The perhaps fatal collapse Friday of a Senate compromise on sweeping and liberalized immigration reform was, in itself, not totally unpredictable.

What might astound some, however, is what appears to be the ignominious role in the snafu played by none other than the Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Even though a bi-partisan, majority coalition of 63 Senators had rather miraculously agreed on a compromise measure which would have been a significant step forward in much-needed reform, a final vote was scuttled at the last moment — most likely killing off reform for the foreseeable future.

The non-partisan but Democrat-friendly National Immigration Forum was bitterly blunt in spelling out the reasons why:

There’s plenty of blame to go around. The White House could have played a stronger role, and the Majority Leader could have been more insistent on reigning in the hawks in his party seemingly intent on delaying or derailing the process. But in the end, we cannot escape the conclusion that the Democratic Senate leadership was more interested in keeping the immigration issue alive in the run up to mid-terms than in enacting immigration reform legislation.

The fiasco in the Senate Friday reminds us that while the Bush administration is one of the worst in memory, the overall dysfunction of the American political system overflows the simple party divide.

Read the whole discouraging story here.