created last year with promises of cleaning up corruption in state politics but shut down abruptly in March.

Mr. Bharara’s office has been investigating the shutdown of the commission, and pursuing its unfinished corruption cases, since April.

The letter from prosecutors, which was read to The New York Times, says, “We have reason to believe a number of commissioners recently have been contacted about the commission’s work, and some commissioners have been asked to issue public statements characterizing events and facts regarding the commission’s operation.”

“To the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness’s recollection of events relevant to our investigation, including the recollection of a commissioner or one of the commission’s employees, we request that you advise our office immediately, as we must consider whether such actions constitute obstruction of justice or tampering with witnesses that violate federal law.”

The Times noted that William J. Fitzpatrick, one of the commission’s co-chairs, said that no such interference occurred, which contradicts what he wrote in his emails when the commission was active.

News of the governor hobbling his own crusade to wipe out corruption in the Empire State has only brought media scrutiny, which resulted in Cuomo throwing a temper tantrum. And giving a rather puerile response to the allegations that was read on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this week.

Cuomo, who’s running for re-election, isn’t the only one facing legal matters. Rob Astorino, his Republican opponent, is also the subject of an investigation. Allegedly, Mr. Astorino strong-armed staffers, family members, and friends to change registration to the Independence Party during his re-election bid for his Westchester County executive seat, according to Politico:

A New York prosecutor’s office is reviewing a request for an investigation of GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino over a messy lawsuit relating to a minor party and allegations that he made threats over an endorsement he didn’t get.

A spokesman for the Westchester County district attorney’s office told POLITICO officials are “reviewing” a request sent by lawyer Peter Tilem two months ago in relation to a civil racketeering case filed against Astorino by officials with the Independence Party over the 2013 endorsement process for Astorino’s ultimately-successful reelection effort.

The suit claims that Astorino tried to get friends and relatives to switch their registration to the Independence Party as part of an effort to secure their nomination in last year’s county-executive race, which ultimately went to his Democratic opponent. Astorino did not seek the IP’s endorsement in the gubernatorial race; the party has endorsed Cuomo.

New York permits fusion tickets, in which major party candidates can boost their margins by securing minor party ballot lines.

The complaint alleges that Astorino “coerced dozens of staff members, political associates, friends and family members” to change their party registration to the Independence Party. The Astorino-controlled county government allegedly back-dated registration forms and accepted documents after legal deadlines, a summary of the complaint contends.

Daily Kos Elections asked the following:

In a word: chaos. But, it’s the entertaining, popcorn-filled kind.

Guy Benson - GAO: Healthcare.gov Trainwreck Resulted From Obama Admin Incompetence
Posted: 7/31/2014 2:46:00 PM EST


Well, yeah. Obviously. But to hear the administration tell it, all those migrane-inducing rollout, er, hiccups ought to be laid at the feet of the private contractors who screwed everything up. Remember this?


A week after the contractors who built HealthCare.gov blamed the Obama administration for the site's failures, the administration is shifting the blame right back. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will tell a House committee tomorrow the site's botched rollout was the result of contractors failing to live up to expectations – not bad management at HHS, as the contractors suggested. "CMS has a track record of successfully overseeing the many contractors our programs depend on to function. Unfortunately, a subset of those contracts for HealthCare.gov have not met expectations," Sebelius said in prepared testimony for tomorrow's hearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee.


That would be the same disastrous October testimony in which Sebelius claimed Healthcare.gov had "never crashed." Healthcare.gov was crashed throughout the duration her testimony. CNN even put up a memorable live split screen. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has been assessing Obamacare's failures and renders a judgment on the administration's culpability amid the blame game:


Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for computer woes that paralyzed the president's new health care program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in a report released Wednesday. While the administration was publicly assuring consumers that they would soon have seamless online access to health insurance, a chaotic procurement process was about to deliver a stumbling start. After a months-long investigation, the Government Accountability Office found that the administration lacked "effective planning or oversight practices" for the development of HealthCare.gov, the portal for millions of uninsured Americans. As a result the government incurred "significant cost increases, schedule slips and delayed system functionality," William Woods, a GAO contracting expert, said in testimony prepared for a hearing Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.


The report concluded that "contractors were not given a coherent plan, and instead jumped around from issue to issue," and that the administration "failed to follow up on how well the contractors performed." The Associated Press' story on the findings repeated the claim that "eight million" consumers signed up through Obamacare's exchanges. This isn't accurate. According to estimates, roughly 15-20 percent of "enrollees" never paid their first premium, and therefore did not initiate their coverage. A health insurance executive said yesterday that an untold number of additional actual enrollees have ceased making payments, voiding their coverage. The "eight million" figure also includes a substantial number of duplicate enrollments, as millions of applications have been impacted by data discrepancies that are expected to end up charging them more, or terminating their plans entirely. The majority of "new" enrollees being touted by the White House already had insurance prior to Obamacare; a large portion of these people represent those whose existing plans were canceled under the new law, in violation of an opt-recited presidential vow. The GAO also just blew the whistle on woefully insufficient eligibility verification procedures, noting that 11 of their 12 fake customers were able to obtain coverage online or over the phone. All of these problems are exacerbated by a federal data hub whose 'back-end' payment systems have still not been built, and aren't expected to go live until sometime in 2015. A separate population of consumers who may like their new plans stand to face sharply higher bills next year after they're automatically re-enrolled in plans with shifting costs. If they don't want to pay more, they'll need to switch coverage -- again, in many cases. Obamacare consumers across the country have been complaining about trouble finding doctors and facilities that accept their plans, and a rash of premium increases have been been announced for the coming year. National Journal reports on how much taxpayers have already sunk into Healthcare.gov:


The Obama administration has spent roughly $840 million on HealthCare.gov, including more than $150 million just in cost overruns for the version that failed so badly when it launched last year. The Government Accountability Office says cost overruns went hand-in-hand with the management failures that led to the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov and the 36 state insurance exchanges it serves...GAO says similar problems could arise again without structural changes in the way the government manages its contracts and spending.


That figure doesn't count the billions spent on state-level exchange websites, including hundreds of millions of dollars flushed away on failed or abandoned exchanges in states like Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts. Administration officials at first didn't expect to have to build any exchanges, assuming that all 50 states would create their own, as outlined in the law. Most states declined to do so, however, yet Team Obama delayed and hid much of its work on the federal marketplace until after the president had been safely re-elected. The law's plain language states that only consumers who purchase plans through state-based exchanges are eligible to receive taxpayer subsidies, but Obamacare defenders say that was never the intent of the law -- creating a mess of contradictions and dishonesty. The best summary I've seen on the issue is here. Based on conflicting circuit court rulings issued within the last few weeks, the issue seems destined for the Supreme Court. I'll leave you with this, breaking today:


U.S. consumers who purchase private health coverage through the federal Obamacare website HealthCare.gov are likely to find only modestly higher premiums but may still have technical problems signing up, a top health official said on Thursday. "It won't be perfect," Andrew Slavitt, a newly appointed principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told lawmakers at hearing before a House of Representatives oversight committee. "It's a bumpy process at times," he added. "I think we've got a committed team of people, though, that by and large are doing a very good job. But there will clearly be bumps."


Coming soon: Higher costs, more glitches. That, according to a high-ranking Obama administration official. Current and upcoming premium increases are being held down by bailout-style taxpayer payments to insurers through channels established in the law. The administration unilaterally expanded this hefty assistance at insurers' behest in order to head off even higher cost spikes.

Conn Carroll - How Will Obama Pay for His Next Unilateral Amnesty?
Posted: 7/31/2014 2:40:00 PM EST

Speaker John Bohner (R-OH) announced this afternoon that the House will not be voting on his $659 million border bill before adjourning for the August recess.

This is a wise decision since giving President Obama any additional funds for the border would just make it easier for him to enact his next unilateral amnesty.

Supposedly, Obama has the legal authority to grant temporary amnesty (aka "deferred action" or "non priority enforcement" status) to anyone he wants to, whenever he wants to, based on his inherent "prosecutorial discretion" as the nation's chief law enforcement officer.

Congress, this legal theory reasons, has not allocated the funds necessary to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants, so in order to conserve resources Obama must decide which of the 11 million illegal immigrants he will or will not deport. In this sense, true prosecutorial discretion should save the executive branch money.

But Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an unprecedented abuse of that prosecutorial discretion. Obama isn't just deciding which illegal immigrants he will or will not pursue. He is also granting those that meet his made up criteria a special new status that also allows them to get work permits, a Social Security number, and a drivers license.

Setting up a new legalization program and adminsitering the many new rules for who does and does not qualify for that program costs a lot of money. But Congress never approved Obama's amnesty and never approved any money for it.

So where did Obama get this money? The New York Times reports:

Many thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months.

The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data. …

Until recently, an American could obtain a green card for a spouse, child or parent — probably the easiest document in the immigration system — in five months or less. But over the past year, waits for approvals of those resident visas stretched to 15 months, and more than 500,000 applications became stuck in the pipeline, playing havoc with international moves and children’s schools and keeping families apart.

(emphasis added) In other words, Obama stole money from legal immigrants who played by the rules, and gave it to the illegal immigrants who benefitted from his DACA program.

If the House had approved Obama's $3.7 billion request for the border crisis he created, he could have just used that windfall to pay for his next unilateral amnesty.

But now that conservatives have blocked Obama's supplemental request, how will Obama pay for his next amnesty?

Cortney O'Brien - ‘Sharknado 2’ Takes Chainsaw to NYC Gun Control Policy
Posted: 7/31/2014 2:30:00 PM EST

I never thought I’d praise the filmmakers who brought us ‘Sharknado.’ But, according to the Twitterverse, ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One,’ which premiered Wednesday night on Syfy, took a much-needed jab at New York City’s anti-gun agenda.

To protect themselves from the sharks falling from the sky, the film's protagonists needed weapons. But, a character begrudgingly informed them, there were no gun shops in the city.

Try, if you can, to disregard the ridiculous plot and focus on the point: A machine gun would stop these sharks in their tracks a whole lot quicker than a chainsaw or a baseball bat.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo have been obsessed with wiping out firearms from both Manhattan and the state as a whole. Bloomberg spent millions to create an anti-NRA organization called EveryTown and Cuomo’s poorly named “SAFE Act” has prompted gun companies to flee the state and has essentially turned gun owners into criminals. What they ignore, however, is how guns have often proven to be life saving tools in desperate situations.

Katie recently wrote about Everytown’s new anti-gun ad which showed a woman being attacked by her ex-husband who was trying to take their child. Although the advertisement was trying to prove that we need to enforce more gun control, Katie pointed out that it inadvertently demonstrated how the victimized female could have actually protected herself if she had access to a gun in the home.

It’s not just these fictional characters upset with the Empire State's anti-gun policies. Actual New Yorkers have taken to the streets to give these politicians a piece of their mind. Their message? “Hands off our guns”.

Good to see Hollywood joining these freedom-loving New Yorkers and not being afraid to slam policies that aren’t working.

Click here to read some of last night's best pro-gun, anti-shark tweets.


Katie Pavlich - CIA to Senate Intelligence Committee: Hey, Sorry For Spying on You
Posted: 7/31/2014 2:25:00 PM EST

The NSA has been getting a whole lot of attention lately for it's spying techniques, but the CIA just stole the spotlight, even if just for a little while.

CIA Director John Brennen is apologizing for improper spying by CIA officials on Senators who sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee. More from the Associated Press:

CIA Director John Brennan is apologizing to Senate intelligence committee leaders after his inspector general found that CIA employees acted improperly when the CIA searched Senate computers earlier this year.

The controversy is centered on an investigation of the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks.


Chairwoman of the Committee Dianne Feinstein talked about spying allegations back in May. It is unclear if the Department of Justice will prosecute over the hacking.

Katie Pavlich - BREAKING: Border Security Bill Pulled, Won't Receive Vote Before August Recess
Posted: 7/31/2014 2:03:00 PM EST

House leadership has pulled a border security bill from the floor, which means it will not receive a vote before Congress goes on their August recess tomorrow. The bill was pulled due to a lack of support and the necessary vote threshold could not be met.

Here are details on what the bill would have done from Speaker Boehner's office:

-Makes changes to a 2008 law to expedite the return of unaccompanied minors to their home countries by treating Central American children the same as those from Mexico. President Obama and members of his administration have repeatedly called for such a change, characterizing it as a “bipartisan priority.”

-Prohibits the Interior and Agriculture secretaries from limiting the activities of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents on federal public lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Provides funding for National Guard troops at the southern border which, as Speaker Boehner noted in a letter to the president last month, are “uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises” and will “relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”

-Pares down the president’s $3.7 billion request to $659 million, which is fully offset by cuts and recessions to existing funds, and specifically targets all funding toward addressing the most immediate needs at the border.

-Provides additional resources for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP operations aimed at securing the border, increasing detention space, and expediting the processing and deportation of unaccompanied children and families.

-Increases the number of temporary immigration judges to enhance the capacity of the immigration court system, allowing the courts to process more cases and reduce the lengthy wait periods between detention and removal.

-Prioritizes repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador from within existing foreign aid funding to facilitate the return and reintegration of children in their home countries.

-Expresses the Sense of the Congress that unauthorized migrants should not be housed on military installations unless certain conditions are met.

Over on the Senate side, Republican Senators Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz have voiced loud opposition against the House bill.

Stay tuned for updates...

This post has been updated.

Matt Vespa - It's Over: Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Walker's Collective Bargaining Reforms
Posted: 7/31/2014 1:30:00 PM EST

He endured massive protests and a contentious 2012 recall election, but Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has been vindicated in his efforts to curb union power in the state. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld his collective bargaining reforms he enacted in 2011, ruling them constitutional (via Associated Press):

The fight over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's signature policy achievement, a law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public employees, ended Thursday with the state Supreme Court declaring it to be constitutional.

The 5-2 state Supreme Court ruling is another major victory for Walker as he heads into the statewide election. Federal courts twice said the law, which limits public workers to bargaining only over base wage increases no greater than inflation, constitutional.

"No matter the limitations or 'burdens' a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation," Justice Michael Gableman wrote for the court's conservative majority.

The law also requires public employees to contribute more toward their health insurance and pension costs, bars automatic withdrawals from members' paychecks and requires annual elections to see if members want their unions to go on representing them.

In a two-sentence statement issued Thursday, Walker praised the ruling and claimed the law has saved taxpayers more than $3 billion — mostly attributable to schools and local governments saving more money because of the higher contributions.

"Today's ruling is a victory for those hard-working taxpayers," Walker said.

Additionally, the Court upheld Wisconsin’s photo voter ID law, which was also passed in 2011.

It was challenged by the National Association for the Advancement Of Colored People (NAACP) and the League of Women Voters. The NAACP argued that the requirement wouldn’t protect the integrity of the elections and “severely burden a significant number of qualified voters,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The Journal noted that the League of Women Voters argued that photo Voter ID was an "elector qualification" that violated the state’s constitution. The court ruled 5-2 in the state's favor in the suit brought by the League of Women Voters and 4-3 in the NAACP case:

The rulings in two separate voter ID cases were released Thursday morning among several major decisions issued simultaneously.

The law already was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court judge in Milwaukee this spring, meaning that Thursday's rulings have no immediate effect. That federal court decision is under appeal.

The NAACP, Voces de la Frontera and others had argued in their case that the law was unconstitutional because it would severely burden a significant number of qualified voters and was not necessary to prevent fraud. And the League of Women Voters argued that requiring voter ID was an additional "elector qualification" beyond what was required by the state Constitution.

In the case brought by the League, the law was upheld on a 5-2 vote with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissenting.

In the NAACP case, the law was upheld on a 4-3 vote with Abrahmson, Bradley and justice Patrick Crooks dissenting.

In a scathing dissent in the League's case, Abrahamson wrote, "Today the court follows not James Madison -- for whom Wisconsin's capital city is named -- but rather Jim Crow -- the name typically used to refer to repressive laws used to restrict rights, including the right to vote, of African-Americans."

Again, this isn’t a poll tax, a literacy test, or anything resembling Jim Crow laws, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, Gov. Walker is in the fight for political life. It also didn’t help news media engaged in shoddy reporting and bias (shocker, right?) regarding Gov. Walker’s alleged illegal coordination with outside conservative groups during his recall election.

Partisan Democratic district attorneys, as reported by our own Guy Benson, executed the so-called “John Doe” investigations, which were subsequently gutted by the state and federal courts. But, the media got their hands on a rejected subpoena, so you know, scandal.

Not something you want disseminated in a statistical dead heat with your Democratic opponent, but key legal victories nonetheless.

Christine Rousselle - Bill Clinton Told Businessmen On 9/10/2001 That He Passed On Killing Osama Bin Laden
Posted: 7/31/2014 1:20:00 PM EST

Newly-discovered audio from a September 10, 2001 meeting in Melbourne confirms that former President Bill Clinton could have killed Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s, but chose not to do so as hundreds of civilians would have also been killed. The audio was forgotten about until recently and was released on Australian television on Wednesday.

Clinton was asked a question about international security, prompting his response about almost killing the head of Al-Qaeda. (emphasis added)

“And I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once,” Clinton is heard saying. “I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it.”

Hours later a terrorist attack organized by Bin Laden killed thousands of innocent men, women and children, fundamentally transformed the world as we know it and eventually led to two wars in the Middle East.

As my colleague Noah Rothman writes over at Hot Air, it's pretty fair to assume that Clinton would appreciate a do-over in this situation, but there are significant inconsistencies with Clinton's statement. Kandahar, for instance, isn't a small town—it's the second-largest city in the country.

Obviously, nobody in the room had any idea what was about to unfold in a few hours in New York, the District of Columbia, and in a field in Pennsylvania, but the world is still paying the price for Clinton's inaction in the mid-90s.

Matt Vespa - So, It Looks Like Warren Isn't Running For President
Posted: 7/31/2014 11:15:00 AM EST

At Netroots, RedState’s Dan Spencer and I looked on as Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rallied the troops with her pugnacious brand of liberal populism. “She scares me,” said Spencer as we left the main ballroom, noting her unabashedly progressive leanings. What scares me about Warren, besides her positions on policy, is how she's become where the Democratic base aligns today. So, does this mean a future 2016 candidacy?

No.

Last month, at a campaign stop for Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Warren said in the strongest terms possible, that she’s not running for president (via Boston Globe):

Warren has said she has no intention of running for president in 2016, which she reiterated in an interview (“I am not running for president. Do you want to put an exclamation point at the end of that?”).

Still, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote a good piece last April making the case for why 2016 is the time for Warren to run. Although, Warren’s donor base is warning her butt out of 2016 and let Hillary Clinton clinch the 2016 nomination; it’s her time, right? They’re also making it known that her candidacy could atomize the base. Then again, not everyone is ready for Hillary (via Daily Beast):

“If Elizabeth called me up and said, ‘I am thinking of running for president,’ I would say, ‘Elizabeth, are you out of your goddamn mind?’” said one New York-based donor who has hosted Warren in his living room. “I really like Elizabeth, but if Hillary is in the race it just makes no sense.”

This conversation was echoed again and again in more than a dozen interviews with big-ticket Democratic donors in Warren’s hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in cities that operate as ATMs for the Democratic money machine, like New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Over and over again, the message was the same: Stay in the Senate, Liz, stay in the Senate.

To be clear, the world of Warren-backers isn’t entirely ready for Hillary, and some are holding out hope that the Massachusetts senator joins the race.

“I think it would be very good if she were the nominee,” said Marc Weiss, a tech entrepreneur who helped fund a nascent Warren for Senate campaign soon after she announced. “She is closer to my views on almost every issue. I would be very enthusiastic if she decided to run.”

Well, it seems as if she has made her decision. Right now, she’s campaigning for her fellow Democrats across the country ahead of the 2014 midterms. That’s her focus, as indicated by the Burlington Free Press last month, where she delivered a few speeches in Vermont; consolidating her reputation as the point of the lance in this renewed populist resurgence.

Guy Benson - AP Poll: Immigration Becomes Hot Potato for Democrats
Posted: 7/31/2014 10:33:00 AM EST


A new national survey conducted by the Associated Press suggests that illegal immigration and the border crisis could be morphing into major political liabilities for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. Key take-aways:


(1) President Obama's approval/disapproval rating on the issue (considered "extremely" or "very" serious by 67 percent of voters) is underwater by...37 points:


ImmigrationPollApproval



(2)
Republicans are now more trusted on handling immigration policy, a 10-point swing since mid-May:


ImmigrationPollRvsD


(3)
By a nine-point margin (44/53), Americans say the United States government does not have a "moral obligation to offer asylum" to people who come here to "escape violence or political persecution in their home country." The public is split on whether minors who say they're "fleeing gang violence" should be treated as refugees -- with a small majority (46/52) saying "no." A similar majority (51 percent) agree with Republican efforts to change a 2008 law "so that all children entering the country illegally are treated the same as those from Mexico or Canada and can be sent back to their home countries" without a deportation hearing. Only 18 of respondents percent oppose this idea.


(4)
The favor/oppose gap on approving of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already in the country has narrowed to five points (51/46); it was 15 points in January (56/41).


Meanwhile, vulnerable Democrats are anxiously eyeing reports that President Obama is poised to expand his 2012 'DREAM Act'-style deportation delay decree to include millions of illegal immigrant adults. The former executive action has been cited as one of the primary drivers of the current unaccompanied minor crisis. The latter possibility would likely ramp up the amnesty rumor magnet. It would also enrage Republicans. But based on the numbers above, it might also offend much of the electorate, as well. Red and purple state Democrats are therefore urging restraint -- not because they're vigilant guardians of the rule of law, mind you, but because their political careers hang in the balance:


The Senate’s most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, caught in the crosscurrents of immigration reform, are urging President Barack Obama to show restraint in using his executive powers to slow deportations. Obama is locked between a progressive base demanding aggressive action and voters in conservative states that will decide the fate of the Senate and hold outsized importance in shaping the final two years of his presidency. The White House is weighing how far it can go, legally and politically, in delaying deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants. His decision will be announced just weeks before Election Day, and the timing is precarious for Democrats running in conservative states, where any reminder of their ties to the unpopular president is problematic — let alone for a decision as sweeping and controversial as what the White House is considering.


Obama himself has slapped down the idea that he has the legal authority to unilaterally overhaul the federal deportation regime via executive order. Watch how he responded to immigration activist hecklers last year:



"The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend that I can do something by violating our laws. What I'm proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic process."


The problem is that he sketched out a similar vision of self-restraint and adherence to the law prior to his 'DREAM' action: “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations [of immigrants brought here illegally as children] through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed," he asserted in March of 2011. The next year, he unilaterally imposed a policy of...suspending deportations for many immigrants brought here illegally as children through executive order. I'll leave you with a 'no new amnesty for illegal immigrant adults' monologue from, um, Ed Schultz?



Then again, Ed's been known to get in line and salute mighty abruptly in the past. Oh, one more thing. According to the AP poll, O's approval on immigration is (31/68). How's his overall number looking?