At the elegant home of one of Washington's most gracious hostesses, some 300 loyal supporters gathered on September 17th to meet and hear from the leading Democratic contender for the Presidency of the United States. On a gloriously cool and clear night, the well-coiffed ladies and suited gentlemen were treated to the melodious offerings of Michael Feinstein, the purveyor of popular show tunes with special emphasis on Gershwin (he knew Ira well) and whom I had heard often when I lived in San Francisco.
The perfect stage for the candidate—and she lived up to the advance billing, touching on the people who made the evening possible, lauding our hostess and her three beautiful grandchildren who appeared on stage as she introduced her.
Another bravura performance. I'd witnessed her skills at close range at the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 and the UN Women's conference in Beijing in 1995 and on other occasions in the US, including a speech she made in Buffalo right after her election to the US Senate to a large crowd of people who were likely not of her party. In all cases she charmed and impressed.
Again, she covered the bases well—the Iraq fiasco, health care reform, the need to help the struggling middle class, Katrina, etc. She got a huge ovation and stayed around to shake hands until her hands must have felt the dishpan would have been easier.
Why not? The take was announced at $300,000—which, while not enough to offset the $850,000 her campaign had to return from Mr. Hsu, was a banner evening. (Norman Hsu, a suspect in a current campaign finance investigation, was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme in 1992, since which time he's been a fugitive. He's also an immigrant entrepreneur, from Hong Kong.)
I would respectfully remind Hilary Clinton that all those costly reforms will have a hard time getting funding against the continuing importation of legal and illegal aliens, as business and the ideological and ethnic lobbies are urging.
But her support comes largely from those groups.
It leaves me, as a Democrat, disappointed. I know it's an imperfect world, but why can't Hillary be as good on immigration as she is (in my opinion) on family planning and choice. (And why can't good people like Buchanan and Tancredo make sense on family planning?)
In the end, it is all about the numbers coming here and how we deal with the expected glut—10,000 more refugees from Iraq is but the first tranche.
Woe for America if this greed and the overlooking of the obvious continues.
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.