As I reported earlier today, Hillary Clinton has come down on the radical side of granting drivers licenses to illegal aliens. That’s going to resonate in a bad way with the voters, both in the primaries and the general if she gets that far.
Voters want control of the borders and workplace and recreating an immigration system that works and oppose driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants – positions supported by about two-thirds of the country. For them, that is the starting point, the common sense of the issue. If political leaders do not start there, they are not likely to be heard on other steps.
That’s from the latest Democracy Corps (James Carville et al) look at the electorate. And it’s quoted in this very cogent post on theGarance, a liberal blog.
Perhaps I am not giving my fellow Americans enough credit, however, it seems to me that the Democratic presidential field last night just committed suicide en masse, with Hillary Clinton the last to swallow the poison by holding out until this afternoon to endorse New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to give illegal immigrants some form of driver’s licenses.
First, let us recall that the reason comprehensive immigration reform failed this past year was not because the president blocked it, but because the people rose up and opposed it. Recall also that Spitzer’s initial plan on driver’s licenses failed, for similar reasons. John McCain’s candidacy crumbled in the face of his support for immigration reform.
Read the whole thing. I’m probably giving it a kiss of death by endorsing it from this political point of view, but it’s right on the money.
Now, that said, how is Hillary responding to the immigration ripples that she started on debate night when she flip-flopped around whether or not to give illegal aliens legal drivers licences? Not well.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) top advisers, doing damage control after the candidate’s debate performance Tuesday, told supporters on a conference call Wednesday that the campaign needed more money to fight back.
More money? The Clinton campaign has raised more money than any previous campaign in history. They don’t need more money. They need a coherent position, and a candidate who believes in it and can convince the voters that she believes in it.
[Clinton advisor Mark Penn], Mantz and several supporters hinted repeatedly on the call that Clinton was unfairly targeted by Tim Russert, debate moderator and host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Russert made it appear that President Clinton had done something new or unusual,” Penn said, before adding that it “is, in fact, an extremely confusing situation … I think there will be further clarification.”
While one supporter voiced his concern that the Clinton campaign is not devoting enough money and staff to Iowa, lagging behind Obama, most supporters who commented on the call expressed their displeasure with what they saw as the moderators’ focus on Clinton.
One caller from Oklahoma City said that “the questions … were designed to incite a brawl,” and that Russert’s and Brian Williams’s moderating was “an abdication of journalistic responsibility.”
Another said Russert “should be shot,” before quickly adding that she shouldn’t say that on a conference call.
Penn and Mantz said they were hearing a lot of the same sentiment from other supporters, but they do not plan to engage the media or the debate’s moderators.
Call the waaaambulance, folks. Your candidate is the front-runner. She’s going to be the focus of the debates and she’s going to be asked tough questions. If Hillary can’t face down Tim Russert over a question about the drivers licenses for illegal aliens, how on earth can she face down the mad mullahs over questions about whether or not they’re gunning to nuke Israel?
She’d better learn, and fast. Two-thirds of the voters don’t support her radical position on illegal immigration. Those voters get it; elite Democrats like Hillary and Harry Reid (and too many elite Republicans too) don’t get it. They all just see cheap labor and potential voters. They don’t see or choose not to see the costs in real dollars and national security and national integrity that having essentially no border creates. But 66% of the country sees it, and they’ll vote accordingly.
Update: CNS News went to the Hill to get a few Republicans and Democrats on the record re licenses for illegals.