Obama turns focus away from economy towards immigration
President Obam brought in what many have called a game-changer, announcing a move towards a more equitable society for some of America's most marginalized residents, the children of illegal immigrants now found in millions across the country. They will not be deported.
The drab debate on economics gave way to a few other things also considered energizing for many.
Obama came out in support for same-sex marriage in a move bolder than even many gay and lesbian activists expected. Mitt Romney was caught unawares and just stated that it is a matter worth considering but objected to Obama using short-term gains to allow the kids to stay here instead of giving a more permanent answer. Obama had no choice because the Republican dominated House has not passed the so-called Dream act that would have provided some relief to the children of illegal immigrants born in the US.
Obama’s executive order taking advantage of prosecutorial discretion in deportation cases will cover individuals brought to the United States through no fault of their own before the age of 16 who have lived in the U.S. at least five years and have no criminal record. They must also have earned a high school degree or served in the military, and still be under 30. Those who meet the criteria can get deportation proceedings (or the threat of same) deferred for two years and seek work permits.
Plight of undocumented Americans
Coming in the wake of the publication of a cover story in Time magazine on the plight of "undocumented Americans" by Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American, the move seems certain to electrify the presidential race and solidify the support of Hispanic Americans-who voted in large numbers for Obama in 2008. They will now be crucial in about seven battleground states like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona where Obama and Romney have a toe to toe fight.
There may be an upwards of one million young new Americans in USA trying to make life easy for themselves and give back substantially to the country they call home. With a stroke of Obama's pen, he may have energized the Latin voters. The journey is far from over for the remaining millions of undocumented Americans but there seems a good start.
The executive order does not constitute amnesty and won't provide the young people with a path to citizenship, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters recently.
In another area, the debate also seemed to have shifted as the country now expects the Supreme Court to decide whether the healthcare law passed by Obama would be constitutional. That decision would come in this month. The debate would be whether Medicare proposals were vital for the country versus whether it over-centralized the healthcare administration.
Saving General Motor from bankruptcy
Rescuing General Motors going under also helped Obama to keep his nose above the drowning waters that came with the bad unemployment numbers in2007 when George W Bush was president. Romney had argued that the big auto firm should have sought bankruptcy proceedings and taken that route to get new capital. Instead Obama pumped in millions to get GM to venture forward and that paid dividends—GM is the largest auto-manufacturing firm in the world now. Thousands of blue collar worker jobs were also saved.
There is still the unending debate about the severity of the US financial collapse—whether it had longer-lasting negative effects than usual or was aggravated by what Obama did to end it.
Romney came down heavily on Obama for not acting fast enough. Obama supporters make the point that what occurred in the economic field had not been seen on a scale since Franklin Roosevelt's time in office and that a Republican dominated House prevented many measures been implemented.
Romney also downplayed president's purported foreign-policy accomplishments stating that Obama is claiming credit for merely continuing the policies of his predecessor, most notably in the war on terrorism. Obama’s bringing down Osama bin Laden is often cited as a major achievement by the Democrats, Republicans have counter-charged that president has been naive in his dealings with world leaders.
On the budget front and the huge deficit, the Republicans have attacked Obama for not controlling the public debt. Obama had to contend with the Speaker John Boehner and his House who insisted on cutting major programs.
The fate of Obama’s re-election would hinge on these issues mentioned here. How the debate shapes up would depend on the suaveness with which Obama and Romney deal with the complex issue. Was Obama dealt a disastrous opening hand and did he handle it well or was inaction the cause of job losses? Are these the result of an economy in need of reform, or is the inevitable stage of an upending successful capitalist model? The election is in November and how things shape up in that period would be relevant to the rise and fall of Obama.
- Asian Tribune –