FAIR Activist Betting Clinton Will Keep Congressional Democrats in Check
An immigration reform activist believes Hillary Clinton's political aspirations could mean she will use her influence to keep the Democrat-controlled Congress from doing anything drastic with regard to U.S. immigration policy.
When the Democrats won control of Congress this past November, the conventional wisdom among secure borders advocates was that President Bush would finally get his wish — an amnesty plan for millions of illegal aliens. But Susan Tully, national field director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), does not think that will necessarily be the case because many freshmen Democrats in Congress oppose amnesty. However, that is not the only reason why she believes amnesty legislation will not be immediately forthcoming.
There is another factor in play, Tully notes. "I'm putting my money right now on Hillary Clinton keeping the Democrats from doing anything too radical over the next two years," she says, "because this woman wants to be elected president."
Of course, the FAIR spokeswoman points out, everything would change after 2008, particularly if Senator Clinton were elected. "If she's president, they still maintain the House and Senate majority on the Democratic side," the immigration reform advocate contends. "Then you will see amnesty and everything," she adds, "but I think until then Hillary Clinton will be the controlling factor in the Democratic Party."
Prior to the next presidential elections, Mrs. Clinton will not want to anger conservatives or do anything to catalyze strong conservative voter turnout, Tully speculates. "I believe that Hillary Clinton very much wants to be a presidential candidate for 2008," the activist observes, "and she's a very powerful person on the Democratic side in terms of keeping her party under control."
Tully says her guess is that Senator Clinton is going to try very hard to keep the Democrats "under wraps" when it comes to legislating amnesty or enacting any other kind of radical liberal policies. FAIR's national field director insists that Clinton is unlikely "to do anything that would infuriate the conservative base" or that would cause them to turn out en masse in 2008.
McCain Won't Excite Conservatives, Says Former Liberal
An author and self-professed former liberal says he doesn't think Arizona Senator John McCain is going to excite conservatives as the 2008 "presidential sweepstakes" kick into high gear. He believes there are a couple of alternatives who might be more attractive to the conservative voting bloc.
Political analyst Keith Thompson is the author of Leaving the Left: Moments in the News That Made Me Ashamed to Be a Liberal. He says while John McCain remains the nominal frontrunner at this very early stage of the process, the Arizona senator has had a bad track record with conservatives, particularly on the border issue and judicial nominees. Thompson contends that McCain, were he to run, would even have to compete for the moderate Republican vote.
"Guest what? [Former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani is looking at getting in the race, too," the author observes. "So those two guys split that moderate [voting bloc], which is not the predominant voice in the Republican Party anyway."
Thompson describes McCain's support in the GOP as "a mile wide but an inch deep." Among the factors that would count against the Arizona senator among Republican conservatives, says the author, are "his attempts to curry favor with religious conservatives after spending so much of his career dissing those voters … actually serving as a thorn in the sides of the conservatives on judicial nominations, and favoring this open borders amnesty approach."
So Thompson says even a longshot like California Congressman Duncan Hunter could cash in on the conservative GOP support. And while he believes Hunter is "good on the issues" and a "credible, strong guy," he says questions still remain.
"How he'll actually play [among voters is unknown]," he concedes. "There are so many factors [that come into play]." Hunter, he says, needs to be able to raise money and avoid verbal gaffes on the campaign trail.
According to Thompson, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney remains another "McCain alternative," even though some evangelicals have a problem with his well-documented flip-flopping on hot-button issues like abortion and same-sex "marriage."