Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Syrian Shutdown, Con't

The indispensable Steve M. plays devil's advocate and predicts the Obama administration will ultimately lose on Syrian refugees, much like closing Gitmo has led to numerous attempts by Democrats in Congress to stab Obama in the front, much less the back.

And if this can't be legally blocked by governors, the courts, or a Republican Congress, I'm predicting raw George Wallace-style resistance by the governments of the Southern states especially -- or, perhaps, confrontations involving angry True Patriots with AR-15s. As I've said before, I lived through busing in Boston. I know how ugly this sort of thing can get if at least some of the people holding government power reject the rule of law.

We've been through this sort of thing before in the Obama years. The president wanted to close Guantanamo, send some of the detainees to stateside penal facilities, and conduct trials in New York City. The backlash was fierce, and no one had his back -- and please recall that this was in 2009 and early 2010, when his party had large majorities in Congress. (The mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, who'd endorsed Obama in 2008, ultimately stabbed him in the back on this.)

When Obama's opponents have an ideal opportunity to prey on voters' fears, they'll do it, relentlessly. So this is going to be a losing battle for the White House.

I have to say that given the history of Democratic cowardice and Republican hatred, I suspect that a bill to either defund Syrian refugee relocation or giving Congress authority to vote in a moratorium on refugees from Country X will pass with veto-proof margins or as part of must-pass budget legislation and that Democrats will come to the White House and tell the President that the battle is over for this reason:

Yes, there are a lot of red states on that list. But there are also a lot of states that are generally counted as unswervingly Democratic in presidential elections (Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin), plus a couple that are regarded as tossups but were won by Barack Obama twice (Florida, New Hampshire). I know the president won't be on the ballot in 2016, but his first secretary of state probably will be. 

This is going to go like Gitmo.  President Obama will continue to fight for the right thing, but by the time November 2016 rolls around, you won't find a Democrat outside of the few remaining safe blue states who will back him.

Republicans win completely when assisted by Democratic fear and cowardice, and nothing makes that happen faster than America's virulent Islamophobia stoked by the right and enabled on the left. We know how this ends: why didn't Obama keep his promise? He failed us.

And Congress will escape blame once again.  I don't want to admit it, but in the end we're not much different than we were in November 2001. Greg Sargent:

A major new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests these GOP lawmakers and candidates may be reading the mood of the overall public — and GOP voters in particular — with dispiriting accuracy. 
The poll finds that Americans overall agree by 56-41 that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and the American way of life. Meanwhile, Americans are almost perfectly split on the value of immigration: 47 percent say immigrants strengthen the country with hard work and talent, while a depressingly high 46 percent say they are a burden on the U.S. because they take jobs, housing and health care. The CEO of PRRI tells religion writer Sarah Posner that the findings show an “increased xenophobic streak” among the American public overall.

We have learned nothing in 14 years.

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