Some wonder how the GOP (and a few scared Democrats) could be convinced to jump off the ledge and commit political suicide by voting down a bill that most polls showed was widely supported by the public and, more importantly, will likely alienate America's largest and fastest growing minority for a generation or more. And also alienate the pro-business base of the party by taking such an egregiously anti-business, big government position that stinks of hypocrisy.



It wasn't that hard. For those of you who think have a high opinion the political sophistication of the typical member of Congress, I have a news flash - they are influenced most by those who make the most noise (or donate the most money). I spoke to numerous staffers on the Hill over the course of the last few months and many votes were changed simply by the overwhelming onslaught of phone calls, faxes and emails. These groups were so successful, they actually managed to crash the Senate switchboard today.



NumbersUSA, FAIR and the other anti-immigrant groups that worked on this bill were able to make themselves seem like they are a lot larger than they are. The Hispanic community in the US had the numbers to overwhelm in the other direction, but lacked the organization. And so these groups were able to convince the GOP that they could cost them their seats.



The White House knew better and sounded the alarm bells. Karl Rove and other political advisors to the President know he is in the White House today because of strong Hispanic support and the Bush folks worked their fingers to the bone to earn that support. Whatever one thinks of Mr. Rove, no one has ever accused him of being politically naive. And Harry Reid certainly understands this.  I think a lot of GOP members will understand this in 2008 when they are stunned at the polls.