Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) is one of the legislative giants of a generation, and in this case, he produces a compromise that would improve immigration enforcement while providing social equity.

In response, the faction of the Republican Party that one prominent Republican refers to as bigots may well sabotage the legislation.

The most likely outcome today is:

1. President Bush achieves formal lame-duck status.

2. Hispanics, the fastest-growing demographic in American politics, continue their long-term march towards the Democratic Party.

3. The Republicans are split in half, victims of the rightist rage they have fomented for some time, now turned Republican against Republican.

Republicans plan their next attack, dreaming that they can pardon Scooter Libby, bomb Iran, stand with Alberto Gonzales and extend their escalation of the Iraq war as the ticket to victory in 2008.

Meanwhile, Republican senators — 22 of whom will be on the ballot in 2008 — plot more filibusters than the ancient Senate in the days of the segregated South.