I would like to take a moment to appreciate a great politician in America today. Coming from a small town in nowhere South Carolina, he was a man without a pedigree that still made himself into a powerhouse.
His name, of course, is Frank Underwood and he is entirely fictional. Though the man may not be real, the ideas he represents are. Those ideas are of ruthless leadership, cold realism and, most importantly, determination. What I find great about Frank as a character, and “House of Cards” in general, is that he is painted as a hero while being a SOB. He breaks his colleagues, strong arms others, and in general gets his way. And while I watch him do it, I find myself rooting for him. I, and I am sure many others, am rooting for a bully — a tyrant.
The truth in all of this is that people love action. People want a leader, someone who will take action when others do not. People want Frank Underwood, a notion that I think President Obama has learned. Since the last article I wrote, the president has taken action while others have faltered. He took action on immigration, created a plan that would educate millions, and sought to break the status quo in Cuba and reestablished relations. In each incidence he acted unilaterally, and many people loved it.
Back in November, just before taking executive action on immigration, President Obama was enjoying an approval rating around 40 percent. Now, he enjoys an approval rating that hovers around 50 percent. People like action, and he took it. Since that November executive action, Republican leaders have had to cobble together a response. It took awhile, but they finally decided that President Obama was going well beyond his powers as President by giving illegals what they called “amnesty.” Of course the response totally ignores the facts, such as the fact that what President Obama is doing is using prosecutorial discretion at a national level. It also ignores that both the Department of Justice as well as the White House legal counsel find his executive action perfectly within his powers as the Head Executor.
But I digress, because what is really important is that Republicans have only spoken, not acted. Sure, they passed a “cromnibus” package that funded many parts of the government, but the party leadership had to carve off a piece for their conservative members, funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Since Obama’s executive action deals with the Department of Homeland Security, conservatives have targeted the agency to vent their frustrations about his action. The issue came to a head this last Friday when a measure to fund the DHS failed to pass the far-more-conservative house. In the end, this only hurts the Republican party because it is showing that the party cannot act — that it can’t govern. The Republican Party is only hurting itself by not acting as one, cohesive party because it demonstrates ineptitude, indecisiveness and inaction. Frank would be disappointed.