The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush's plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.
The bill's supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.
Senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is highly unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics.
I think the pro-immigration forces are literally fighting for their lives. Machiavelli said that once a prince has oppressed a people, he must expect a huge reaction if he ever lets up-even a little.
I think the real reaction we are seeing here is from H-1b visa expansion. The H-1b visa quota was allowed to drop signficantly a few years ago. There are a whole lot of well-educated activists now that understand from personal experience the ramifications of the Senate guest worker expansion far better than any Senator. When the quotas dropped a little and increasingly H-1b intensive companies are having financial problems, that crew got just a little relief-and now they are angry and able to act. It is still hard to get any serious legislative traction on really setting the H-1b situation right for US tech workers-but illegal immigration is a visible issue. Thus we see a lot of these activists working on the illegal immigration issue.
It is important to remember what immigration expansion leader Kennedy is. He's a murderous, cheat who got into a position of authority riding his more talented brother's coattails and leveraging his father's considerable financial resources. In 1957 Joe Kennedy was listed in Fortune as one of the 16 richest Americans with net worth of $200-400 Million. That would be equivalent to over $2.86 billion in today's money just adjusting for inflation. However, in recent years, the fortunes of the 16 richest Americans start at $9.6 Billion. Kennedy's own net worth was recently reported at a bit under $10 Million.
I don't think the Kennedy clan squandered their fortune, lost it all via taxation or that Joe largely disinherited Ted. An endowment of $10 Million is adequate to live very comfortably. I expect the rest of the money is scattered across various family members, loyal retainers and various foundations-that are largely under the effective control of Kennedy loyalists and family members.
The Kennedy family rose to political prominence bankrolling FDR. The left leaning populism of the time was largely led by folks like Huey Long focused on redistribution of wealth-that would have hit the Kennedy family quite squarely. When the depression go so bad that something "had" to be done, FDR adopted every element of the Socialist platform, except the key items of a tax on landed property and direct taxation of concentrated assets.
If immigration restriction is accomplished, I predict we will see a huge movement of the US back to traditional core values of left populism. Containment of immigration will give working Americans just enough relief that they can start to realize how bad things have gotten for them since the 1965 immigration expansion. The end result would be containment of concentrations of wealth that make what happened in the 30's-early 60's seem utterly mild
The worse nightmare of Ted Kennedy is an American left that utterly repudiates his legacy and a right where his friends like the Bush family are discredited. This just may be what he lives to see as he nears death.