Deal or no deal: that's the question for Bush
May 20, 2007 - 1:33:48 PM
Washington, May 20 - With just 20 months to go before he leaves the White House, George W. Bush is looking for a deal, any deal that would overshadow the botched war in Iraq and be remembered as the legacy of his presidency.
The civil nuclear deal with India could have been one that would be recalled like Richard Nixon's opening up to China. That deal seems to be so tantalisingly near and yet so far, but critics are already comparing him to tricky Dick all right - for all the wrong reasons.
If not abroad, at least a deal at home would do. The one on immigration that would lay out a path to citizenship for 12 million people including some 300,000 from India, who have sneaked in without documents to do jobs the Americans wouldn't do, seemed a good bet.
That was before the storm broke out. From several presidential candidates of his own Republican party to radio talk hosts to analysts from the right wing dubbed the bipartisan plan hammered out by his key aides with Democratic majority as a 'sellout' and an 'amnesty'.
What is worse even the intended beneficiaries of his vision of a 'melting pot' eyed it with suspicion. Is it a mere ploy to bring them out and then throw them out? And isn't the hefty $3,000 fine and $4,000 fee for a green card a bit too harsh? And is it fair to those who have followed the rules of the game and stood patiently in line. And how about those 800,000 odd who joined the line after May 2005 only to find the window shut in their faces now?
The Bush plan also seeks to increase H1B visas for those with special skills by 50,000, a step that could help Indian professionals seeking jobs in US. But a move by two Senators to probe the use of such visas by nine top Indian firms is threatening to brew another backlash against outsourcing like the one witnessed in the last presidential poll.
Making deals ahead of elections appears to be turning out to be a big deal for Bush - if only he could outsource it!
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