Immigration's Bipartisan Ouster

Did anyone hear the whooping, hooting, and hollering coming from Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters last Thursday when the immigration reform bill failed a procedural vote in the Senate? Sure, Clinton voted to proceed with the controversial compromise, but she couldn't have been happier to watch it die.

According to a Gallop poll released last week, Clinton now stands to benefit the most from the backlash against the Republicans and President Bush among Hispanic voters. The findings show that, by a nearly 3-1 margin, Hispanic voters are identifying themselves as Democrats or leaning Democratic — and the immigration debate is a major factor. Clinton can now appeal to this critical voting bloc but won't be dogged by a vote for final passage of an amnesty package for illegals, a bill so unpopular that protesting voters managed to jam the Senate phone system with their calls. 

As the Democrats take to the trail next year to castigate Republicans for the Iraq war, damage to the environment, the politicization of the Department of Justice, secrecy in the executive branch, raging deficits, and everything else wrong in America, rest assured they will start blaming the GOP for killing immigration reform. But killing immigration reform was the only true act of bipartisanship to have come out of Congress in a long time.

Was anyone in the chamber chuckling last Friday when Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor that Thursday was "a very sad day for America ... an ideological, extreme group set back our country. On immigration we had lots of prattling, lots of scare tactics, and, as a result, the immigration bill is paralyzed." Schumer didn't mention that the following "ideological, extreme" Democratic senators voted to kill the bill: Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Jim Webb of Virginia, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Tom Harkin of Iowa, David Pryor of Arkansas, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. A radical bunch indeed, representing voters who hated the bill.