From Waterloo to Wonder

You wanna talk about Waterloos?  Fine.

This new discriminatory Arizona law will be to immigration reform what Lehman Brothers, Citicorp, Goldman Sucks, etc. were to financial reform and  what 50 million uninsured Americans were to health care reform.  A sure-fire catalyst for change.  This is a good thing.  The Arizona statute is as unconstitutional as things get.  Sometimes, it takes an event, so harsh and oppositional to what is just and right, to serve as a wake up call to finally produce reasonable reaction.

Yes, our federal government has been lax in making immigration policy and certainly in enforcing it.  Witness the state of California, whose bankruptcy was in no small part related to having to provide education and  health care to their illegals.  Surely though, these illegals also contributed to the state’s economy in a positive way, by providing cheap labor.  However, for a state, especially a border state, to have to shoulder the costs of implementing what is definitely a national policy, is unfair and  fiscally impossible.

Remember in my post of 4/11/2010 I called for some pundit to create an appropriate nickname for the Obama agenda, similarly to the New Deal of FDR or the Great Society of LBJ?  Of course, the “big four” elements of that still-to-be body of legislation (health care, fiscal reform, immigration reform and energy/climate control) is still only 25% completed.  If Obama can get these four problems dealt with, his legacy will be remarkable.  My husband has come up with the term “The New Century” for this Obama package and a friend has suggested “The Real Deal”.

Granted, each agenda item will be deemed successful or not based on degrees.  For example, HCR was a landmark piece of legislation, although rife with compromise that resulted in just the very first, preliminary step to a truly comprehensive plan our nation really needs for decent, affordable care.  Now our Congress is facing the same dilemma with their consideration of financial reform.  Should the bill confront only derivatives, or should it cover a wider scope for financial regulation?  The bill will not be complete or perfect, but I sure would like to be a fly on the wall in the Senate when those self-serving Republicans vote against this reform.  Rotten eggs and tomatoes will hardly fill the bill for their comeuppance.

The last two items, immigration reform and environmental control, will complete President Obama’s historic agenda.  Critics will be many, because everyone will not get all that they want.  Such is life.  Although the Obama years are still in their infancy, have a look at some of his accomplishments so far in his 15-month tenure.  Remember:  success should be judged in degrees, not absolutes:

via The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan by Andrew Sullivan on 4/22/10

Bernstein seconds me:

[T]his has been, so far, a very productive Congress.  Note that he’s now rated by Politifact as having fulfilled over a fifth of his campaign promises (and about a third if compromises, such as state instead of national insurance exchanges, are included), for what it’s worth.  That’s without the big items still out there: banking (fairly likely), climate (still unlikely, but not impossible), and immigration (I’d be shocked)…am I missing any?  And it’s also without all the small things that will happen.  Of course, that alone doesn’t make Barack Obama a successful president, whatever that means.  But those who are focused only on what hasn’t happened, or what has been compromised, are missing the big picture here.

Here we are a year and a half in and what do we see?

An end to illegal torture of terror suspects. A beginning to a saner method of detaining, trying and convicting terror suspects.

Adept handling of the worst financial crisis and recession since the 1930s, leading to a profitable bank bailout (excluding Freddie and Fannie) and a return to growth. Check.

Salvaging of the automobile industry, which is now showing signs of life.

Passage of an ambitious stimulus package that has helped repair many crumbling parts of the US infrastructure and poured money into green industry.

The biggest social policy reform since LBJ – guaranteeing access to health insurance for all Americans.

Financial re-regulation of an out-of-control Wall Street, and the beginnings of real scrutiny (see Goldman) of the self-serving corruption at the heart of the financial industry.

Repaired relations with Russia, leading to a new START treaty, and better relations with China, leading to a revaluation of the yuan.

Joint Chiefs’ endorsement of ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

A tough re-balancing of the US position in the Middle East, away from the Likudnik-oriented jerking knees of the last eight years, and an assertion that US foreign policy should be conducted to advance the interests of the United States, not the interests of a belligerent faction in a foreign country.

My view is that Obama should aim for immigration reform next. Why? We need it. And it will force the GOP into an even whiter, nastier, angrier posture as they fight for the midterms. The long-term damage to the GOP among Hispanics will cement Democratic electoral dominance for quite a while.

Change we can believe in? How much more could you possibly have asked for in eighteen months?

This is a dramatically effective administration.

So folks, go with the flow.  The immigration law in Arizona will, in the end, provide the United States with the push it needs to address and correct current policy.  It will undoubtedly get ugly along the way, but the uglier it may get, the better the fix.  Ultimately, let’s turn our Waterloos into miraculous victories for the betterment of each and every one of us.

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