(U-WIRE) MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It is becoming more and more clear to me why Hillary Rodham Clinton is firmly in support of gun control: She can’t stop shooting herself in the foot.
The recently announced soon-to-be-announced candidate for senator of New York (we’ll know for sure in January, but keep your fingers crossed – there’s always that glimmer of hope she’ll drop out) has hurt herself once again, this time by attacking Republican rival Rudolph Giuliani’s policies on the homeless.
Giuliani, arguably one of the most influential mayors in the history of New York City, has held a firm but often criticized stance on the homeless during his term in office.
His policy is simple: If a person is homeless and refuses a work assignment, he or she is no longer allowed shelter, and people who refuse to participate and continue to meander on the streets are arrested. The New York City Police Department has been hard at work enforcing this policy, and Clinton has been hard at work sharing her disapproval.
The Democratic contender is attacking Giuliani on the grounds that he is nothing more than a cold-hearted elitist.
Criminalizing the homeless with mass arrests for those whose only offense is that they have no home is wrong, she said. Locking people up for a day will not take a single homeless person off the street. It will not make a mentally ill person who should be in an institution any better.
I will agree with Clinton that Giuliani’s policies may seem harsh, but the reality of the matter is New York City, under Giuliani’s leadership, has turned around.
What was once one of the most dangerous places to live has now become one of the safest metropolitan areas in the United States. Times Square, once a haven for criminals, drug lords and prostitutes, is now an area where families can enjoy an evening. And Central Park is no longer a center of crime.
Clinton can talk all she wants about how much of a mean guy Giuliani is, but in the end the record stands for itself.
Just a few years ago, Clinton’s husband supported a bill to reform the welfare system, forcing recipients to either go to work or go without. There were a number of influential politicians on the liberal left who found the policy too harsh, but in the end, welfare-to-work proved incredibly successful, and thousands have been moved back into the work force.
Welfare reform proved that sometimes, those on the fringes of society need more incentive to come back to the mainstream. Sometimes it takes more than government financial assistance to motivate someone to find work.
Giuliani realizes this. It’s a shame Clinton doesn’t.
The people of New York deserve a senator who is willing to make tough decisions to better people’s lives, even if it means coming across as cold. And more importantly, the people of New York need a senator who has a strong record of success, or a record at all, preferably. Clinton has never been one to take stands on the hard-hitting issues, especially after the fiasco that was health-care reform in 1993. It’s no wonder why now she seems so blatantly awkward on issues such as Middle East peace, taxes and crime.
Clinton is going to have a tough road ahead of her. It will be difficult for her to find flaws in Giuliani, who is simply a walking success story.
A poll released this week shows the two candidates in a statistical dead heat. And as an added blow to Clinton’s campaign, the poll also showed that women support the two candidates equally. Many assumed early on that Clinton would find some of her strongest support among women, but not so.
Hillary Clinton still has some fight in her, but to be effective, she is going to have to come up with better reasons to support her. I can’t speak for the citizens of New York, but I find it insulting that she believes people will vote for her simply because Giuliani may take a tough stance on issues.
And besides, it’s not very nice of her to say these things, either. Now that’s something she should appreciate.
-The column originally appeared The Daily Athenaeum (West Virginia U.).