With two years to go, President Obama faces a grim landscape.
Under him, his party has now lost both houses of Congress, a majority of governorships and an historic number of state legislatures. For the first time in years, Republicans are viewed more favorably than Democrats, and Mr. Obama's signature achievement, ObamaCare, has just hit its lowest approval rating yet. But he now seems bent on ignoring all this and ploughing ahead with a plan of dubious constitutionality to spare millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
It would seem an utterly reckless course, but the president may be betting that he can goad Republicans into such an extravagant overreaction that he ends up coming out ahead. Impeachment would surely backfire on Republicans, as it did with the Clinton impeachment. So, in all likelihood, would trying to defund the Obama order. After all, how much money does it take not to deport people. And if such a defund measure were written into a bill to finance the government, it would almost certainly run into a Senate filibuster or an Obama veto, and that could trigger a government shutdown. Democrats would be to blame, but previous history suggests two things -- people would hate the shutdown and blame the Republicans.
So Republicans would be smart to look very closely at what Obama orders to see if it actually makes any real difference. If not, he might just be setting a trap for them.