Eye on November

Mark McKinnon on Obama’s Late, But Correct, Immigration Announcement

While the president was late to speak out on immigration reform, he wasn’t wrong, Mark McKinnon writes.

Nick Ut / AP Photo

The first sign President Obama's bold immigration move was a winner was when his announcement was followed by almost a day of silence from the Romney campaign. Obama's offensive caught the Romney camp completely by surprise and left them flat-footed and slack jawed.

The second sign was when Mitt Romney's response was simply pointing to his Hispanic shield, Marco Rubio, and saying, "Yeah, what he said."

The third sign, what Rubio said and Romney echoed, as best I can interpret, was, "Yeah, well, it's a policy for sure. It definitely addresses a real problem. But it's not a long-term solution. Blah. Blah. Blah." Meaning, yes, it works, it's really a pretty good idea, and we don't really have an answer or a response except to say, "We should do more. But, we're not saying what that it is."

Obama has done it again. First he did it with gay marriage. Now with immigration. I personally don't care if it was political, I'm glad he's doing the right thing.

It is, however, unfortunate that the president did not address both of these issues earlier in his term so they weren't viewed through the prism of presidential reelection politics. Would have been nice for him to do all of this in say, 2009 or 2010, because it's the right thing to do. Leadership means more than just warming the chair in the Oval Office.

But let's eliminate the benefit of any doubt and consider that Obama made this move for purely political reasons. Again, I don't really care. But, in a race in which the headwinds of the master narrative of the economy may just be too strong to navigate directly, by all means tack into the constituent breezes that blow wherever they may be.

It's typical of the Democratic approach. Rather than creating a tidal wave that carries everyone, as Republicans generally do when they win, throw a thousand rocks and create a million ripples. Pick 'em off one by one. And, who knows, between Team Obama's supernova data mining and demographic slicing and dicing and the president's targeted-constituency executive orders, maybe that will be enough to claw their way to 50.1 percent of the vote.

When the battleground states include Hispanic-heavy New Mexico (46 percent), Nevada (27 percent), Florida (23 percent), and Colorado (21 percent), and the much-sought-after Virginia (8 percent) and North Carolina (8 percent), Obama may have made a cold but clear-eyed political calculation. Whatever it takes to get to the magic number.

This week Latinos across America, who were once unhappy with Obama's deportation policy, are saluting the commander in chief.

One thing's for certain: Team Obama will leave no demographic stone unturned.