Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky represents the kind of bipartisan leadership that this country needs to break the gridlock grinding our government to a halt. A libertarian on use of controlled substances, ready and willing to vote against his party on social and fiscal issues, Rand Paul is open to compromise without caving on his principles.
Not just with the drugs laws, Paul has also evinced an open mind for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants along with a less confrontational foreign policy. He once staged a lonely filibuster to end the United States Government's ongoing billion-dollar handouts to hostile dictators sympathetic to us, yet destructive and cruel to their own people. The federal government still sends enormous foreign aid packages to Pakistan, even though the leaders in that country have jailed and tortured the doctor who helped the CIA track down and kill Osama Bin Laden.
Rand Paul has crossed the aisle on a number of issues. His very presence in the Senate is an affront to the GOP Establishment to begin with, since "make Obama one-term President" Mitch McConnell backed Paul's challenger in the 2010 Kentucky Senate primary. Despite the initial acrimony between the minority leader and the junior senator, the two have developed a strong working relationship in the Senate.
This month on the US Senate floor, advanced an immigration bill which had already passed the House: the STEMS JOb Act (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In this proposed legislation, immigrants who graduate from American universities with Masters Degrees and PhD's will no longer have to wait in line in order to receive a green card. Currently, the waits is so grating, that highly-skilled college graduates leave this country with their quality American education and work for global competitors. This brain drain is an insane waste of talent for this country.
From Mort Zuckerman of US News and World Report to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the widespread consensus on this step toward immigration reform should galvanize both sides to come together and pass this bill.
Rand Paul chided his colleagues to plea for passage. "Many of us want reform. I want it noted that we can talk a small step." To allow PhD and Master Degree immigrants to receive green cards is no unseemly idea. Rand Paul properly indicts the President and majority party for "wanting everything." Part of the problem in Washington, then, stems (no pun intended) from both sides wanting everything. This path to unbrokered argument and empty partisanship is hurting more than helping.
Rand Paul echoes the growing sentiment in this country, in which voters lament: "Why is this system broken?" Why can't Congress get we agree on this bill? Leaders on both sides of the aisle want a plan of action which guarantees them everything. This is not what representative Democracy is about. Neither side will ever get all that it wants. If the Democratic majority wants to stonewall incremental proposals for the better, they may face the same backlash which motivated voters to return the same divided government to Congress this past election.
Showing spine as well as substance, Rand Paul has signalled his willingness to let the Democratic majority have all the high taxes that they want, and thus let them own the consequences for the policies. Such a plan may work. California has a supermajority of Democrats in Sacramento. However, California's Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu retreated following the state-wide reprisal to his proposal to triple the state's car tax.
Perhaps Pauls' unorthodox approach to compromise and governance will be just what it takes for both sides of the aisle to put the Constitution, the country, and the American citizenry ahead of their own caucuses. Please contact your Congressman and Senators. Demand that they put term-by-term politics aside and support an incremental reform to our nation's broken and bereft immigration policy.