The immigration bill:
From this blogger's perspective, anytime immigration is discussed, it's a net loser for all sides. You've got racists that don't want brown people entering the country, you've got business in favor of as many immigrants as possible, you've got compassionate liberals that oppose deportation, and you've got labor which opposes having more workers entering the country. Until a solution is crafted, and while the debate on immigration takes place, a sour mood prevails, compromise is hard to achieve, and there is little fluidity in the political realm.
While there are divisions within the Republicans, I've always thought that there was a significan political downside for Democrats with the subject. The question is this:
During an election year, if Democrats support a mild immigration bill (i.e. mostly amnesty) would that make it harder to get independents and Republican to vote for a Democrat?
I think it would be harder.
It's very important that the Democrats get as big a win in 2008 as possible. So, getting the immigration issue out of the way now, means that come 2008, the issues on the table will be Iraq and the economy (either in recession, or still not going great for the average citizen). If that's the case, then Democrats will be able to get more votes than otherwise. So passage of an immigration bill this year, however flawed, is good politics for the Democrats.