Season of the Witch! Roy Beck, CEO of the highly effective restrictionist immigration lobby Numbers USA, has posted a cold-eyed and revealing post-game analysis of his victory over the so-called DREAM Act Saturday morning. The two main conclusions:
1) It was "closer than it looked"—not because Harry Reid had 59 votes secretly locked up if he could only have gotten one more (though that's possible) but because if one or two senators had ostentatiously switched in the weeks leading up to the vote then "at least three other votes would have gone with them and we would have lost."
2) Going into the lame duck season, it looked as if the anti-DREAM forces might have their greatest success intimidating Democrats from reddish states who were up for reelection and wouldn't want to buck a rising anti-amnesty tide. But, in the event, that strategy mostly failed; only two of the 2012 Dems opposed DREAM. Nineteen other up-for-election Democrats held to the party line and supported it. Beck made up for that failure with a spectacular success among Republicans who had previously supported one form of amnesty or another and among Republicans who are up in 2012. Of the latter group, 7 out of 8 voted against DREAM, including at least three previous amnesty supporters. Why? Beck writes:
I suspect one of the reason we did so much better with the smaller group of Republicans facing re-election was that they are more likely to believe that they might face Primary oppostion from within their own Party if they support amnesty.
Translation:The Tea Parties did it. Not only had they threatened establishment Republicans with primary opposition, but they had actually beaten one ... two ... three of them. Nothing like fresh heads on pikes to, er, reinforce a persuasive (to my mind) policy argument. Score one for losing Delaware Tea Partier Christine O'Donnell, who knocked off establishment pick Rep. Mike Castle (who voted for DREAM) in the GOP primary. Even score one for Alaskan Joe Miller. He probably alienated Republican Lisa Murkowski by beating her in the primary, and ultimately she won reelection anyway as a write-in. But that's just one lost Senate vote. By my count, Miller's primary coup may have helped gain around ten votes by terrifying GOP incumbents who might otherwise have been tempted by the prospect of a feel-good, bipartisan, MSM-approved pro-DREAM stand.
Democracy can be a wonderful thing ...
P.S.: Have I mentioned that Slate's Dave Weigel was wrong, hideously and revealingly and embarrassingly wrong, when he predicted Dems would not use the lame duck to try to jam through controversial legislation? ("This just isn't going to happen.") He was wrong! So wrong ... It's because he has sources! ... Politico's Jonathan Martin was wrong too ... 12:07 a.m.