I really thought that this Presidential primary season would be the most boring since Millard Fillmore was a nominee. Boy was I wrong! There were some surprises on the Republican side, but right now they are moot. Still, college classes in marketing, advertising, and political science will be deconstructing Mike Huckabee’s campaign for years to come trying to figure out how he did so much with so little.
But the GOP race was nothing compared to the excitement on the Democrat side! I (and most of the rest of the country) expected the primary season to be little more than a year-long coronation ceremony for Hillary Clinton. Then, out of left field (pun most definitely intended) came Barack Obama. All of a sudden, this race has become downright fascinating! What astounds me as much as anything else is my own reaction.
I have only voted Democrat twice in my life, both times to support a candidate I had met personally over a Republican who had done something to tick me off as a voter. I almost did it again on Tuesday. I’m not entirely sure if the reason I didn’t was because Texas is a closed primary state and my conscience would not allow me to register as a Democrat (the Democratic party and I differ over several fundamental issues–most notably the abortion issue) or if I didn’t do it just because I was too doggone sick the past two months to go to the courthouse. (Yes, I did get the flu shot, for all the good it did.)
What I can’t quite believe, though, is who would have gotten my vote if I had. I have spent the past 15 years or so despising Hillary Clinton. I thought she was “a pushy broad” on the 1992 campaign trail, and then I found her picture on the cover of Life magazine in the UGA Library Archives (my favorite place to kill an hour between classes while I was in college), and it confirmed my suspicions. She was conducting an anti-Vietnam War protest at Radcliffe right about the time she had been chosen valedictorian, and her face was contorted with hate. At least (unlike her husband), she had the decency to conduct her protest within our borders. You can protest our government all you want, just do it inside the U.S. Airing our dirty laundry in a foreign country is unforgiveable. (Got THAT, Dixie Twits?!?)
When Hillary’s mandatory socialized health care program died a phlegmatic death in Congress, no one was more celebratory than I. When Bill’s flagrant infidelities and supercilious defense (“It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is….”) made me, for the one and only time in my life, feel ashamed to be an American (another unforgivable offense, but, again, that is a Tale for another day), I was unsympathetic to the aggrieved wife.
Yet, the political junkie in me could not resist watching on CNN the Democrats’ debate when they were in Austin a few weeks ago. I was astounded to listen to Hillary. From the first words out of her mouth, it was clear that she had done her homework. She knew how to hit every hot button square on the mark, and what was a friendly audience to begin with was eating out of her hand before the first question was lobbed. Obama, on the other hand, just didn’t seem comfortable. He stammered inordinately, and his skin tone was a most unnatural color– he just didn’t look like the Barack Obama who had been all over the news for the past couple of months. I couldn’t decide if he was debilitatingly ill or if the makeup person before the debate had really flubbed it (I learned later that it was the former–perhaps the only time Barack Obama and I will ever have something in common).
I was intrigued, but pushed my astonishment aside when life insisted on continuing. Then, this Monday, Sen. Clinton conducted a live interview on KTRH, my news radio station of choice (their 30 minute newscast fits nicely with my 40 minute commute). The first question was about her ideas for fixing the immigration problem. As I listened, I was shocked to realize that she had the most sensible, pragmatic, practical, and workable solution offered by any candidate of any party.
I am oversimplifying here, but I have been verbose enough tonight. The highlights of Senator Clinton’s plan include:
- First, and foremost, secure the borders. Nothing else we do will matter a hill of beans if our borders remain a sieve.
- She acknowleged that the popular and knee-jerk solution for the 12 million illegals already here is to round them up and ship them home, but then she logically explained why it won’t work:
- It would rack up a price tag that NONE of us are willing to pay
- It would trample the civil rights of EVERY American (I loved the way she put it–“Do YOU want federal agents banging on YOUR door to YOUR home and YOUR place of business, demanding to search for illegals?” I had to admit, my answer was “no.”)
- What to do then? Sooner or later, each of those 12 million illegals will come to the attention of “the system.”
- When they do, conduct a criminal background check. If they committed a crime, whether in their country or ours, they go back.
- If they are clean, they must pay every penny of the back taxes they incurred while living here illegally.
- They must learn English.
- When they have done all of these things, if they want to stay here, they must get to the back of the line for a work visa/citizenship.
- Oh, and the businesses that hire illegals? Prosecute them into oblivion.
I’m not yet saying I’m supporting the junior senator from New York, but it is giving me food for thought which I never anticipated being served. Still, if she gets the Democratic nomination and John McCain ignores the conservatives in the GOP or worse, selects that two-faced hypocrite Mitt Romney as a running mate, I will seriously consider “crossing over to the Dark Side.” Only time will tell.