The Morning Joe must-read opinion pages for Thursday, June 20
OBAMACARE TRAIL OF TEARS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
On Wednesday the auditors at the Government Accountability Office released the results of two investigations and optimistically conclude that it “cannot yet be determined” if ObamaCare will be ready for enrollment a mere four months from now. The GAO’s detailed portrait of blown deadlines, regulatory improvisation and general chaos explains why HHS has been anti-transparent. … If HHS had any appreciation for basic accountability it would release the facts itself instead of going dark and running ObamaCare as a black-ops mission.
THE BORDER SECURITY RUSE
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The immigration debate has turned once again to “securing the border,”… Here’s the real story: For some Republicans, border security has become a ruse to kill reform. The border could be defended by the 10th Mountain Division and Claymore antipersonnel mines and it wouldn’t be secure enough. … The value of all of this additional border spending is probably marginal, and at some point it becomes offensive to U.S. values of freedom and human dignity. We doubt many Americans would support anything like the police-state measures that would be required to reduce illegal immigration to near-zero as the restrictionist right wants as the price of reform. The real game here is to kill a bill that would create a more pro-growth and humane immigration system for America… If the right succeeds in blowing all this up, one wonders what comes next? Perhaps Republicans can campaign in 2014 on self-deporting the 11 million illegals who are here now. That worked so well for Mitt Romney.
TEA PARTY SCALDS MARCO RUBIO
The speed with which the tea party turned on Rubio is stunning, beginning earlier this year with complaints from conservative commentators and now open mockery at a Capitol Hill rally. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared this week that the House won’t take up an immigration bill that doesn’t have majority support in the Republican caucus, which means the “Gang of Eight” Senate bill that Rubio sponsored wouldn’t get a vote.
FENCE-SITTING REPUBLICANS NEED TO CHOOSE SIDES ON IMMIGRATION
Changes that so complicate a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as to render it meaningless are (and should be) unacceptable to supporters of reform, including most Democrats. But if the GOP senators accept something short of this, they will face furious attacks from the hard-core opponents of any move toward large-scale naturalization of those who came here illegally. In the end, there is no way around their dilemma. If they want a bill, they will have to take political risks.
OBAMA WANTS ASSAD TO GO, BUT NOT TOO SOON
The Obama policy on Syria isn’t quite as feckless as it may look. But it has the fundamental flaw of past covert-action programs, which is that the United States is seeking a decisive political change through proxy forces that have limited power and popular support — and could easily be overwhelmed by others who have a stronger ideological or religious motivation. It’s not an accident that the jihadists have been the best fighters among the rebels: They’re the most passionate about their cause.
JAMES GANDOLFINI OF ‘THE SOPRANOS’: AN APPRECIATION
Despite the fine performances of many TV actors who’ve followed in Gandolfini’s footsteps, it’s entirely possible that his performance as Tony Soprano will never be equaled. I am sure I speak for many “Sopranos” fans when I say that I’m grateful for the rich mystery and deep humanity that grounded Tony. That hangdog guy did a lot of bad things, but we were always on his side, somehow. Well, perhaps not on his side, precisely; his capacity for violence, murder and self-pity could be hard to take. Still, Tony was always fascinating, and it was impossible to look away from the big galoot, in part because Gandolfini showed us that Tony’s selfishness and despair and sense of humor weren’t so different from our own.