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Our View – Obama presidency characterized with idealism

Barack Obama’s presidency is a test of American cynicism. The successes and failures of his administration will examine the boundaries of idealism for presidents to come. 

With an aggressive agenda on health care reform and now with talks of immigration reform, the Obama administration is staring cynics in the face. 

Optimism is undoubtedly admirable, but are the “hope” and “change” mantras headed in the right direction? Who knows, but for the sake of this country we sure as hell hope it is.

Last Monday, President Obama met with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to discuss the push for immigration reform. According to the Los Angeles Times, these two senators have been working — for months — on a reform bill.

This should come as good news to proponents of immigration reform. Graham, a Republican known for crossing party lines, is the perfect candidate to rally conservative support in the Senate. 

Graham supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 and 2007 stating, “We are going to solve this problem. We’re not going to run people down. We’re not going to scapegoat people. We’re going to tell the bigots to shut up, and we’re going to get this right.” 

We think the senator for South Carolina has the right mentality.  It is important to note that both these bills contained DREAM Act provisions. 

Sen. John McCain could also play a key role in this debate. Alongside the late Mass. Sen. Ted Kennedy, McCain pushed a bipartisan reform bill in 2005. The Republican senator was also a sponsor of the DREAM Act of 2007. His bipartisan role, however, has been questionable since his failed run for president in 2008. 

With Democrats in the Senate considering reconciliation of the health care bill, we can only hope that immigration reform will be the bipartisan “change” pushed by the Obama administration. But is this “hope” realistic?

If immigration reform falters like his attempt at health care reform did, Obama might have to change his campaign slogan to “Yes, Democrats can.”

It isn’t the president’s fault that Republicans and Democrats aren’t getting along in Congress, but it is disappointing to consider the failure of Obama’s ambitious agenda. He naively promised bipartisanship and we believed him. 

With child-like confidence our president called for near-universal health care. And with this same child-like confidence, he is now calling for immigration reform. The man even thought he could reason with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This is admirable but again approaches naivety. We’re rooting for him, but is there room for such idealism in the White House? 

Midterm elections are rapidly approaching. While many dismiss the idea that these elections will be an indictment of Obama’s presidency, if the Democrats lose enough seats in Congress, the “hope” “change” movement might come to a close. 

Bipartisanship is great but when a president believes in something so strongly he has to move past it. It’s his duty as a leader. This may seem Machiavellian, but who said Machiavelli was wrong?

If Republicans continue to insist that Congress is designed to support a two-party power struggle, then Obama and the Democrats need to play their game. 

Then again, if the Democrats push health care and immigration reform with such disregard to compromise, does that mean that we really can’t “get along”? 

President Obama has failed to realize that Washington works one-way and one-way only. And guess what? “Hope” has nothing to do with it. 

Drop the White House meetings, the press conferences and the luncheons. If health care reform means that much to you do what it takes to pass it.

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