SAN DIEGO -- To be a king, or not to be a king. For Barack Obama, it's a trick question.
The president hates being challenged over his deportation policies or being asked why his administration -- five months before an election -- offered deferred action to young illegal immigrants but not to anyone else. So when those questions come up, as they tend to do during Spanish-language interviews, he reaches for a hackneyed line:
"I'm not a king."
That is what Obama recently told Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas. And it is what he told Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart in another interview on the same day.
"I'm not a king."
By now, those words are for many Latinos like fingernails on a chalkboard. We've heard them too many times. He must think we have short memories.
The next time he's in one of these interviews, Obama should just give it to Latinos straight. He should say: "Look, you folks will believe anything. I deported 1.5 million people and divided thousands of families -- most of them Latino -- and you gave me 71 percent of your votes. Why are we even here?"
The Spanish-language journalists got off easy. If the president had been in a more condescending mood, they might have received a civics lesson on the three branches of government and been told that the executive branch can't act without the blessing of the legislative branch.
Of course, there is tremendous power embodied in the executive office. Obama knows this full well, because -- on issues he actually cares about -- he has wielded the power of the presidency liberally.
In October 2011, Obama went on a spree of executive orders billed as the "We Can't Wait" initiative. He took steps to ease the debt burden for college students by simplifying the process by which they pay back government loans, to help veterans find employment, and to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages.
Copyright 2013 Washington Post Writers Group