Washington Being around the DC area gave me an opportunity to ply friends and associates for information on what might be happening to some other critical efforts for reform now that health care is at center stage. The votes still don’t seem there for labor law reform and there’s no push to have it jump over health care in the queue of course.
More interestingly were the tidbits I gathered from my friends in the immigration reform movement. There seems to be an emerging consensus that this will be a longer fight than anyone would have wanted and that there needs to be a re-engagement tactically and strategically with the base to rebuild the momentum.
Importantly, there seems to also be two other important recognitions. One is that the anger and disappointment of the base about increased enforcement (like 287g) can’t be ignored or rationalized, especially in the absence of any positive steps towards reform by the Administration. The other is a recognition that to get this job done may require some real leveraging of the elections in 2010 and 2012, and in my view a much clearer quid pro quo about votes following reform, rather than hope.
This all is disappointing but at least seems like a dose of real politick that might mean that immigration reform is real when it comes and that we are finally girding for a fight rather than depending on the White House, which seems a disappointment for sure.
A professor I know well said something to me on the phone recently that put all of this in perspective. He observed that we now seemed to be getting the “Clinton Administration without the economic expansion!” That hurts, but sadly we may have to reckon with that being the truth as great expectations continue to dissolve.