The Washington Post editorial page presented what would seem like a scary scenario for the left.
“It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare,” the editorial board said Monday night. “The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program. It is a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Cruz explains; tax cheats are defrauding the government of billions, and he wants the IRS to concentrate on them. Of course, he is willing to modify his order as soon as Congress agrees to fix what he considers a ‘broken’ health system.”
This “captures the unilateral spirit” of President Barack Obama’s coming executive action on immigration, the Post said. Reports say action Obama plans to take could bestow legal status on about 5 million illegal immigrants.
The generally liberal-leaning editorial board noted that Obama also took unilateral action on climate change and may take such action on an Iranian nuclear deal, but quoted the president for previously opposing unilateral action.
“Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting,” Obama said three years ago. “Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
The Post was clear: “We favor immigration reform, including a path to legal status for the 11 million foreigners in the country without valid papers. Congress should have acted on this long ago. We also understand that the president has broad authority in this area, which he exercised in 2012 to pardon young people who had been brought here as children.”
The editorial concluded: “Mr. Obama may find a constitutional way to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. But in his frustration with democracy, he is likely to prove his point: Unilateralism will not make the system work.”