Surprise! Hillary actually does want to give licenses to illegal aliens

posted at 7:30 am on November 1, 2007 by Bryan

So much for the inevitability of Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday night she spun herself into a hole in the ground on illegal immigration. On Wednesday she came out supporting giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens. It’s a policy that’s so sensible it has already inspired a Judicial Watch lawsuit to stop it.

After all of Hillary’s back and forth, she looks wishy-washy, dependent on focus-grouping before clearly stating her positions, and all while staking out ground on the wrong side of a serious issue.

A day after she appeared to struggle to give her views on the subject, Hillary Rodham Clinton offered support today for Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s effort to award New York driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, as her campaign sought to contain potentially damaging fallout from what her own supporters saw as a tense and listless debate performance.

Mrs. Clinton’s statement affirming her support of Mr. Spitzer in his office came less than a day after she offered a muddled and hesitant position on the bill, prompting a round of denunciations by her opponents. It signaled the extent to which her advisers viewed that moment as the biggest misstep she made in the debate, and one with long-term potential to undermine her candidacy.

“Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform,’” her campaign said.

Unbelievable. Shamnesty failed because it’s bad policy, but it’s bad policy that Clinton supported and still supports. How could any honest person turn all of that around into “this administration’s failure” without owning some part of that failure? No honest person could.

She’s trying to make up for her predicament by playing the poor, put-upon girl card — “The boys are being mean to me!” The Clinton campaign turned out this re-cut of the debate to make that point.

That video reeks of a desperation that someone with a 33-point lead ought not feel. It also unintentionally makes another point, which even the NY Times commenters are picking up on: Hillary keeps trying to position herself as a strong woman who’s ready for the fight, but the first time a fight comes her way she whiffs, getting flummoxed on a yes or no question, then crying about all of the attacks. They are attacking and from all sides. A truly tough person wouldn’t whine about it.

In adopting the radical Spitzer position on licenses for illegals after stumbling around both sides of it, Clinton is also reinforcing the image of herself as being overly cautious, unprincipled and ultimately owned by various liberal special interest groups. Not good. That she’s now taking a clearly unpopular and unwise position on an issue that’s as clear as giving valid drivers licenses to illegal aliens also won’t help her. This is not an issue that anyone needs to be a political junkie to get: You’re either for it or you’re not, and most Americans aren’t. She should have added Gray Davis to whatever focus group she used to arrive at her current position. He might have been able to warn her from the political grave.

To the extent that Hillary has given ammunition to whoever she’s up against in the general election next year, her opponent will need all the help he can get. The latest Pew poll has Republicans staring at the abyss.

One year before voters go to the polls to select the next president, the Republican Party is as weak as it has been in a generation, a detailed new poll suggests.

In a hypothetical match-up between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, bloc after bloc of traditionally Republican voters break for Clinton:

She wins the South.

She polls evenly with voters who attend church at least once a week.

She splits families with a household income above $100,000.

She loses rural voters and men — but only by a narrow margin.

All are constituencies Republicans have dominated for decades; George W. Bush won each by double-digit margins.

Caveats abound: We’re a year out, polls shift all the time, and there’s almost no way she’s taking the South. I say “almost” only because a Giuliani candidacy might put the South in play even while putting some blue states in play for the GOP, a possibility that ought to have party sages pulling their chins in deep thought since he’s the front-runner. Any other GOP candidate can just about count on the South, however weak he might be elsewhere. Hillary is disliked across the South like few people in US history. Looking at the current polls, though, the GOP ticket that makes the most sense from a purely electoral point of view may be Thompson-Giuliani. If Thompson can get it in gear and start inspiring, anyway. But even that ticket carries a few potential time bombs for the Republicans. All of the potential GOP tickets come packed with one time bomb or another.

Hillary’s support for granting licenses to illegals shores up her left flank a bit for now, but at the cost of letting anyone including Giuliani get to her right on that issue and on security as a broader issue. Let’s hope the Republicans figure out a way to capitalize on Hillary’s blunders.


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