- - Wednesday, September 24, 2014


What’s up President Obama’s sleeve? We won’t know for sure until after the midterms, when he’ll be beyond political consequences. But Joe Biden’s loose lips have given us a preview of the lyrics of the president’s swan song.

“I can tell you when this election [is] over,” the veep told a gathering of Hispanics on Monday, that congressional Republicans “will see some lightning” if they don’t first “see the Lord” and act on immigration reform. Mr. Biden ominously added that Mr. Obama would take “an awful lot” of unspecified action on his own. “Awful” no doubt being the operative word.

Two days earlier, a group of 22 Republican lawmakers wrote to Mr. Obama challenging him to make good on his promise to preside over the most transparent administration in history by spelling out his amnesty plan to the nation. “Americans should be given the chance,” they said, “to come to their own conclusions … [so] they can exercise their constitutional right to petition the federal government and let you know their opinions.”

The letter was signed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Reps. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa, among others. “The least the Administration can do is give Americans the opportunity to see the recommendations that you are considering before you take any actions,” they said, citing schemes now in the hatchery of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.

It might take a Freedom of Information Act request to pry that information out of the administration, but Sally Buzbee, Washington bureau chief of The Associated Press, observes that even that may not succeed. Such requests are “routinely forwarded to political appointees” skilled in sitting on unpleasant things.

Ms. Buzbee lamented this, outlining eight ways “the Obama administration is blocking information,” ranging from barring photographs and video footage of bombers taking off for targets in the Islamic State to excluding reporters and photographers from President Obama’s meetings with foreign leaders abroad, handing out self-serving official versions and photographs instead.

What Mr. Obama could do in his final two years to leave a favorable legacy is to make good on his campaign promise of transparency and end the intimidation of the press by himself and his subordinates. What better way to demonstrate the new commitment than by disclosing his plans before Nov. 4? Many voters might pull a different lever knowing the president’s party is set on making legal residents and eventually citizens and voters of everyone who steals across the border. He should leave the surprises for magic shows and birthday parties for the kiddies.

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