Power to the (Legal) People

It shouldn't be this hard.

As the last year has shown, there is no issue on which our political leaders and elites are more utterly disconnected from the overwhelming majority of American voters than the subject of illegal immigration.

This past summer, despite the support of the President, both the Democratic and Republican leadership, clear majorities in both houses of Congress, and the enthusiastic cheer-leading of the media, the fury of the American people was sufficient to prevent the passage of a bill offering, in effect, amnesty to all illegal aliens.

At the same time, Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, previously clearly front-running, smashed headlong through a brick wall and over a cliff because of his support for the hated amnesty bill, from which he is only now beginning to recover slightly.

Ordinarily, this would be sufficient to assuage the offended American public, and allow them to return to their usual political somnolence.  But illegal immigration is no ordinary issue.  The tens of millions of illegals, and tens of millions of others who are now legal, but were illegal prior to past amnesties, have now reached the point of saturation.

For an increasing majority of Americans, not a day goes by without an "in your face" encounter with the whole disgraceful mess.  Groups of aggressive, unemployed men lounge in parking lots and on street corners hoping to find day labor.  Single-family homes, with overflowing driveways, are illegally subdivided into rooms-for rent.  Unpleasant incidents with "uninsured motorists" or on the rise.  And even trivial processes like communicating a fast-food order become a burden.

The dedication and determination of the rich elites, insulated by their wealth from any of the harmful effects of open borders, keeps the issue on the front burner and boiling over.  Hardly had the summer amnesty bill been swept away (accompanied by the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth by the Powers that Be), when various local authorities attempted to come up with their own little local amnesty.

Forgetting what exactly caused the unprecedented recall of California's Democratic Governor Gray Davis, several cities in Connecticut announced plans to produce identity cards for all local residents, legal or illegal, entitling them to local government services at taxpayer expense.  But Americans are not really used to local IDs, and pretty much left this alone.

Then Democratic Governor Elliot Spitzer of New York decided to do exactly what got Gov. Davis in trouble - namely, issue drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants.  A firestorm exploded immediately.  From the top, the Department of Homeland Security pointed out that, while New York did have the right to make this decision, it would make all New York State drivers' licenses invalid for use at airport security or government offices.  And from the bottom, many DMV employees flatly refused to comply with the governor's directive, rightly viewing it as tantamount to treason.

Straight into this noxious morass sailed Hillary Clinton.  In the days leading up to last week's Democratic debate, she was asked repeatedly by reporters for her views on the subject.  She said she was all for it.  Then she said she wasn't.  Then she said she understood the concern, but it was the job of the feds to deal with it.  Then she said the states had to deal with it because the feds hadn't passed the amnesty bill.  Then she said...

One might reasonably expect the Senator from New York to have an opinion on what a New York State drivers' license ought to be.  But it became increasingly apparent that either she didn't have one -- which is bad -- or didn't dare state it plainly -- which is worse.  So naturally, at the Democratic debate, both the moderator and all the other candidates immediately bludgeoned Hillary with her own words.

No power on earth can force Hillary to take a position on the issue of immigration, but the electorate is now responding.  Recent polls have her falling in New Hampshire and John Edwards' lead in Iowa is expanding.  Will that power -- the power of the people -- force her to carve out a firm position moving forward?

The issue of illegal immigration is of such profundity, and cuts so deeply to the very heart of what America is and who Americans are, that for a potential President of the United States to decline an opinion on the subject is totally unacceptable.

It should also be noted that once this tremendous flaw was thrown in the face of the American people, a pattern began to emerge: what, exactly does Hillary believe?  On anything?  Has she ever come out and clearly said?  And, on those few things where she has a clear position, most notoriously Hillarycare, is that really what we want?

Today we hear that Gov. Spitzer has thrown in the towel on his misbegotten plan, having succeeded in infuriating the left (by backing down on the licenses for illegals), the right (by offering them in the first place), the center (by looking incompetent and wishy-washy), and the high powers of his party (by creating the cesspool that Hillary is now floundering in.)  Good show, Governor!

But the most cheerful aspect of this whole saga is, that in the State of New York -- with its glorious Ellis Island history; massive immigrant exurbias; an overpowering liberal-media establishment; a Democratic governor and Democratic senators; -- the fury of the voters was able to kick this travesty to the curb.

It's enough to give one hope that the problem might actually be fixed someday!

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Immigration.
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