This immigration bill has the potential to be another one of those "bipartisan and seemingly reasonable" pieces of legislation that is urgently needed and supported by leaders from both parties. We are past the point of trying to provide analysis as to the merits of the bill. Now, the commentary becomes purely political and strategic.
The solution for Republican Senators in this potentially disastrous political season is simple: When you are in a hole, quit digging. To continue to discuss a complex piece of legislation that ignites this degree of virulent opposition is political suicide. Isakson's suggestion that the border fence must be built in order to gain the public's confidence should be used as the "jumping off point" for GOP members of the Senate. They should demand that the president demonstrably secure the borders, and then address the issue of those already illegally in our country. After, if they care to survive as a party, they should just shut up.
The Democratic Party has outmaneuvered the Republicans on this issue. The most significant segment of voters who would reject a candidate over their support of this bill would never vote Democrat in the first place. At the same time, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has managed to make Bush appear weak and ineffective, while at the same time making his own members look proactive.
From the objective view of one who follows politics, the question must be asked: Who in the world is creating the Republican Party's policy and strategy? Moreover, who is responsible for communicating whatever that strategy might be? If the message is "I'll see you at the bill signing," as Bush reportedly quipped on Monday, he might as well add, "and at the conclusion of your political careers."