Monday, November 26, 2007

Belated Kudos for Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer has put himself in the running for the first annual "Immigration Heroes" end-of-year superstar list, coming soon from Open Border Central. NY Governor Spitzer made the mistake of proposing a constructive change in New York's driver licensing policy -- a change that would have
made undocumented immigrants eligible to get a license.

The good sense behind Spitzer's proposal was that it's better to have people driving with a license rather than without one or with a fake one. For one thing, they're able to get insurance.

A colossal outcry poured forth, led by Lou Dobbs. Now, I've never actually watched Lou, but I've heard an awful lot about him. Apparently, he's the know nothing who preaches against immigration from CNN, the TV news equivalent of Tom Tancredo.

Spitzer struggled, flirting with a compromise proposal that would have altered the licenses for the undocumented, making it impossible for them to board planes. Still the plan failed.

The highpoint in the furor for me came early on, when the dreaded New York state county clerks denounced the Spitzer plan. It's the clerks who in many counties process DMV applications.

The second peak moment -- more widely reported -- was when Hilary Clinton bobbled a question about the Spitzer proposal during one of the Presidential debates. Congratulations to Hilary for at least thinking about the issue, even if she ultimately didn't have the political courage to back Spitzer.

Spitzer's brave stand on the driver's license issue reminded me of another bold position taken by a New York governnor: Mario Cuomo's unwavering and politically inconvenient opposition to the death penalty.

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