Sunday, November 09, 2008
The Road to Texas Runs through Latin America: South to the Future
The L.A. Times runs a story today echoing the idea I raised earlier this week: Texas can be turned blue in 2012.
Obama can help make this a reality by continuing to build goodwill with the Latino community in some of the following ways:
First, he should work to enact comprehensive and humane immigration reform that will recognize that millions of undocumented Latinos living and working in, and contributing to America deserve fair and just treatment.
Second, he could appoint Bill Richardson as Secretary of State, Antonio Villaraigosa to either Education, Transportation, or Commerce, and, when the time comes to make a Supreme Court appointment, Obama should consider a jurist such as Sonia Sotomayor, who currently sits on the Second Circuit in New York.
Third, Obama could do much to help repair our frayed relations within our hemisphere, with Central and South America. Too much of our policy -- especially over the past eight years -- has been driven by antiquated, Cold War anti-communist positions (with the bogeymen of Castro, Chavez, and Ortega) and a badly misguided "War on Drugs" in which we have found ourselves allied with right-wing ideologues (see Columbia). We need to get beyond this outdated mindset and reach out to the vibrant democracies in our hemisphere, in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, and elsewhere. Change is sweeping the Americas -- indeed, one could see Obama as just the latest in a string of progressive and left-of-center leaders to come to power in the Americas. The Obama Administration should make it a priority to partner and develop deeper ties with our neighbors to the South.