"If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress then I would do so. But we're also a nation of laws. That's a part of our tradition."
That was Barack Obama in November 2013, responding to a heckler at a San Francisco speech who insisted "You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country."
"Actually, I don't," was Obama's initial response.
He added, "The easy way out is to try and yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws, and what I'm proposing is the harder path which is to use our democratic processes."
What a difference a year makes.
Impatient with congressional inaction, Obama is now prepared to grant amnesty to up to 4.5 million illegal immigrant adults with U.S.-born children, a leaked 10-part plan obtained by Fox News reveals.
"Obama is setting up a constitutional crisis," said Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens.
He added, "Even though there are those in Congress who might agree with the concept of providing legalization alternatives for those who have jumped the line, it is simply unacceptable to allow this President to dismantle the constitutional separation of powers in an effort to transform America."
And the only way to stop him may be through the continuing resolution coming up before December 11, said Mehrens.
"Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell must swiftly and forcefully tie the President's hands using the power of the purse in the December continuing resolution. If the President chooses to shut down the government in order to benefit illegal aliens then so be it."
But, apparently that is off the table.
When asked by the press if Republicans might consider holding up government funding over the issue, incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, "We will not be shutting the government down, or threatening to default on the national debt."
McConnell added, "I've been very disturbed about the way the president has proceeded in the wake of the election. Whether it was his intervention on net neutrality, his apparent decision to move ahead on immigration with executive orders, the rather ridiculous agreement with the Chinese, under which they basically have to do nothing for the next 16 years while we're losing jobs in this country as a result of EPA's over-regulation."
"I had maybe naively hoped the president would look at the results of the election and decide to come to the political center and do some business with us," McConnell said. "I still hope he does at some point, but the early signs are not good."
So, now what? If Congress is unwilling to use the power of the purse to rein in Obama's executive amnesty to preserve the separation of powers of all things, when would it use it?
Once the administration gets a taste of that blood, what's to stop the White House from continuing to run roughshod over the Constitution the next two years? At some point you have to fight.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.