Now that the immigration bill is dead, it's time to engage in some post-mortems. As both Kos and Tim from Balloon Juice note, the debate was, from a political standpoint, an unqualified blessing for the Democratic Party. Its contingent in the Senate got to take the high road, mainly supporting the compromise, but with enough defectors opposing the bill on non-xenophobic grounds to scuttle any chance of overcoming a cloture vote. And there's no reason a bill with as many unpleasant compromises as this needed to be passed this year, when the prospects for an even better bill await in 2009.
Republicans, on the other hand, felt the full wrath of the talk radio wingnuts, who aren't going to easily forget the fact that their leaders in the Senate actually showed compassion to a bunch of Mezkins, but will get not any benefit from Latino voters, who now see the party as too captivated by some of the uglier elements in our society. Texas and Florida, two states that have been the bulwark of the Republican majority since 1972, have large populations of native Spanish speakers, and the loss of either state will doom the party to a permanent minority.