Friday, June 29, 2007

The Verdict Is Probably In: Bush Is Toast

I was surprised that he couldn't even get a bare majority, after all the time spent cobbling together an unsteady bipartisan alliance. But the bill gave away too many things. On the right wing, it was the amnesty. On the left, the obvious effect on the wages and jobs of working-class Americans, and with the guest-worker program the creation of a made-to-order labor underclass. And on both sides, no genuinely frightening, kick-it-up-several-notches sanctions against the scofflaw employers.

So now, by a vote of 46-53 on an immigration overhaul that had his complete backing, George W. Bush has been rendered all but toothless for the duration of his residency (no typo).

I admit having been ambivalent about the bill, and a sad aspect is that its failure in this procedural vote just postpones an inevitable confrontation with a problem that will become worse for many years before it gets better.

But one thing is clear: Impeachment or no, Bush now couldn't be more irrelevant. He's lost his far right-wing base, and even worse. Both Texas senators deserted him, and one of them, Kay Bailey Hutchison, isn't even regarded as all that staunchly conservative. Barring intervention from Hades, the man's had it. It's just a question of whether he can survive the next 19 months.

Postscript: The descent of America into cultural decadence took a quantum leap today on CNN Headline News. "Prime News With Erica Hill" led with the double-murder/suicide of pro wrestler Chris Benoit. The report went on for several minutes, and the failure of the immigration bill wasn't even the SECOND lead. Culturally, the U.S. is now officially a fifth-world country.