Slouching Towards Disaster
The Democrats' immigration time-bomb.
11:00 PM, Nov 15, 2007 • By DEAN BARNETT
AS THE DEMOCRATS brought their weary road show to Vegas tonight, most analysts suspected that Hillary Clinton would get a mulligan on the illegal immigration question that she botched so badly at their last tussle. It played out as expected. Right out of the box, Campbell Brown asked the candidates about illegal immigration. Rather than focus on their own purported solutions to the crisis, they collectively decided to focus their ire on George W. Bush for not solving the problem first.
This has become the default refrain for Democrats when they have nothing to say or no real means of moving the ball forward--blame Bush. Among the more fevered elements of their base, it usually works. They blame Bush for everything, so of course they were willing to blame him for a liberal governor's dreadful plan to grant licenses to illegal immigrants, and a presidential aspirant's clumsy refusal to distance herself from such foolishness.
EVEN DAVID BRODER WADDLED towards the immigration issue Wednesday, calling it the Democrats' potential "iceberg." The fact that it took the Dean of Washington Journalism five months after McCain/Kennedy went down to discover this obvious fact provides some indication of just how out of touch Washington is when it comes to the immigration issue.
A quick example: In the rather important state of Ohio, the Quinnipiac outfit polled Ohioans this week on whether they supported the idea of giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. The answer won't surprise anyone who's paid attention to the immigration debate, but it has stunned the Beltway class. 84 percent said it was a bad idea, while a whopping 11 percent thought it was a good idea.
To get back to Hillary, one can't help but wonder why she endorsed the Spitzer plan--or quasi-endorsed it or semi-endorsed it or whatever she did when Tim Russert questioned her on the matter. Perhaps she was a prisoner of her conscience, and was courageously willing to accept the political consequences for taking an unpopular position. (I'll pause for a moment to give you a chance to wipe the coffee off your computer screen.)
To find the answer to this puzzler, apply Occam's Razor--Senator Clinton had no idea how unpopular her semi-position would be. Indeed, the entire Democratic slate of presidential aspirants still doesn't grasp the visceral reactions that illegal immigration elicits. Here's another nugget from the Quinnipiac Ohio poll: 61 percent oppose giving a public school education to the children of illegal immigrants.