On Thursday, New York Times reporter Ashley Parker had some only half-convincing happy talk on the prospects for the immigration overhaul Parker has helped cheer on that would involve granting a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants: "Drawing Bipartisan Praise For a Soft-Pedal Approach ." The reason for her optimism? Barack Obama's masterful performance at the State of the Union.
In laying out his agenda, President Obama continued trying to define a 21st-century version of liberalism that could outlast his time in office.
President Obama’s nonconfrontational tone on an immigration overhaul in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night probably did more to advance the issue, lawmakers said, than if had he offered a fierce rallying cry, as he did about gun restrictions.
As senators gathered Wednesday for the first hearing on the proposed sweeping changes in immigration law, they said the president’s decision to give members of both parties room to maneuver on the delicate politics of immigration was a strategic choice that could pay off as negotiations continued.
Mr. Obama proceeded to highlight what he believed are the three goals of any immigration deal -- ensuring that the borders are secure, creating a meaningful path to citizenship, and overhauling the system to deal with legal immigration. But when talking about immigration, he seemed to lack the emotional resonance, not to mention the forceful call to action, that he exhibited when discussing gun control, where he exhorted the country to remember that all victims of gun violence “deserve a vote.”
Which may have been exactly the point.