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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spitzer Spitting Into the Wind

- No news on the franchise deal, and I don't really expect to hear anything other than the occasional leaks until, as at least I expect, a deal which resembles the contentious MOU awarding NYRA the franchise is announced sometime before the end of the year. Or, alternatively, when everything falls apart.

The Governor is not exactly operating from a position of strength at this time. According to a new poll released by Siena College, Spitzer's poll ratings have taken a stunning fall, with his approval rating plummeting to Bush-like numbers from a post-election high of 75%. You'd think that he started a war for no reason or something. Voters, by a margin of 49 percent to 25 percent would prefer "someone else" as governor if the 2010 election were held today. [Buffalo News]

“New plan, old plan, it just doesn’t matter – New Yorkers continue to overwhelmingly oppose the Governor on his plan to give driver’s licenses to undocumented aliens [by a margin of 70% to 25%],” said Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for the poll. “The governor has America’s homeland security secretary agreeing with him that the state will have one of the most secure licensing systems in the nation, but by a three-to-two margin, New Yorkers don’t buy it.” [NY Times blog]
Spitzer is in D.C. today, where he'll meet with New York's congressional delegation, which will likely beg him to drop the plan. The issue was already a factor in some local elections earlier this month, and it tripped up Hilary Clinton in the last candidate's debate. Many Democrats, already looking ahead to November, 2008, can't distance themselves far enough from the Gov at this point He's being urged by politicians from his own party (the Republicans are loving it), the "experts", and even sympathetic newspaper editorialists to drop the plan, and do so now.

Over the weekend, Spitzer, for the first time, indicated he'd be willing to do so. But on Monday, he seemed to back off; a senior Spitzer official told the NY Sun that "There is no reversal in the works." But I believe that as much as I think that the racing franchise will be split up. Spitzer is on the wrong side of the anti-immigrant sentiment that 's been stirred up by Republicans and the likes of Lou Dobbs, and it certainly didn't help that he thought he could steamroller it through without debate. I think he'll have to back off.

I've heard from fellow Democrats in the comments section in opposition to the plan, and, as Ms. Clinton discovered, it's a tough proposal to even try and be sympathetic to given the current atmosphere. While I certainly respect and understand their opinions, mine is that these people - and they are people, though they are now routinely demonized by the phrase "illegal aliens" - are here. And, due to the government's inability to agree on a new immigration policy, they're not going anywhere anytime soon. And, as human beings like the rest of us, they have to eat, so they have to work, and many will have to drive. It's just the way it is. Personally, I'd rather be driving amongst others who have gone through the steps needed to earn a legal license, even if they may be here illegally. I can only hope for Lou Dobbs' sake that he will not be involved in a serious accident caused by someone who doesn't know how to drive. It's just a matter of practicality and common sense, in my most humble opinion, even if that opinion is currently squarely in the minority. (And remember, eight other states currently issue licenses to those without legal immigrant status, so it's not like Spitzer is a two-headed monster for suggesting it.)

As if the license imbroglio isn't enough, matters in the so-called Troopergate/Choppergate "scandal" have taken a turn for the worse for the Governor, with his former top aide Darren Dopp said to be under investigation for possible perjury by Albany DA David Soares. It seems as if his sworn testimony to Andrew Cuomo, and unsworn statements to Soares and the Public Integrity Commission, in which he claimed to have compiled the information on Bruno's travels in response to newspaper requests, is at odds with written notes, in the form of a "secret diary," collected by investigators. Should an indictment or further fallout regarding Spitzer occur, it will once again likely be due to the coverup rather than the alleged misdeeds themselves.

The Senate Republicans who are carrying on their own investigation are naturally delighted with this development. No question that they've done an excellent job of controlling this debate, with a little help from their friends at the NY Post, which is having a field day with this. The conservative rag has loudly proclaimed this to be the "Dirty Tricks" scandal, and I saw the phrase (without capital letters), picked up by the Daily News as well.

But to me, "dirty tricks" in politics is harassing voters with fake robo-calls purporting to be from the candidates they're trying to discredit, mounting bogus challenges at the polls to try and disenfranchise voters, trying to mislead potential voters into thinking they're not registered or deceiving them to go to the wrong polling places. Prodding a newspaper to publish a well-researched and accurate article concerning the Senate Majority Leader using taxpayer money to help fund his own campaign war chest? Not dirty tricks. Hardball tactics, behavior bordering on the unethical, perhaps. But the only "dirty" thing about this whole mess is Bruno's cynical abuse of permissive state law to use public money for his own political purposes.

That's my take on these two issues....OK, now let me have it!


Anonymous said...

You're entitled to your opinion, but I seriously doubt you would be saying the things you said if Spitzer were a Republican.

You'd be calling for his head.

That's OK; I'm used to the double standard that liberals exhibit.

Do as I say, not as I do, should be your national slogan.

Superfecta said...

Er...plenty of liberal types are not big fans of Spitzer. It's not an either/or issue -- why only see two options when there are so many gradations?

Most actual proud Republicans I know prefer to think that way as well and lament where their party has retreated from critical thinking.

Personally, I find Spitzer far too right-wing, but that's just me...

Anonymous said...

Alan said-
You'd think that he(Spitzer) started a war for no reason or something.

Illegal Immigrants are responsible for over 9,000 deaths a year in America.
Not counting the cost of Jails,Welfare,Schools,Hosp,etc...

Pres.Bush poll# are higher than Spitzer and Congress.

Alan,What is so demonizing about the word illegal alien?

illegal alien
–noun 1. a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country's authorization.

2. a foreigner who enters the U.S. without an entry or immigrant visa, esp. a person who crosses the border by avoiding inspection or who overstays the period of time allowed as a visitor, tourist, or busines sperson.

Alan,If the N.Y post is a Consevative rag,does that mean the N.Y.Times is a Liberal rag?

Anonymous said...

Gov.Spitzer a Liberal.

That is why he is out of touch.

Liberalism is a mental disorder.

Anonymous said...

Alan is mostly correct to my mind. The Governor, a man I know personally and have great respect for (most of the time) has yet to learn that governing requires consensus building. He will eventually learn that. For his and our sakes let us hope that knowledge comes to him sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

This Governor is out of touch.

The people of NewYork made a big mistake!

Alan Mann said...

>>Illegal Immigrants are responsible for over 9,000 deaths a year in America. Not counting the cost of Jails,Welfare,Schools,Hosp,etc...

Well, then why isn't this being dealt with? It was the Republicans in Congress that killed the president's immigration bill. And how many of those 9,000 deaths were the result of traffic accidents? If anything, your statement is an argument in favor of issuing licenses (now a moot point, at least in NY State.)

Re: 'illegal aliens'....I think the word I was thinking of was dehumanizing rather than demonizing. Nothing wrong with the phrase per se as long as one remembers that they are human beings and not creatures from Mars.

And the NY Post is a rag. I say that partly in an endearing way, but it is a rag. The Times may have a liberal agenda, but I'd dispute you characterizing it as a rag until they run a few front page stories on Britney Spears.

Anonymous said...

Republicans in Congress(and the people) were right to kill the president's immigration bill.
The bill did nothing to secure the Border.

Correction..The N.Y.Times DOES have a liberal agenda.

Anonymous said...

Spitz is probably the most inept NY politician in recent memory. He somehow cannot understand what being Governor means and governs as if he were still the hard-chaging ,scandal-in-every closet AG. Joe Bruno, by contrast, is the consummate NY politician and veteran inside, scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch- yours game player, who has so far made the Spitz look like a rank amateur to the point I am almost beginning to feel sorry for the Gov and take pity. Now, all of that being said, they both can bury the hatchet and rally round the cause of NY racing before any further damage is done. Now is the time to make a deal, when both the Gov and Sen Maj Leader need a boost to show their constituents that the pressing business of NY- not some idiotic drivers licenses for illegals scheme- can and will be done. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

"You're entitled to your opinion, but I seriously doubt you would be saying the things you said if Spitzer were a Republican."

Nonsence. Alan has been beating on Spitzer just as hard as any Republican. Indeed Alan tipped the world off to what a moron Spitzer is long before Fred Drucker ever did.

Anonymous said...

One thing I can not figure out.

Whose cars do the illegals drive?

The illegals I see work very hard for low wages, live in below standard conditions while paying the lowest rent possible, and send every extra dollar they make back home to their families.

Not all of course, but these types are the ones we are supposed to be bringing "out from the shadows".

Not one of these hard workers is going to spend money on a car, much less on the required insurance.

So why do they need a drivers license?

Could it be to vote, for Spitzer of course?

Or to get on airplanes and spend all that hard earned money on Carribean vacations?

Or to cash winning tickets at the Big A?

I really think this is a non issue created by Spitzer for political gain that ended up blowing up in his, and Hillary's face. He was trying to deflect attention from the "dirty tricks" scandal.

Big mistake.

Anonymous said...

Nothing but Spitz drivers license fiasco and it's fallout potential on Hillary's chances on my fave right wing radio today. As I understand it the third and lowest level drivers license to be issued to undocumented aliens was to say "Not Valid For Federal ID Purposes", which I assume to mean that it could not be used to qualify for federal benefits, passports, etc. I am unclear on it's intended use for social security registration, boarding an airplane, banking and, most importantly, motor-voter registration. Despite being an old right winger, I still think something like this could indeed be an improvement over the present chaotic situation of undocumented drivers as it would at least test for elementary driving ability and English language achievement, as well as create a paper trail for drivers involved in motor vehicle violations and traffic accidents. What I would be very much opposed to would be the indocumentado drivers license used for motor-voter registration. Based on the attacks that are being made on the scheme, I have to assume that motor-voter registration would be included? If motor-voter were removed, then it might be something to take another look at. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

GM P - I concur that the only benefit is requiring the test for minimum driving ability.

However, I would love to the see stats on illegal related driving accidents. Doubt there are many, at least in NY where public transport is the rule.

Also, Spitz plan did not initially include the three tiers, which to me was acceptable but not to the liberals since it was considerd a scarlet letter and actually allowed one Bush proposal to be implemented, God forbid.