The immigration bill died tonight on a cloture vote of 45-50. I don’t know very many Democrats that are shedding any tears over it. I know the people that put sweat and tears into working out a comprehensive, bipartisan reform are feeling let down. But I didn’t like the bill. I haven’t talked to any Hispanics that liked the bill. I KNOW that most non-chamber of commerce Republicans HATED the bill. I’ve talked to bloggers and they are almost unanimous in their indifference.
I haven’t followed all the amendments and intricacies to the bill. My impression is that it was a mish-mash of crap that would lead the world in unintended consequences. So, I come at this not as a partisan on one side of the debate or the other. I guess I am modestly relieved it didn’t pass. I come at this from a political point of view.
This bill was President’s one big chance to work together with Democrats to pass major legislation. He had six months to convince his caucus to go along with the plan. And when the vote went down he was in Europe and Harry Reid was having trouble even getting in touch with his chief of staff. This is just one more significant failure for George W. Bush. And it is hard to see where he can go from here to make a mark.
In 2005, he wanted to revamp Social Security and he failed. Last year Congress couldn’t even pass their appropriation bills. And now this. Bush hasn’t had a major piece of domestic legislation pass since the No Child Left Behind bill in 2001.
He’s done nothing on entitlements, nothing really significant on health, nothing good on the environment, and he could accomplish nothing on immigration.
His legacy is threadbare. But, at least in the short-term, this might help Bush. He is down to about 30% approval in the polls, and those thirty percenters were the people most vociferously opposed to the immigration bill. If the bill had passed it might have put Bush down into the teens.
And the failure to pass the bill is a failure for the Democratic led Congress, too. Democrats need to have some successes to run on in 2008. So, this immigration bill failure doesn’t reflect very well on anyone.
I expect the media to focus on Bush’s impotence.