I have talked off the record to some aides to tea-party Republicans in the House, who say that they are getting a lot of push from their activist voters to impeach the president. They, like their leaders, know how catastrophic that would be for Republicans heading into 2016 and will do what they can to head off any such move by hotheads. But if we assume that the president, determined to enhance and extend his legacy, implements major executive orders on immigration and climate change, there will be howls of outrage from the base and many lawmakers, and the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Erick Erickson, and Laura Ingraham will not be holding them back.
I'm no fan of presidential fiats. They gut the integrity of the check-and-balance system; they deprive the body politic of its representative voices in Congress (often deranged voices, to be sure, but legitimately elected all the same); and they expand the imperial presidency to responsible and reckless presidents both.
The countervailing argument for Obama's unilateral action on, say, immigration, is, in effect, What's the poor man to do? Reckless Congresses have held up his responsible agenda for four years, and another two years of inaction (if not more, under the next Democratic president) on such an urgent matter are simply intolerable. I appreciate this argument and it has its merits, still I'm of the belief that S.O.P. is, in the long run, always preferable, in that it lends to greater political stability.
Having said that, I would nonetheless love to see Obama stick it to a Republican-controlled Congress by shoveling executive orders out the White House door, just as fast as he can sign them. I wouldn't approve, but I'd love it. The GOP base's "howls of outrage" would be deafening and the "hotheads'" impeachment hand would be forced. If fact, Boehner's would be, too. Once again he'd be confronted with taking his party down a blind, ominous, and self-destructive alley.
Of course there is a way for all this to be avoided. Republicans could grow up and actually do their job of legislating ...
OK, you're right, strike that. It's unavoidable.