The question on the lips of many Great Thinkers in Your Nation's Capital yesterday was: Why did President Obama make that immigration reform speech?
Here's a rule you should write down:
Campaign promises are like parking tickets. The longer you take to pay them off, the more expensive they become.
-- Rich Galen
I put that "-- Rich Galen" thing in there so that when you steal it, you get the slightest hint, of the smallest twinge, of the briefest inkling that you should cite me. I know you won't, but I want you to pay a price. However small.
During his campaign for President, Barack Obama promised a lot of things to a lot of people. He promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay. He promised to get out of Iraq. He promised to part the Red Sea.
Ok, I made that last one up. But here's one of Obama's campaign promises:
"Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill."
In November 2008 the unemployment rate was only 6.7 percent. As we look back from today's rate of 9.7 percent - NOTE: this is being written at about 10 PM on Thursday, July 1. The June unemployment figures will be released at 8:30 AM Friday morning - there are 15 million Americans who are unemployed.
To make the math easier, let's pretend the unemployment rate is 10 percent; 1.5 million per percentage point.
At an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent there were about 9.75 million unemployed. The Obama geniuses must not have contemplated an additional 5.25 million Americans looking for work on their watch.
But, the reality is 15 million people are looking for work and there is nothing the Administration has proposed which is dealing with that.
So, why talk about immigration? To change the conversation.
Away from economic news:
The Dow is down 695.52 for the year or 6.7 percent.
The S&P is down 87.73, or 7.9 percent.
The Nasdaq is down 167.79, or 7.4 percent.
Unemployment is at 9.7 percent.
Afghanistan, because of the McChrystal unpleasantness, is back on the front pages.
Ten Russian spies were arrested in the U.S.
The G-20 was an abject failure for the President of All the World
The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues unabated.
Senator Robert Byrd's death makes the Financial Reform Bill unlikely to pass in the Senate.
The problem with bringing immigration up right now is the 70-or-so Democrats running for re-election in behaviorally Republican or swing Congressional districts do not want to talk about immigration in the Democratic cloak room, much less spend the July 4th recess at home talking about it.
Most Americans, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, disapprove of the way the President is handling immigration (51-39 disapprove)
It leads me to believe that Barack Obama and his highly skilled political team in the White House have decided that the U.S. House is lost this November.
If that is the case, then Obama must turn his attention to defending himself against whatever Republican ends up running against him in 2012 and, therefore, has to begin to change the narrative to how much he has done, how good he has been, how much people should return to the promises of the 2008 campaign and ignore the facts.
It will take a couple of weeks for this reality to sink in to the Democratic House Caucus - that Obama has thrown them over the side of the ship of state for his own purposes - but when they do it is likely to be ugly.
Obama is going to spend the next two years attempting to rebuild the coalition which elected him in 2008. If it costs Democrats their seats in the House and Senate, so be it.
Obama has conceded defeat in November. He now knows he is likely to lose the House.