WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) listens to questions during a press conference February 26, 2013 in Washington, DC....
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Boehner’s lazy mendacity on immigration

What’s worse, the fact that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) won’t allow the House to vote on a popular, bipartisan immigration reform bill, or that he’s so brazen in trying to avoid responsibility for his actions?
House Speaker John Boehner blames President Barack Obama for Congress’s inability to pass an immigration reform bill, saying that it’s a lack of trust in the president that keeps members of the GOP from getting it done.
“The American people want us to deal with immigration reform,” Boehner said on Fox News’s “Kelly File” on Monday. “I’ve tried to get the House to move on this now for the last 15 or 16 months. But every time the president ignores the law, like the 38 times he has on Obamacare, our members look up and go, ‘Wait a minute: You can’t have immigration reform without strong border security and internal enforcement, how can we trust the president to actually obey the law and enforce the law that we would write?’
This is a great example of what Jonathan Bernstein calls “lazy mendacity.” Boehner’s comments are demonstrably wrong, but just as important is the fact that the Speaker apparently can’t be bothered to come up with half-way credible falsehoods.
As Boehner must realize, President Obama hasn’t “ignored the law” while implementing the Affordable Care Act. He’s occasionally had to move deadlines, but (a) that’s legal; and (b) Boehner didn’t whine when Bush/Cheney did the exact same thing.
For that matter, to say House Republicans won’t approve immigration reform because they don’t trust the White House to faithfully executive federal law is a tired canard that was discredited months ago. Indeed, Democrats offered to delay implementation of reform until 2017 – after Obama left office – and Republicans still refused.
I can appreciate good spin as much as the next guy, but Boehner’s rhetoric is just sad. Lying to cover one’s butt is common, but it’s not too much to ask that high-profile figures put a little effort into it.
He’s “tried to get the House to move on this”? The weak House Speaker doesn’t even have to try that hard – he can bring the bipartisan Senate compromise to the floor, or he can work on an alternative solution. But blaming the rascally president for making Republicans feel bad is a joke.
Wait it gets worse.
Obama has been pressured by Democrats to use executive powers to slow deportations and make de facto reforms to immigration, something Boehner warned would derail any efforts entirely.
“That will make it almost impossible to ever do immigration reform, because he will spoil the well to the point where no one will trust him by giving him a new law that he will implement the way the Congress intended,” Boehner said.
Got that? Boehner doesn’t want to act on immigration reform and he doesn’t want Obama to act unilaterally on immigration reform – because that would make it “almost impossible” for Boehner to do what he doesn’t seem willing to do anyway.
There may be people who find the Speaker’s position persuasive. I just don’t know why.