In the last two weeks – coinciding with the results of the recent midterm elections – Republicans throughout the United States have been succumbing to an apparently communicable disease for which no cure or vaccine exist. It has reached epidemic proportions.
The virus, known formally as “Obama Derangement Syndrome”, or “Obola” started out with small outbreaks in the darkest corners of the right wing online and radio media. The incubation period seems to have been equal in time to the duration within which the Republicans did not hold majorities in both houses of Congress – now that they’ve taken a simple Senate majority, Obola has spread like wildfire.
No quarantine or travel ban is possible to halt the spread of this outbreak.
One of the symptoms of Obola is “impeachment”. Sufferers lurch uncontrollably from microphone to microphone, threatening the President with impeachment. Impeachment was once an exceedingly rare phenomenon, but has now become a political tactic for out-of-power Republicans to criminalize the Democratic Party. Justification for impeachment used to be, “high crimes and misdemeanors”, as the Constitution requires. Obola sufferers, like the victims of Clintonitis before them, re-interpret impeachment to put the President on trial for, “things I don’t like”.
How do you know if you suffer from Obola?
1. You think the attack on Benghazi was caused by, or failed to be prevented by, President Obama.
The attack on the Benghazi consular compound by terrorists was a tragedy that killed 4 Americans, but President Obama didn’t cause it, and neither did clumsy explanations on Sunday shows. Answers given on “Meet the Press” are not under oath, are not testimony, and are not undertaken in a courtroom setting. No high crime nor misdemeanor occurred.
2. You’re a Birther.
If you think that Obama has a Social Security number issued in Connecticut in the 1940s; if you think that Obama became an Indonesian citizen; if you think that Obama was born in Kenya; if you think that Obama is, for any reason, not a “natural born citizen” as defined by contemporary law; if you think that the Birtherist movement was somehow an important civic conversation, then you suffer from this disease and should see your doctor immediately.
In just the last two weeks, this:
Both of these characters are well-known Obola victims, but these idiotic and ignorant statements reveal an acute worsening of the disease. “Net Neutrality” is simply a policy whereby internet service providers will be prohibited from favoring some internet traffic over others. For instance, with net neutrality, it would be illegal for Time Warner Cable to favor streaming video from Hulu over Netflix. It is not “Obamacare for the Internet” or “for the wealthy and powerful”. It’s simply a consumer protection initiative to make sure that you get to use the internet for which you pay for whatever purpose you want, without interference from your ISP. But because President Obama has come out strongly in favor of net neutrality, Obola sufferers are reacting quite predictably and typically – if Obama is for it, they must be against it.
4. Immigration Hysterics
President Obama is poised to sign an executive order effectively legalizing the residency and work status of millions of undocumented immigrants. This is always controversial, but in this particular instance, (from the New York Times):
Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.
If you talk the “family values” talk, you should walk the “family values” walk. If you are in favor of deporting the immediate family of natural born and legal American citizens and residents, then you’re not for “family values”. If you’re upset that people arrived here improperly, there are certainly penalties less punitive than deportation.
That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces.
Mr. Obama’s actions will also expand opportunities for immigrants who have high-tech skills, shift extra security resources to the nation’s southern border, revamp a controversial immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities, and provide clearer guidance to the agencies that enforce immigration laws about who should be a low priority for deportation, especially those with strong family ties and no serious criminal history.
Leave the low-risk people who have skills and aren’t criminals alone, and re-focus limited federal resources on preventing more undocumented immigrants from illegally crossing the border.
A new enforcement memorandum, which will direct the actions of Border Patrol agents and judges at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and other federal law enforcement and judicial agencies, will make clear that deportations should still proceed for convicted criminals, foreigners who pose national security risks and recent border crossers, officials said.
The affected beneficiaries will have had to establish that they are longstanding, law-abiding members of their communities.
Officials said one of the primary considerations for the president has been to take actions that can withstand the legal challenges that they expect will come quickly from Republicans. A senior administration official said lawyers had been working for months to make sure the president’s proposal would be “legally unassailable” when he presented it.
Most of the major elements of the president’s plan are based on longstanding legal precedents that give the executive branch the right to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in how it enforces the laws. That was the basis of a 2012 decision to protect from deportation the so-called Dreamers, who came to the United States as young children. The new announcement will be based on a similar legal theory, officials said.
The reaction from Obola victims has been swift and predictable: IMPEACH! (Ross Douthat in the NY Times, Mark Levin, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and others. But this sort of prosecutorial discretion is well within the powers of the Presidency, as set forth in this letter, and given the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which effectively allows the executive to prioritize who gets deported and who doesn’t. DACA came out in 2012, and no legal challenge has been successful. The Administration’s executive actions on immigration, in part a response to Congressional inaction, appears to be perfectly within Presidential authority.
Way back in 1986, Republicans and President Ronald Reagan introduced and signed, respectively, a law that granted amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants who met certain requirements. More than anything else, requiring our immigration law enforcement agencies to hunt down and deport law-abiding, long-term undocumented immigrants is a waste of resources.
Now, Republicans can’t get out of their own way as they pander to, or are driven by, the extreme right wing of their party, so immigration reform has not taken place. Part of this is due to an acute symptom of Obola – making sure Obama cannot succeed, country be damned.
Make no mistake: impeachment is not a winning strategy, and is not an expression of strength.
5. “Obama is a Dictator”; “Rules By Fiat”
If you utter or believe either of the above, then you’re in the deepest throes of Obola and you should seek immediate treatment. President Obama’s use of Executive Orders has been one of the most modest in recent history.
By any metric, President Obama’s use of Executive Orders has been less than that of his recent predecessors.
If you or someone you love is suffering from acute Obola, please seek professional help immediately.