During the past few weeks, a consensus has formed on left and right--on the left, for fear of suppressing the wages of low-skilled (AHEMblackAHEM) workers; on the right, for fear of an unchecked border as a portal for the next Mohammad Atta, as well as a porous border as a staging ground for the general flounting of the law.
It isn't government's inability to contain the border that enrages people, it is government's willful practice of looking the other way. The flashpoint was George Will's revelation of a California town that stopped issuing traffic tickets, as so many of those drivers stopped didn't have licenses, because they were illegal aliens, which then obligated the town in question to do something about it. This was James Q. Wilson's "broken window" theory: looking away from low-level crime only encourages worse.
That alingment of strange bedfellows had one repeated mantra: Patrol the border, then we'll talk. Patrol the border, then we'll talk. All week long, every time Huffpost would try to explain the bills collapse (and simultaneously stick it to the GOP), comments from the Bushitler crowd would come in along the lines of, "I've never voted for a Republican in my life, but they're right this time."
Kausfiles, which has followed the proceedings as much as anyone, had this supposed pearl of wisdom:
Obvious winner in today's vote: John McCain, who can now try to take the issue "off the table" in his presidential campaign.
Umm . . . no. Politics is about winning. Right now, McCain is (unfairly so) linked most closely to President Bush re Iraq. McCain-Feingold took a major hit in the Supreme Court this week. Now, immigration.
They say the state motto in Alabama is, "Thank God for Mississippi." This week, McCain's motto might be, "Thank God for Harry Reid."