Should John Fund demand a byline on Wash. Times editorial?

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

On August 16, The Washington Times published an editorial claiming that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) are repositioning themselves on immigration issues in preparation for 2008 presidential bids. The editorial is strikingly similar in content and language to an August 15 op-ed written by Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund. Media Matters for America offers a comparison of the two opinion pieces.

Both Fund's op-ed and the Times editorial offered Clinton and Richardson as examples of Democrats allegedly shifting their positions on immigration, and both offered the same examples to demonstrate this purported shift, such as a July 18 speech Clinton gave to the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group. Other similarities abound:

Fund's Aug. 15 op-ed

Aug. 16 Washington Times editorial

On Richardson's alleged shift in policy

But Mr. Richardson sang a different tune in late 2003, when he showed up at a rally for the "Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride" and told them, "¡Viva la raza! ... Thank you for coming to Santa Fe. Know that New Mexico is your home. We will protect you. You have rights here."

This year Mr. Richardson began changing his tune. In March, he appeared on Fox News Sunday with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and called for "tough law enforcement, more border guards, a crackdown on illegal smuggling, better detection of those that overstay their visas, stolen/lost passports."

The evidence for Richardson's shift

On Friday Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, declared a "state of emergency" in four New Mexico border counties due to "a chaotic situation involving illegal alien smuggling and illegal drug shipments." His office has pledged $1.5 million for stepped-up law enforcement and also asked Chris Simcox, the president of the volunteer border patrol group Minutemen, for a meeting. Mr. Richardson, a man who wears his ambition for national office on his sleeve, has apparently decided he has to reposition himself on border issues.

Last week, after a tour of border areas, Mr. Richardson declared a state of emergency in four counties abutting Mexico, citing growing border-area violence, property damage, drug smuggling and problems with illegals crossing the border. He then invited Chris Simcox, a Minuteman leader, to discuss border control -- something Mr. Bush has not done and probably cannot do, having labeled them "vigilantes" in March -- and called on Mexico to bulldoze Las Chepas, a staging ground for illegals and smugglers.

On Clinton's purported shift

Despite her noises about beefing up enforcement, she did not talk about immigration, temporary-worker programs or border enforcement when she addressed the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights group in the country. Instead, Mrs. Clinton pandered to the liberal crowd and received a standing ovation when she announced a new bill that would guarantee in-state college tuition rates for the children of illegal immigrants as well as amnesty to some 65,000 illegal immigrant students who graduate from U.S. high schools each year.

Since then, Mrs. Clinton has turned back toward left-liberal orthodoxy. Last month, she gave a fawning speech to the National Council of La Raza in which she endorsed the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minorities (DREAM) Act, which would guarantee illegals in-state college-tuition rates and also grant amnesty to tens of thousands of illegals who graduate from U.S. high schools.

On what Democrats are doing to the GOP

Democrats try to outflank the GOP on immigration. (op-ed subtitle)

Look for more Democrats to outflank President Bush on illegals and border control.

On Democrats' use of immigration as an issue

As the maneuvering of Democrats such as Sen. Clinton and Gov. Richardson shows, Republicans risk letting Democrats turn immigration into a wedge issue that drives many voters to the other party.

Mr. Richardson is no stranger to wedge issues, or to finessing policy as Mrs. Clinton did on the borders.

On President Bush

President Bush is vulnerable on immigration.

Democratic hopefuls for 2008 are sensing how vulnerable President Bush is on border control.

Stories/Interests
Media Ethics, Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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