With the death of the “grand bargain” on immigration, Washington observers are mourning the death of bipartisanship. But bipartisanship is alive and well — both parties, working in concert to torpedo the bill, hated it equally. The grassroots, not the lobbyists, spoke loud and clear and the voice of the opposition was much noisier than those advocating reform.
Yes, the atmosphere is still partisan on Capitol Hill, and too politically volatile for compromise. Democrats who just won Republican seats last fall are scrambling to keep them. Republicans who just lost them are scrambling to get them back. Until there is a new president, and a new season of true bipartisan goodwill, both sides have too much to lose. In his first months in office President Bush enjoyed the cooperation of Democrats on education reform, and even some on tax cuts, and it is possible the next president will convince the Congress to pass an immigration compromise that looks much the same as the one both parties now love to hate.