Well, so much for that. Spitzer’s plan to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers license, almost immediately fouled up by politics and by half-assed attempts at compromise, is DOA. The Governor doesn’t seem to pleased by it, but what he said in his announcement seems about right for a leader to say. A shame we don’t get such candor and deference from our president:
“Part of leadership is listening to the public’s opposition,” he said. “Having heard that, and assessed the realities of implementing this policy, part of leadership is realizing that getting results is more important than sticking to what may be a principled position.”Mr. Spitzer first unveiled his initiative in September, when he announced that the Department of Motor Vehicles would begin issuing driver’s licenses without regard to immigration status and said he wanted to bring illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”
But the proposal, which was formulated with scant consultation with other politicians, set off a backlash far greater than the administration had anticipated.
Say what you will about Bush’s “principles,” but this is a lesson in how hard-headedness wins you no favours. Even when Spitz tried to compromise – ultimately, sloppily – public opinion was largely against the move. I agree with Exile at RT, this plan made a lot of sense on the face of it. But you see, that’s only if you conceive of law as a means to effective governance; the great irony of American politics is that in a country born of a concept of unlimited freedom, our entire legal history is one where law is used as a punitive measure against those with whom we disagree.
But that is, perhaps, a topic for another post. There’s lots going on today across the state, so it’s not easy getting all those concepts into one article!