kf Raises the Larger Issue! The Sunday front-page NYT piece on the Ron Burkle-Bill Clinton relationship wasn't just credulous. It entirely miscast the potential controversy, as veteran kf emailer Mr. Y explains:
The same instinct that told NYT that the Clinton campaign's holding this Burkle event this weekend was not a detail worth highlighting also leads them to miss the point when they compare Clinton's business dealings with those of past presidents. It doesn't matter what past Presidents do. I think Clinton faces pretty lenient standards qua past POTUS's on where he makes his money—it's these sticky business dealings for the spouse of the presumptive Democratic nominee for President and for the possible next First Spouse that makes this a story.
Right. Bill Clinton can't be happy that Burkle's publicity-grabbing sting of Jared Paul Stern brought intense scrutiny of his finances--not because he's an ex president who makes more or less money than Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter (precedents discussed with legalistic rigor in the NYT piece), but because his wife is the 2008 Democratic front-runner. Duh! He's not another Jimmy Carter. He's Laura Bush or Tipper Gore. If Laura Bush made millions advising an investment fund--which partnered with foreign governments--wouldn't it provoke a bit of discussion, at least about potential conflicts of interest? ...P.S.: How mad at Burkle is Hillary**? ...
**--Hillary Clinton's name appears only once in the Times piece, in paragraph 9. .. It's as if the paper had printed a whole piece on the NYT shareholder revolt without even mentioning Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. by name! ... 2:44 A.M. link
'Two Years and You're Out' Comes to Immigration Reform: Hillary Clinton seems to have settled on an immigration position--a hard-soft compromise that superficially resembles her husband's famously effective 'two years and you're out' position on welfare reform.
"A country that cannot control its borders is failing at one of its fundamental obligations," she said of America's "broken system." She also said that "we do need an earned path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants here.
[S]he will be accused of Clintonesque parsing and wanting it both ways. She may well be guilty, but, on the basis of two conversations with her, I'm persuaded she believes in both border security and firm, practical measures to deal with those already here.
Most important, her support for a time lag between the two steps, with border security coming first by as much as two years, could be the right mix that breaks the congressional deadlock and solves much of the immigration problem.
"I would not support it if the legislation was just for border security and we had to come back to Congress for everything else," she said. "We need to structure it as one piece of comprehensive legislation, with a staged implementation." For example, she said, the legalization process could begin "12 to 24 months" after border control measures take effect. [Emphasis added]
The only problem with this appealing position is that it might produce a debacle. Think about it: We tell the world that the process of legalization will begin in "12 to 24 months" after border control measures--including a "smart" fence that can "spot people coming from 250 or 300 yards away"--take effect. Message: Sneak in now and you can become a U.S. citizen--but this offer ends soon! The fence is going up! Wouldn't that prompt an undocumented rush for the border that would make the settlement of Oklahoma look tame?
Repl Harold Ford's similar left-right, soft-hard compromise doesn't have this problem, or at least not to the same extent. Ford says he wants to enforce the borders first and then at some unfixed date he'd be ready to talk about possible legalization--not write it into the law, as Hillary would. He avoids promising anything to illegals--and therefore maybe avoids provoking a stampede of illegals to get in before the gate closes.
The Ford approach doesn't have to be one-sidedly anti-immigrant--you could accompany it with a finite guest worker program, even one that promised eventual full citizenship to the guest workers, who would after all be legal workers. That shouldn't provoke a stampede because it wouldn't promise legalization or citizenship to unlimited numbers of other, non-legal workers. It seems a sounder Clintonian position than Clinton's Clintonian position.
There are worse things than not being "comprehensive"! (Wasn't that supposed to be one lesson of the Hillarycare debacle?) ... 2:13 A.M. link