I was out of town last week, and when this cute girl I was chatting with at the hotel asked me what I thought about the Fast & Furious controversy, I said I don’t really care for Vin Diesel.
OK, not really — but if this isn’t making sense to you so far, you should definitely keep reading.
The week’s big political developments:
1. Who gave guns to WHO? Alright, a few terms you may have seen around lately: Fast & Furious, Eric Holder, and executive privilege.
–> Basically: The federal government tried this program from 2006-2011 where they “walked” guns into Mexico, meaning they tracked them as they wound their way through the cartels, with the goal of arresting high-level traffickers.
–> The Bad News: Congressional Republicans have been looking into this, and claim this program is responsible for the deaths of at least 200 Mexicans, and one U.S. Border Patrol Agent. The latter was during the Fast & Furious operation, which occurred under the Obama Administration.
–> So Now: Congress has been demanding more documentation on all this from the administration, the House Oversight Committee voted to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, and when demands intensified this week, President Obama exercised executive privilege for the first time in his presidency. This gives him the right to say “Thanks but we’re not showing you internal White House documents.”
–> Historical perspective: Bill Clinton asserted executive privilege 14 times during his presidency, and 6 times for George W. Bush
2. Judgment Day: Thursday? This week the Supreme Court started issuing their rulings from this past term, and on Thursday many wondered if the two Big Ones would be announced: the Affordable Care Act, and the Arizona immigration law. But neither was announced, so we’ll get them either next Monday or Thursday. (I’d put my money on Thursday.)
–> How to sound in the know: Take a quick look at the severability clause. If the Court finds the individual mandate unconstitutional, the big question will be whether they take into account the lack of a severability clause in the original law, or in other words: will they throw the whole law out? (Which would be huge) Or will they send the law back to Congress intact, so they can rework it without the mandate? (The more expected outcome.)
3. The Immigration Pivot: Well this week President Obama decided to make the first round of election dialogue about immigration, by issuing an executive order saying the federal government will stop deportations of some young illegal immigrants.
–> Analysis: This must mean it’s an issue Obama thinks can give him an edge, i.e. increase his lead with Latino voters. (Cynical, right?) This is largely because Romney took such a hardline conservative stance during the primaries (google “self deportation” and you’ll get an idea), and also:
–> How to sound in the know: The states considered to be the big swing states in November? Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, AKA states with fast-growing Latino populations.
Have a great week, and just remember: Vin Diesel has not been relevant in many many years, so don’t bring him up on a date unless you think you’re being clever. (And even then…)