The defeat of the Comprehensive Immigration bill is the single most important advance for democracy in recent memory. While most commentators point to opposition tot he amnesty provisions in the bill as the impetus for opposition, in reality, amnesty was a minor part of the problem with the bill.
When the bill was first announced I wrote that I was provisionally in favor of a comprehensive bill but offered the caution that "the devil is in the details." At the same time I was fully aware that there was no way I was going to spend the time and energy to actually read the bill. Legalese is a foreign language that I have no desire to learn. It has always struck me as being unnecessarily arcane; of course, the same can be said of medicalese, so I should be measured in my criticism. In any event, I lack the interest and energy to learn how "sausages and laws" are made.
Two important developments occurred in the debate over the Immigration bill which will forever change the way Laws are made.
First, and most important, primarily because of the internet, people who had the interest were able to actually take the time and spend the energy required to read and understand the bill. They were then able to leverage their understanding via the Blogosphere to allow a multitude of engaged individuals to piggy back on their expertise.
Hugh Hewitt performed such yeoman work and when he pointed out that the fantasy of a comprehensive reform was not matched by the reality in the bill, I withdrew my provisional support for the bill. Nothing that followed caused me to change my mind a second time.
As the Immigration debate continued, with the powerful forces in favor of the bill using all their legislative legerdemain to escape scrutiny, they found themselves being watched and caught every step of the way.
The second key point was the not surprising revelation that not only had no Senator even read the bill but that most of them had no real idea what was in it. Once their ignorance was documented, the bill was finished. It is one thing to know intellectually that most bills are passed with little in the way of real debate or understanding by those poseurs who reside in Congress, but to actually be able to see, hear, and savor their ignorance, all the while they were protesting how much smarter and wiser they are than the hoi polloi, has been truly enlightening. The fact is that the American people, via their unelected representatives int he Blogosphere, understood the bill better than its proponents in the Senate.