The Democrats have a plan, according to Marc Ambinder:
Go big on immigration [through Obama’s executive action]. Wait for the GOP counter-reaction. Quietly pray for the government to get shut down. Use it like a cattle prod to wake voters up just before the midterms.
At the same time we hear that Democrats in Congress are spooked by Obama’s threat of amnesty through his pen and phone, because they feel it threatens their election prospects.
The two sound contradictory, but not necessarily. The fear of the Democrats that it would hurt their chances doesn’t take into account a possible Republican reaction to shut down the government. Those who believe that would happen are more sanguine, because they remember that such an action was largely unpopular the last time Republicans tried it.
So, how Democrats feel about it depends on what they think Republicans will do in return. Will they try to shut things down, or won’t they?
And remember all that “Republicans want to impeach Obama” talk just a little while back? It was predicated on the same idea: that Republicans might be provoked into impeaching Obama before the midterms, with no real chance of conviction, a series of acts which the American people would not favor. Or, next best thing, the public could be talked into thinking the Republicans want to do it, and that would engender a voter backlash against them, too.
A more callous, manipulative, hypocritical set of actions on the part of Democrats could hardly be imagined (actually, it can, but I’m using hyperbole). But even if they do manage to provoke another shutdown attempt, I’m not sure it would work the same way it did last time.
The reason is that this issue is huge, and Americans are energized about it more than about most other issues. They do not want Obama to do this. This is not only because they do not want amnesty given to these people in the current climate of border overrun and terrorist resurgence, but also that quite a few people (even, perhaps, some low information voters) are aware that the issue of amnesty for illegals has been debated for decades in Congress, and they might get a trifle riled up at Obama’s trying to do this all by his lonesome.
Obama and the Democrats would be bargaining that people want the issue resolved, and are fed up with Congress not “fixing” it in all this time, and therefore wouldn’t care about Obama’s power-grab because he would finally be solving the problem. But that completely ignores the fact that he would be “solving” it in the opposite direction from what the majority of people would like (see this and this).
It’s as though you’ve brought an ill relative to the emergency room. The staff there is making you wait much too long, and you’re getting angry. You want to see your relative get some treatment. Then a doctor comes along and says, “I’ll fix it!”, grabs your relative by the arm, twists it, and then takes out a gun and shoots him dead. It’s an action and a solution, all right, but not the one you were looking for.