Published February 20, 2013
It is not difficult to know when the White House has gone a little too fast, too soon. As we could witness, they were in full damage control during the Sunday shows over the Saturday’s leaked immigration reform package that the White House had been working on.
Let’s be clear. Contrary to their denial, they intentionally leaked the documents as a trial balloon to see what response they would get; this is a standard practice of this White House. The leak was both intentional and deliberate, but they had to backpedal, because far from getting the support they were seeking, they got their hands slapped and slapped hard, from none other than Senator Marco Rubio.
Senator Rubio along with seven other senators, Democrat and Republican, have been working on a bipartisan reform that would have broader support than any one bill that would be advanced by the White house or a particular party. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the balloon exploded in the president’s face. So much so that he personally called the Republican senators yesterday late in the afternoon.
This latest and peculiar White House effort seemed more like a prank than a true desire to shepherd the factions to a common goal. I was left wondering why the president would jeopardize the delicate process these courageous senators are involved in. They have shown a serious and deep commitment to reaching a consensus between the two parties, knowing full well that any Senate agreement still has to go through full vetting and countless hurdles in the House of Representatives. It is by no means an easy task.
The White House chief of staff kept repeating that the president really supports the Senate bipartisan effort, but this meddling only distracted the senators from an already overwhelming task.
The White House said that they were working on their proposals just in case Congress fails to reach an agreement. Wow, what makes the president think that he can craft a proposal that will be agreeable to the two competing sides? Why, one asks, hasn't he done it in the last five years? But, if the president thought his current proposal did that, he must have been thoroughly disappointed in the response from Senator Rubio saying it was dead on arrival. It is not so much what the White House proposal addresses, but what it fails to address: short on border security, no guest worker program and no way to prevent future influxes of undocumented immigrants to name a few issues. No wonder Senator Rubio’s description of the President’s legislation was “half-baked and seriously flawed.”
There is a saying in Spanish that goes: “mucho ayuda el que no estorba” which translates to: "If you want to be helpful, stay out of the way." So, Mr. President, if you are serious about getting an immigration reform bill on your desk, then make sure you do not get in the way. Please do not send anymore trial balloons; instead cheer the senators’ efforts from afar and work with your special interests who you know full well will be opposing any compromise the senators reach.