Of Licenses and Lizards

The headline at The Trail — “Spitzer Drops License Plan, But Damage to Democrats is Done” — has rekindled hope among the wingnuts. I just want to point out that Gov. Spitzer’s policy, although unpopular in New York, had little impact on the recent state and local elections here, even though Republicans campaigned on it heavily.

I agree with Taylor Marsh

It was clear to me after the debate that Clinton backing Spitzer was because she refused to push a fellow Democrat under a bus. I applauded that action, but knew this issue would evolve as it has. Equally clear was that backing Spitzer on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants was going to cause her a lot of grief in the general election, but also in the primary because the press eats this subject up. It sells papers. Rumors are that some of Clinton’s team were furious with Spitzer for putting Clinton in this spot, so he pulled his immigration plans. It’s over, just in time for the CNN debate. …

… This is one of the most emotional issues there is and one easily opened to demagoguing. Democrats made Spitzer wake up, because those against his plan are the types who come out to vote. That’s the bottom line.

The emotional value of illegal immigration has two sides. It doesn’t matter which one is right during election season, because feelings are as they are and you can’t change an electorate who won’t listen. While intending to solve the challenge of undocumented or illegal immigrants, Spitzer finally acknowledged that you can’t move a country to follow your lead until you’ve convinced them you understand and respect their feelings. You also need a Democratic president to get it done.

Immigration is the number one right-wing red meat issue. The mere mention of the “I” word causes complete cerebral cortex failure in a wingnut, allowing the reptilian brain complex to take over. One might, then, forgive them for not understanding that a state’s driver’s license policy is not a matter to hang around the necks of candidates for national office. After all, lizards are not famous for their higher reasoning skills. I don’t let media off the hook, however.

Steve M:

Hillary Clinton is still not flip-flopping on drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants. She was not for these licenses before she was against them, or against them before she was for them.

She has merely tried to say that the problem needs a federal solution (a comprehensive immigration reform law), while trying to weasel out of making a plain statement of support or opposition to the Spitzer plan. She never wanted to say she didn’t support it (which might have alienated certain blocs of voters), so she kept saying she understands it.

And her new statement is quite consistent with her old statements — including the evasion. …

… She says as president she won’t support licenses for the undocumented, but that’s not quite being categorically against them. She says she’ll fight for comprehensive reform. And she’s merely supporting Spitzer’s withdrawal of the plan — she’s not saying it was wrong and he never should have put it forth.

Way too nuanced for lizards, of course.

Jeralyn of TalkLeft has been blogging about this issue for a while. A post from 2004 gives good reasons to allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. More here. But Taylor’s right when she says “It doesn’t matter which one is right during election season, because feelings are as they are and you can’t change an electorate who won’t listen.”

Even so, immigration is not the number one concern for citizens at large. This issue is not the Achilles’ heel for Dems the wingnuts believe it to be.

Update: David Broder says the immigration issue could sink the Democrats. This is solid proof the Dems need not worry too much about it, since Bwana is as clueless as they come.

Update: On the Unified Field Theory of Hillary Hatred

4 thoughts on “Of Licenses and Lizards

  1. Not just wingnuts go braindead. I’m always amazed when Jack Cafferty (normally fairly sensible, considering where he works) goes wolfman when the subject comes up. Maybe there’s a Lou Dobbs clause in his contract.

    Shouldn’t Broder be worrying about what the immigration issue could do to Rudy and Mitt?

  2. Shouldn’t Broder be worrying about what the immigration issue could do to Rudy and Mitt?

    Remarkably, he won’t. To him, problem issues are only problems when they apply to Democrats. The same issue applied to Republicans are not problems.

  3. The most rational explanation I have heard, from Spitzer, is that licensing these people will allow tracking them and keeping them in the MOST SEARCHED database in the world…

    This may be after-the-fact rationalizing, but you’d think the keep-tabs-on-everybody windnut brigade might have at least looked at that facet. Instead, all they actually care about is the political hay they can make from every inconsequential position taken by any opponent.

    America will sleep through yet another “issue,” and the world will go on.

  4. Not wishing to make myself unpopular, I do not favor legalizing the status of illegal aliens as a way of fixing the problem.

    My wife is from Minsk, Belarus. Getting her here was not easy but we did it, and we did it legal, and she has her green card. Others have REALLY played by the rules for years to get to the USA. But ‘comprehensive’ reform is usually code for letting illegals cut in line and get citizenship AHEAD of those who are waiting – legally.

    Security should be a concern. Illegals who are felons are not going to ‘come out of the shadows’, so the legalization program does nothing for security. INS currently processes about 3 million applications per year. If you assume that here are 12 million illegals who would come forth for amnesty, that’s 4 years work for the department that does security checks, and we would still not be finding the illegals who KNOW they are wanted, because they won’t come forward. However, without adding to ICE staffing, we will put applications for legal foreigners on hold for 4 years??? This so we can process applications of lawbreakers?

    Economics. Barb has noted numerous times that wages have been stagnent or fallen while productivity has grown, and profits have grown. One safety valve that allows this economic boom NOT to be felt on Main street is the influx of foreign labor who will work cheap. That’s why the Chamber of Commerce is bonkers to roll out the red carpet for open borders.

    Now, it’s easy to sweep this issue under the carpet by saying those who feel as I do ar red-neck racists and xenophobic. Which I am not. But let’s look objetively at 3 issues. Fairness to legal immigrants, Security, and Economics. And let’s see some objective dialoge. I am ready to discuss solutions.

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