Hillary's New Gaffe - The Elite's Constant Refrain
But the GOP isn't the only party whose elite is sharply disconnected from the voters. The democrat party elite embrace open borders even more fervently than the republicans - and with the open hope that immigration with erase the US's white majority and thus increase the country's racial diversity and thus its political power base. The problem is that the democrat voters don't necessarily share their party's elite's open borders enthusiasm. And to the extent that democrat leaders and candidate misread the wishes of their voters, they may well end up falling into the same trap the GOP did.
Hillary Clinton is a prime example. The Clinton campaign cruised solidly through last summer with its "aura of inevitability" very secure. No one doubted that she would be party's nominee (and she may well still be). Then in a democrat debate in late October, Mrs. Clinton stumbled - and stumbled badly. Asked whether she supported New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's recently announced plans to give state drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, Mrs. Clinton tap-danced around the question, defending the governor, but refusing to answer the question. Her opponents pounced on her failure to provide a clear answer to a simple question. The next day Mrs. Clinton affirmed that she did indeed support the plan.
This proved that Mrs. Clinton and the democrat party's leadership (both in New York and nationwide) are every bit as deaf to their base as their GOP counterparts. Why? Because even in liberal New York State, Spitzer's plan constituted an act of political suicide with voters. According to polls taken at the time, 75 percent of New Yorkers strongly opposed the governor's plans. In fact, Spitzer's approval numbers, already battered by a minor press scandal, collapsed after he announced his plan. Faced with a firestorm from his own constituents, and some say, fury from the Clinton staff, Spitzer hastily abandoned his plan just two weeks after it tripped Clinton up.
It is impossible to believe that Mrs. Clinton was unaware of the popular opposition against Spitzer's plan. Even if her focus is entirely on pursuing national office, her New York office staff and her campaign staff must have seen the polls - one assumes they do at least read the New York newspapers. This is why she tap-danced at the debate. Like most democrat leaders, Hillary wholeheartedly accepts leftist dogma about multiculturalism, the value of diversity, and the need for mass immigration to build up the party's voter base. But she also knows that the party's white, working class base is deeply ambivalent to, or opposes outright, the effort to change the nation's demographic and cultural landscape, and that many black and even native born Latino voters resent illegal immigrants. Still, she couldn't resist ultimately siding with the governor because she needed to appease the political elite who run her party (and the GOP, too) and because she didn't want to offend Latino voters, who constitute a growing portion of the democrat vote. So, just like President Bush and many leading GOP office holders, she dismissed the concerns of more than three quarters of her constituents, and embraced what they detested.
Since this, the Clinton campaign has faltered badly, leading to her stunning defeat in Iowa and her scramble to hold off the Obama challenge. One wonders what the state of her campaign would be today if she had denounced Governor Spitzer's plan that night and called for greater enforcement.
But the lesson of the Spitzer plan debacle has apparently been lost on Mrs. Clinton. Campaigning in a heavily Latino neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week, Mrs. Clinton demonstrated her inability to understand the American electorate once again.
Clinton and her busload of traveling press moved from there to the popular local Mexican restaurant Lindo Michoacan, where a "roundtable" that was actually square passed a microphone around to tell her people's concerns about the mortgage crisis and foreclosures. She took notes and munched on tortilla chips.That's exactly the sort of statement that may come back to haunt her, since it flies in the face of the expressed opinions of the majority of Americans who want illegal immigration stopped.
In broken English, one woman told Clinton how she wasn't making money as a broker anymore.
"I have no income at all," she said. "So how will I survive?"
Choking up with emotion, the woman said, "In my neighborhood, there are brand-new homes, but the value is nothing. I'm glad you are here so I can tell you, because you're going to be the president, I know."
A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.
"No woman is illegal," Clinton said, to cheers.
True, the other democrat candidates support open borders immigration and amnesty for illegals as well, but they have avoided making an issue out of it. And the Republicans, who have now almost uniformly embraced immigration enforcement, find themselves fighting an uphill battle trying to resurrect their fortunes amidst the economic and political mess created by the Bush administration's financial mismanagement and foreign policy disasters. Indeed, the fallout from President Bush's two terms has been the fracturing of the republican coalition, disillusionment and detachment among any republican voters and a highly motivated surge of left-of-center and moderate voters to push the GOP out of the White House.
Right now it's still the democrat's election to lose, and Hillary's nomination to lose before that. But if Mrs. Clinton and, ultimately, her party, continue to badly misread the voters, then no one else will be to blame for the outcome.