Whenever we go into political drift as a country, optimists often quote Winston Churchill’s line that Americans will always do the right thing, after they’ve “exhausted all other possibilities.” I don’t think that’s true anymore. Churchill never met the Tea Party, and he certainly never met today’s House Republicans, a group so narrow-minded and disinterested in governing — and the necessary compromises that go with it — that they’re ready to kill an immigration bill that is manifestly in the country’s economic, social and strategic interests.
Proving Churchill at least half-right, we have foolishly ignored immigration reform for years. But today, finally, we’ve found a coalition of Senate Democrats and 14 Senate Republicans who have courageously compromised on a bill that, though not perfect — it still spends too much on border defense — opens more opportunity for the high- and low-skilled immigrants we need to thrive and gives those already here illegally a legitimate pathway to citizenship. Yet it appears that brain-dead House Republicans and their pusillanimous leadership are not inclined to do the right thing and pass a similar bill. We’ve exhausted all other possibilities, and we’re still stuck. That is how a great country becomes un-great.