Hey, remember when Amy Klobuchar was considered one of the moderates in the Democrat presidential primary race? Apparently she has decided she doesn’t like running in that lane. It sure looks like she is doing all she can to move farther left as she campaigns in Nevada ahead of this week’s caucuses.
Recently Ed wrote about the scrutiny Klobuchar is receiving now that she’s made it this far in the primary race. The issue that really jumps out is that of immigration. She is striking an apologetic tone for her votes taken as a new senator in 2007 on immigration issues like the wall and designating English as the national language.
In 2007, Klobuchar supported a bill to increase the length of the border wall and also increase the number of Border Patrol agents. Her yes vote was the same as Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s at the time. Bernie Sanders, however, voted no. Sanders was opposed to the bill because he thought it would bring too many low-skilled guest workers into the country. Now that the far left open borders crowd no longer tolerate any support for ICE or the Border Patrol agents working on the border, Klobuchar is, for the first time, facing scrutiny on her past votes.
After taking office in 2007, she voted in favor of a bill that called for 370 miles (595 kilometers) of “triple-layered (border) fencing” and 500 miles (800 kilometers) of vehicle barriers. It also sought to roughly double the number of Border Patrol agents from about 12,000 at the time, adding 11,600 agents over five years. Obama and then-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton also voted for the bill. Sanders voted no. He said in 2015 that he opposed the 2007 bill because it included a guest worker program that would allow too many low-wage workers into the U.S.
Klobuchar said Friday that she took “a lot of heat” during the 2006 Senate race for being too lenient on immigration, saying that almost every ad run against her was about immigration but that her support for immigrants “has not wavered.”
“Immigrants don’t diminish America — they are America,” she said in Reno on Friday afternoon.
Now that questions are being asked and she is being held accountable for positions that still seem perfectly reasonable – supporting a border wall and increasing Border Patrol numbers – she conflates legal immigration with illegal immigration. Pete Buttigieg, another candidate in the so-called moderate lane, is calling her out, without specifically naming her, for voting to confirm Kevin McAleenan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.
“I’ve heard some people say that, you know, my experience is not relevant because you have to have Washington experience in order to become a president,” Buttigieg said during a forum hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest Hispanic civil rights organization. “But some of those same voices are among those who voted to confirm Kevin McAleenan as the CBP head who presided over, for example, the horrifying conditions that children were kept in, and we have to look at what kind of judgment that experience has brought.”
She claims that she voted to confirm McAleenan because Obama officials and others recommended she do so. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada also voted for his confirmation. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren voted against him. Now Klobuchar says she disagrees “vehemently” with the Trump administration’s border policies.
There is also the matter of that vote Klobuchar took in 2007 to reverse President Clinton’s executive order requiring federal agencies to provide materials in languages other than English. She was one of 17 Democrats that voted yes. The vote was 64-33 but the larger immigration bill failed. Today’s Democrat candidates can’t support an amendment to declare English as the national language of the United States, you know. There is simply no room for common sense. Other red-state Democrats supported the bill. Bernie and Joe Biden both voted no, as well as Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Now she is back-peddling as fast as she can – that was way back then.
“I think that when you look at a state like this state, and a country like ours that is so diverse, you don’t want to have that provision in law because then it would be very difficult to have, say, government documents and other things translated into other languages,” she said Friday. “So that is not a position I take. I did vote that way, but way back then, along with many other people.”
“I embrace immigrants,” Klobuchar said following a tour of the Culinary Health Center, which serves members of the majority female and Latino Culinary Union, among the most powerful union in Nevada politics.
Political candidates have to win Hispanic votes in Nevada. This is Klobuchar’s first experience in a state like Nevada. She has to convince voters that she isn’t just flip-flopping for political expediency. One social justice organizer called her past votes as “a huge red flag for our community.” Klobuchar isn’t a charismatic candidate so she has to rely on trying to sound sincere on her change of thought. Mostly she just sounds like she is trying too hard.
Speaking of trying too hard – Klobuchar’s appearance of Bill Maher’s HBO show Friday night produced a strange misstatement from the candidate. She went along with Maher’s claim that Thomas Jefferson was only 5′ 4″ in height. It happened when Maher and Klobuchar were talking about Trump’s tweets about “Mini Mike” Bloomberg. Trump says that Bloomberg is 5′ 4″ but his medical records have his height recorded as 5′ 7″. Klobuchar is 5′ 4″ herself and said so. Then it got weird.
“I am the only one that is truly 5 foot 4,” Klobuchar said in the interview that aired Friday.
But then Maher chimed in with an incorrect statement: “Thomas Jefferson was 5 foot 4.”
Klobuchar pointed at the HBO host in agreement: “Exactly!”
“There is a president that was 5 foot 4. Jefferson,” Klobuchar said.
Oh boy. That was a little crazy, right? The president who was that height was James Madison, not Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was 6′ 2″, which makes him one of the tallest presidents. Did she not want to correct Maher in front of his audience or is she so easily prone to misspeak when the pressure to perform is on?
On a more serious note, Klobuchar couldn’t name the president of Mexico when asked to do so on Thursday night by a Telemundo reporter after the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) presidential forum. Tom Steyer couldn’t, either.
“I forgot,” said billionaire Steyer, when asked if he could name Mexico’s president.
“No,” admitted Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota.
Showing them up was Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor and youngest of the eight candidates battling for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Lopez Obrador… I hope,” he answered, hesitatingly.
Steyer didn’t vote for USMCA, though. Klobuchar did. Shouldn’t she at least have known the names of the leaders involved in that international trade agreement?