Now it comes down to the people's House. And the question is a simple one: Will the House that, last December, voted for the toughest border security and enforcement bill in our lifetime capitulate to the president and his allies from Harry Reid to The New York Times to La Raza?
But this is not only a test of the House. It is an opportunity for the House. It is a chance for the House to declare its independence of the national establishment. If the House will say to the Senate and Bush, "No amnesty, no deal!" it will have not only done its duty by the people who elected it, it will have rejected dishonorable compromise in favor of what is right for America.
But if the House goes along with a Senate bill with which, by its own December vote, it disagrees, a bill that will break the hearts of people who put it in power, what will be the remaining argument for keeping the House Republican?
Answer: There is none. This immigration bill is not only about America's future, but the continued relevance of the Republican Party as the party to rule and run the nation.
The Senate, by opening the door to U.S. citizenship for millions of illegal aliens, has cheapened something Americans used to consider priceless. That the Senate would put on a path to U.S. citizenship people who, only a month ago, were marching under Mexican flags is a manifestation of national decline.
In 1963, as Churchill was approaching death, a debate was held in our country and Congress on whether that friend and ally in World War II should be granted U.S. citizenship, an honor previously accorded only to the French hero of the American Revolution, Lafayette.
That is how we treasured citizenship then. But like the dollar and much else, it has been badly depreciated under this generation.
In its decision whether to accept or reject the Senate amnesty-guestworker plan, the Republican House -- which rejected that course last December -- will define itself and the GOP. To the nation, it will be seen as either an independent House to be respected and re-elected as the only people's House in this capital city, or it will be seen as but a tool and rubber stamp of the White House and Senate.