FLASHBACK: Why Conservatives Should Stop Complaining About Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

November 17, 2014

Time for a reality check. Conservatives are up in arms about Obama's proposal to effectively legalize millions of illegal immigrants through executive action, despite his party's overwhelming losses in this year's midterms. However, a quick search of the New York Times archives has exposed them for the hypocrites they are. Reprinted with permission.

Nov. 17, 2006

WASHINGTON—President George W. Bush is preparing to roll out a series of executive actions in response to the midterm elections, in which millions of Americans who supported his reelection in 2004 declined to vote. White House aides said the president’s actions would be designed to restore these individuals' faith in the democratic process—an effort to remind non-voters that "political engagement is worth the effort."

One of the first items on the president’s agenda is using his fiduciary discretion to establish private individual retirement accounts in lieu of Social Security. Bush told reporters in a post-election press conference that he simply couldn’t wait for Congress to act, noting that in 1964 more than 27 million Americans voted for Barry Goldwater, a prominent advocate of Social Security privatization. "To those Goldwater voters, and the millions who chose not to participate in the process this year: I hear you, too," Bush said.

The Democratic Congress is unlikely to support these actions, but Bush dismissed such concerns as "natural." "I'm pretty sure I'll take some actions that some in Congress will not like," he said. "That's how our democracy works."

Bush also hinted that he would soon promote Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the rank of brigadier general, citing the 2004 election results as a vote of confidence in Rumsfeld’s leadership. "I’m the decider," Bush said. "I’m the guy who’s elected by everybody, not just from a particular state or a particular district."

The move is likely to anger left-wing activists, who have seized on the release of years-old footage showing Rumsfeld explaining to a group of neocon academics and Halliburton executive how the Bush administration exploited "the stupidity of the American voter" to sell the Iraq War.

The Bush administration may be open to compromise on some issues, such as immigration reform. The president suggested that, given this year’s election results, he would no longer pursue a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would legalize millions of illegal immigrants.

"The people have spoken," Bush said, referencing the concerns of Democrats and labor unions regarding the effect immigration reform would have on low-wage, working class Americans.

Bush explained that he was particularly moved by a passage in "Audacity of Hope," a memoir written by Senator Barack Obama (D., Ill.), in which the author argued that increased immigration "threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net."

Bush concluded the press conference by congratulating Obama on the publication of the memoir, adding that he hoped the Senator-elect would rethink his outspoken opposition to executive authority.