It's Illegal Immigration, Stupid
It may well be that there are now so many so-called third rails of American politics that they constitute a third-rail field, a tightly laid grid to fry the hair of any national candidate who missteps.
Until Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton had been successfully levitating above the field, in more ways than one. But then her competitors ganged up to expose her obfuscatory footwork, stimulated by questions from NBC's resident Grand Inquisitor Tim Russert, who clearly left her yearning for the gentlemen of Fox News, debates on which channel she has previously forsworn.
Mrs. Clinton had not a good night, on issues ranging from Iran to secret Clinton White House papers (Mr. and Mrs.) not yet stolen and destroyed by former Clinton (Mr.) National Security Advisor and current Clinton (Mrs.) campaign advisor Sandy Berger.
Even before the debate was over, Mrs. Clinton, who is, after all, running for the most important government position in the world, transformed herself from Wonder Woman to victim, for the umpteenth time. Hey, it's worked before.
In the closing minutes of the debate, all that had gone before became far less important.
Tim Russert asked Mrs. Clinton why New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants "makes a lot of sense," as she had previously told a New Hampshire newspaper. She backed. She filled. She dodged. She weaved. She went hither, thither and yon.
Much has been made by commentators about her attempts to be on all sides. But the extended debate exchange as well as a "clarifying" statement issued by her campaign the following day ensured the amplification of Mrs. Clinton's views on illegal immigration for the rest of the campaign, both primary and general.
While she can dance like a star as long as she wants, her position is actually as transparent as the fact that she voted and spoke for amnesty for illegal aliens and just about every other backdoor effort at amnesty plus benefits since. That's where she is and is going to be, no matter what she says in any forum anywhere.
Governor Spitzer's plan to provide driver's licenses to illegals is just the latest in a long line of efforts by politicians to thwart the will of the people with regard to the issue. He attempted to do it by Executive Order. At last count, 72 percent of New Yorkers oppose the plan. Those would be New Yorkers whom Hillary Clinton theoretically represents in the U.S. Senate.
When the U.S. Senate attempted to ram amnesty for illegal aliens down the throat of the American people, they rose up as one in remarkable bipartisan opposition, with intensity to match numbers that is rarely seen. Even so, many politicians and many in the mainstream media have not yet fully appreciated the new megawatt third rail that opposition to illegal immigration has become across the country, crossing all traditional political and geographical and demographic lines. Unlike other issues, this one is immediate, up close and personal. It's not going away.
Mrs. Clinton got her first real political shock regarding illegal immigration Tuesday night. It will not be her last, and it may well turn out to be her ultimate undoing.November 2, 2007
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