Of course, if Bush does achieve three or four of these goals, the Democrats will be in serious trouble, as they will have nothing important left to do except screw things up if they ever get power again. And of course, we can expect them to resist these sorts of badly needed reforms with tooth and nail, because they care more about their personal power base than they do about fixing the nation's problems.
The goals are also of different levels of importance. Bush can't pass on #5. He's already committed to it and not following it through would be disastrous. As for the others, he can pretty much pick and choose. Social Security reform is already running into problems, so vitally important though it is he might have to back-burner it. Tax reform scares people, so it will be a challenge. The easy route is to do Immigration and Medicaid reform which are feelgood measures which some Democrats will support, and then use the political capital that builds to tackle one of the tougher issues.
Bush will have to be very careful not to get distracted by partisan issues of lesser importance or to pay too much attention to criticism or polls. He seems to have an instinct for what is right and he needs to follow that instinct first. Everyone in Congress is going to come yammering at him with their pet issue, and he needs to stand firm and tell them to back off, or else make deals which will get the important bills passed before he'll consider their lesser issues.
Bush needs to remember that he can't be voted out of office, so he can afford to take some risks and step on some toes that badly need it. Each of these goals is enormously important for the nation, and if he can achieve even a couple of them he will have done more good for the country than any president in the last 40 years. In fact, even attempting them seriously and failing will leave him with a better legacy than most of his predecessors. In this he should take a note from the firm hand of Teddy Roosevelt who said:
- "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Even if this mission is hopeless and he fails, he'll still win a legacy of respect if he at least goes down trying to do the right thing. It's do or die time now for Bush. He can either take these vitally important issues which he has already identified and pursue them with everything he's got, or he can accept a legacy of mediocrity at best. So far his ideas have outstripped his performance. In the next three years it's time for his performance to make those ideals a reality.