Well, it was pretty much what we were expecting. The speech could largely have been the same one given countless times by other Administration officials not just from this White House but from the last one as well. The difference is that in the past, there was some reason to believe that the President could actually achieve something. Not today.


If anything, I'm more skeptical now than I was before. For several reasons -


1. The President pleaded - again - to being helpless to fix the problems in the system without action by Congress. He even said that "that's how democracy works." But as the Chief Executive, the President already has been granted enormous power by Congress to fix problems in the system. Why is he not using them? To say that only Congress can act is neither factually or constitutionally true, the way he is justifying not acting - that it's beyond his power - is insulting. He should simply say that he doesn't CHOOSE to act, not that his hands are tied. This is the President who has talked about having an adult conversation with the public. Let's hear it then.


2. The President is right that many more criminal s have been deported than the past. But he is not telling the whole story. Deportations of non-criminals are sky high as well. The President has stated that we've given the Republicans what they demanded as far as enforcing first. But what are the consequences if they don't come to the table. Clearly, most of the "enforcement first" types were really just "enforcement only" types who didn't want to be seen as anti-immigrant. They've just played the White House and gotten exactly what they wanted without ever entertaining any notion of yielding on the rest of immigration reform. The President could use deportation policy as a form of leverage to get them to the table, but there is nothing in his remarks that hint that might happen.


3. The President's big action plan is asking people to log on to Whitehouse.gov to receive emails and twitter posts supporting reform. And to have more "conversations". Seriously? That's your action plan? You're expecting anyone to get excited about that? 


If the President simply wanted to use today's speech to act as a marker to indicate to Washington that he's going to be putting a lot of energy into reaching a deal on immigration, then that's great. Maybe he's working behind the scenes to craft a deal with moderate Republicans. If so, then more power to him. But there's little evidence he's talking to anyone on the other side. Which makes today's speech not so big at all.