Novakula reports on the mood in the Republican Senate caucus following the failure of the immigration bill. Republicans who stuck with the administration and voted for the bills are furious with majority leader Mitch McConnell, who abandoned them during the fight. And they are exhausted and demoralized, especially after the harrowing experience of reaping what their party sowed over immigration:
It is difficult to exaggerate the pessimism about the immediate political future voiced by Republicans in Congress when not on the record. With an unpopular president waging an unpopular war, they foresee electoral catastrophe in 2008, with Democratic gains in both the House and Senate and Hillary Clinton in the White House. That's the atmosphere in which these lachrymose lawmakers have for several months faced an increasingly hysterical onslaught from constituents demanding the death of the "amnesty" for immigrants they heard vilified on talk radio...Now, don't let schadenfreude get the best of you: politics has a way of turning the depressed into the triumphant suprisingly quickly. But for the purposes of brightening a Monday morning (er...afternoon), you're allowed to feel a little bit of pleasure in the Republicans' pain.
"This isn't a day to celebrate," McConnell said in his postmortem. Indeed, Republicans drove another nail in George W. Bush's political coffin and undermined hopes for winning the growing, and winnable, Hispanic vote. Contending that the time "wasn't now" for immigration, McConnell added: "It wasn't the people's will. And they were heard." He was blaming Republican failure on his fellow citizens, which seldom works in politics.