Interestingly enough, over the past couple of weeks, there have been two pretty big stories where each party has accused the other one of engaging in politically motivated activity. First, you have Republicans voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents regarding the botched “Fast and Furious” operation. Second, you have President Obama announcing tweaks to the immigration policy that will defer action on young people who were brought over as kids, are in school or have graduated from school, and have no criminal record.
So are Republicans politically motivated to vote Eric Holder in contempt? Of course they are! I do think they are more interested in embarrassing the Obama administration than finding out the truth. But the fact of the matter is that something rotten happened during the course of this operation, a border agent is dead, and it DOES deserve to be investigated and the Obama administration IS making that difficult. That doesn’t mean I think there is some grand conspiracy behind all of this. But when something goes wrong with the activities our government engages in, the public does deserve to know what the problems were and corrective action should be taken. I know Presidents don’t like it when Congress do these investigations, but that is part of the check and balance system we have. Sorry.
Is President Obama politically motivated to tweak the immigration policy? Of course he is! This was an action certain to shore up the Latino voting block and it is no coincidence he decided to take that action now in an election year. And certainly not everyone will agree with his decision. But at least it is some action on an issue that for the most part everyone refuses to address. From an allocation of resources perspective, it makes sense that young people who have been brought over here as kids and have done everything right should not receive top priority for deportation. Republicans are trying to push the idea that this will somehow prevent Congress from passing a more comprehensive and permanent solution, but how this action does that is unclear to me.
So yes, these are politically motivated actions. But to be politically motivated, there must be some political advantage to be gain. Often the political advantage is simply created by popularity. And sometimes popular actions are popular because they also happen to be right.