By Carole on Sep 28, 2011
Last weekend President Barack Obama told African Americans to "Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'." Today at a White House roundtable targeting Hispanic voters, the president did some complaining and grumbling of his own. Responding to questions about his failure to deliver the comprehensive immigration reform he promised, Mr. Obama said "This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true."
So desperate was the president to, as usual, blame others for his failure that he almost complimented his favorite scapegoat, "Only a few years ago, you had some Republicans who recognized that we needed to fix our immigration system," he said, noting that his predecessor, George W. Bush, was a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform. "Right now you do not have that kind of leadership coming from the Republican party."
But the failure of leadership here is his. Over a year ago, immigration advocates who meet regularly with White House officials said the Obama administration had been considering several approaches to the problem including convening a summit meeting and putting forward its own bill. But the White House never settled on a course of action.
At that time, Deepak Bhargava, executive director of one an advocacy group said, "The critical ingredient for whether we get immigration reform done this year will be whether the president has the courage to step forward and lead." He didn't.
This is a prime example of why in his speech last night New Jersey Governor Christie referred to Mr. Obama as "a bystander in the Oval Office" and mentioned "the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things."
In 2008, Candidate Obama promised to take up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office. Now in the third year of his administration, many Hispanic voters who supported him in part due to that promise are still waiting. And when they dare to question him about his failure to deliver, he adopts an increasingly frequent attitude of weakness and frustration.
While it's true that he cannot "just change the laws unilaterally," he can set aside his career-long practice of 'voting president' and take the lead on this and many other issues. But it seems 'Yes We Can' has morphed into 'No I Won't' and more and more Americans have noticed.
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