Bringing People Together

I like to think that people across America's ideological rainbow can agree that this Dan Balz article is terrible. It's one long extended whine about how congress' failure to pass an immigration reform bill "represents a scathing indictment of the political culture of Washington." Balz doesn't seem to have any particular provisions he'd like to see the bill contain. He just thinks there's a big "immigration problem" and that congress should "do something" -- anything -- about it. Most annoyingly of all, he dresses this quintessentially Beltway desire to see legislating qua legislating up in faux populist garb: "to those far removed from the backrooms of Capitol Hill, what happened will fuel cynicism toward a political system that appears incapable of finding ways to resolve the nation's big challenges." Why a failure of interest-group logrolling should fuel cynicism, I couldn't quite say. Nevertheless, we get this sweet evidence-free assertion:

The collective failure of the two parties already appears to have stimulated interest in a third-party candidate for president in 2008 whose main promise would be to make Washington work. It is far too early to assess the viability of such a candidate, but it is easy to imagine the immigration impasse finding its way into a television commercial if someone such as New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg decides to run.

But. But. But. What would the commercial say? Would it accuse congress of failing by failing to clamp down harder on immigration or would it accuse congress of failing by failing to deliver relief to suffering undocumented aliens? This is the crux of the matter. There isn't a unitary "immigration problem" that Washington is failing to solve. Rather, various people see various different problems and there's not a consensus as to which problem is sufficiently problematic as to warrant action.