Did you see Hillary try to get on both sides of the NY State drivers' license issue in the Democratic Presidential debate on October 30th? I'm a Democrat, but Hillary may well have lost my vote right there. Furthermore, I can see a Howard Dean-type meltdown in progress.
Democratic contenders have tried to stay away from immigration as long as possible. But Governor Spitzer's action has forced it out of the policy closet.
From a November 2nd Washington Post piece Issue of Illegal Immigration Is Quandary for Democrats, By Perry Bacon Jr. and Anne E. Kornblut:
"But after Hillary Rodham Clinton (D.-NY) struggled to answer a question during Tuesday's debate about whether she supports a proposal to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, the topic burst into the forefront of the primary campaign and exposed a quandary for Democratic candidates, who broadly embrace immigrant-friendly policies."
When Tim Russert, the moderator, asked Clinton [Youtube]why she had told a New Hampshire newspaper[The Nashua Telegraph—watch video of her being interviewed by their editorial board, and being questioned by Brazilian-American journalist Eduardo Oliveira.] that the Spitzer plan "makes a lot of sense" she replied that Spitzer is "trying to fill the vacuum left by the failure this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform." Then shortly after she added, "I just want to add, I did not say it should be done, but I certainly understand why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it."
Talk about both sides of her mouth!
The Post reports: "The moment was more than just a stumble for the Democratic front-runner. It also illustrated the fine line Democrats, who depend heavily on the Hispanic vote and soft-pedal the idea of harsh penalties for people who enter the country illegally, will have to walk on the issue"
We Op-Ed types sit around thinking up neat phrases and often feel we are real wordsmiths. But the Post solicited comments from readers. Here is just one example: "tma from Sierra Hills", thus I presume the Western US, quoted the article, "Former Clinton aide Simon Rosenberg, head of NDN, a Democratic think tank…said, 'Every Democrat in this country is for comprehensive immigration reform'", and wrote:
"The above statement once again demonstrates that the Democrats have learned absolutely nothing on this issue. As with Bush Republicans, so-called 'comprehensive immigration reform' always turns out to mean yet more amnesties, which most Americans thoroughly oppose. Whatever glimmers of hope there seem to be in the polls for Democrat and Bush-Republican immigration apologists are illusionary. The only way that polling can sometimes be made to squeeze out a halfway favorable result for Bush-Democrat immigration policies is by asking people who do not follow politics closely, which is most people, whether they support 'comprehensive reform,' or a 'path to citizenship.' Well, duh, who in the world is going to answer, 'No, I want NON-comprehensive, scattershot reform! And, by the way—NO PATH!!'
But the most explosive part of this issue—so explosive the press never mentions it, as this report demonstrates, since it hits too close to home—is that liberal Democrats have for decades been tirelessly presenting themselves as champions of environmental protection, while for those same decades they have been avidly supporting pro-overpopulation immigration policies that will someday turn the United States into a environmentally destroyed teeming Third-World anthill. No, sorry, this is not some oh-so 'complex,' gosh-let's-put-on-our-thinking-caps, issue for Democratic leaders. This is an evil lie they have been foisting on the American electorate and it is now, at long last, coming back to squash them like bugs."
Wow. I've never done better! There are a bunch of other comments posted about this article from real people, not journalists, with real writing skills, which you can go access here.
And also it is way past time for some serious talk about how to do reform. Once you have let a bad policy go on for a long time, it gets really tough to solve. The perfect example from our history was slavery. It was rampant at the time our Founding Fathers accomplished that unique creation we now call the USA. Even they, many of whom owned slaves, didn't want to face the issue. Finally the most traumatic event in our Republic's history, the Civil War, was the result.
"Now", to quote our Civil War President, Abraham Lincoln, "we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
The battlefield upon which we are met is now not only our country but the entire planet. You see, the world is migrating. Annually the planet adds a net increase in human numbers of births over deaths of 75 million. While that number may be declining, it will easily, according to the UN estimates, lead to a world population of 9 to 12 billion by 2100 and a US population of probably 1 billion by then, or over 3 times the present US population of 305 million.
Thus, American citizens, who see their tax-supported services, their environment, their entry level jobs for their children, their public safety infringed by MS-13 types, and their culture and language attacked and denigrated by those who would diminish the uniqueness of our great Republic, must really rise to the next election and throw the rascals out.
It won't be easy, because of the kind of sophistry you will hear from our major media. Don't be fooled. They are very worried that you will not listen to their siren songs.
And of course it is so easy to do nothing. To watch the NFL games and believe our leaders are playing fair.
However, I am encouraged. Most of us now get it. We know our present leaders are not playing for us. They have sold out. Immigration reform could happen in short order if our leaders had the will. But instead little cities like Hazleton, PA have had to fight the juggernaut of the powerful American Civil Liberties Union, which has clearly identified itself with those who seek to stop any meaningful limitation on alien entry into our country.
2008 is a critical year. Much as I, particularly a Democrat, would welcome the first woman President or the first African American President, I am afraid that neither of those candidates, or any of the other Democrats running, have seen the real depth of concern among their fellow citizens.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.