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November 06, 2007

Clinton is Bleeding

Columnist James Pinkerton has an interesting article premised on the idea that Clinton's support for drivers licenses for illegals is "a slow hemorrhaging" that will finish her off in the general even as it's ignored during the primaries.

He analogizes her situation to that of Michael Dukakis in 1988. Dukakis was way out ahead of Bush 41 in the national polls after having shrugged off attacks from then-Senator Al Gore on the topic of prison furloughs during the primary.

I'll cut to the chase, but you should read it all:

Now fast-forward to 2007. I'm long out of partisan campaign politics, but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reminds me a lot of Dukakis. As he was two decades ago, she's from a big state, has a lot of money, is ahead in the polls - and she's been grievously injured. This time, the issue isn't prison furloughs, but driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in her "home" state of New York. Clinton has broadly defended Gov. Eliot Spitzer's unpopular plan, even as most New Yorkers have reviled it.

During the Philadelphia debate of Democratic hopefuls on Oct. 30, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, aiming from way back in the Democratic pack, took a stab at Clinton. Her position was "troublesome," he said, adding, "I think the American people are reacting to it."

Yes, they are, but not inside the "nominating wing" of the Democratic Party, which doesn't worry about illegal immigration. So just as Gore failed to get anywhere in criticizing Dukakis 20 years ago, Dodd is not destined to get any lift from his Clinton criticism.

But the country, of course, is bigger than a few lefty-dominated presidential primaries and caucuses. If Spitzer can't sell his licenses-for-illegals plan to New Yorkers in 2007, how can Clinton hope to defend that plan to Americans in 2008?

This may explain why she's starting to backpedal.

CROWLEY: If I wrote a story that said: "Absent a broad illegal immigration bill, Hillary Clinton agrees about giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants," is that correct?

CLINTON: No. What I have said is that I support what governors are trying to do. And governors are on the front lines because of the failures to get comprehensive immigration reform.

Video at the second link if you want to subject yourself to both Clinton and Candy Crowley. Masochist.

UPDATE: Moron km points me to this post of his from last week.

I don't think this makes much difference to Democratic primary voters and caucus goers. They probably agree with her. There's a lot they favor when it comes to illegal aliens: sanctuary cities and in-state college tuition, to name a couple.

So for the time being, this is no big deal.

Assuming she gets the nomination, though, it will be a huge deal.

km has more good stuff at the link.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:56 PM

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