Democrats have had a good two years. But they could have been much better.
Hate to say it, but I have to suspect Democrats are being disingenuous in holding out for provisions they know the GOP will never accept, not even the few who might be amenable to a compromise along the lines described in the post. Early in the first Bush term, the administration proposed what struck me as a genuine, much needed revision of the immigration laws; but Democrats blocked it, holding out for what they called "comprehensive" reform, their code for "path to citizenship", something GOP had denounced as "amnesty". A senior Democrat - Speaker Pelosi herself, as I recall - let the cat out of the bag, that Democrats were determined to keep the GOP administration from getting any credit for reform in Dem's supposed core constituency among Hispanic voters. (Since then, I've always put my hand on my wallet when any politician starts carrying on about "comprehensive" anything.)
Those of us who have had the opportunity to improve a product or a service appreciate incrementalism. As I wrote in a response to an earlier Persuasion article, incrementalism is the Deming Cycle: Plan - Do - Check - Act - Repeat. It's a lot of hard work, but nobody has found a better way to get things done better. However, the Deming Cycle only works in an environment where results can be and are measured, which is not the environment in which many of our elected officials prefer to operate.