Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Here I Go Defending Hillary Again...

Sheesh folks... maybe I should just call a spade a spade and announce my whole hearted support for Senator Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. Everything I write lately on the Democratic candidates has been to support her, and it doesn't look like Al Gore is going to run.

Let me continue this trend by coming to Senator Clinton's defense with her supposed flubbing of the following question:
Tim Russert: Senator Clinton, Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer has proposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. He told the Nashua, New Hampshire, Editorial Board it makes a lot of sense.

Why does it make a lot of sense to give an illegal immigrant a driver's license?

Clinton: Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. We know in New York we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability.

Senator Clinton's answer here is admittedly not completely responsive to the question. She won't just come out and say that giving illegal aliens a drivers license is a good thing. Senator Clinton is pointing out a problem which does need to be addressed without sticking her neck out too far and saying that Governor Spitzer's particular remedy is the best answer.
Russert: Does anyone here believe an illegal immigrant should not have a driver's license?

(Unknown): Believe what?

Russert: An illegal immigrant should not have a driver's license.

Dodd: This is a privilege. And, look, I'm as forthright and progressive on immigration policy as anyone here. But we're dealing with a serious problem here, we need to have people come forward. The idea that we're going to extend this privilege here of a driver's license I think is troublesome, and I think the American people are reacting to it.

We need to deal with security on our borders. We need to deal with the attraction that draws people here. We need to deal fairly with those who are here.

But this is a privilege. Talk about health care, I have a different opinion. That affects the public health of all of us.

But a license is a privilege, and that ought not to be extended, in my view.
Before I start tearing into Dodd too much, let me just say that his leadership in the Senate lately is really much appreciated and I hold him in high esteem for that alone. However... Dodds answer to this really is a mystery from my perspective. He is progressive on immigration issues but illegal aliens should not be given the privilege of a drivers licence. We do not live in some Utopia where illegal aliens can harmlessly beam to work and home each day. Even if we did live in that Utopia, I am certain that there would be an enormous controversy over illegal alien beaming privileges. So If Dodd wants to take a progressive stance maybe he should start by recognizing reality and trying to figure out a way to cope with it.

Frankly if Dodd can be brought to support giving illegal immigrants health care because that "affects the public health of all of us", why can't he see the use in having people who are going to drive passing tests which demonstrate a basic grasp on the rules of the road and ability to drive safely. The system New York and the rest of the nation is laboring under seems far more dangerous than trying to insure that people who are going to drive be identified and prove their worthiness behind the wheel. If you don't want to call the end result a "drivers license", fine! Call it a provisional drivers certificate or some other such euphemism.
Clinton: [T]he point is, what are we going to do with all these illegal immigrants who are driving...

Dodd: That's a legitimate issue. But driver's license goes too far, in my view.

Clinton: Well, you may say that, but what is the identification?
If somebody runs into you today who is an undocumented worker...

Dodd: There's ways of dealing with that.

Clinton: Well...
Despite the triangulation and unwillingness to stick her neck out too far on a very hot issue, I think Clinton does very well in this back and forth. It seems like everyone agrees that there is a problem, so the only controversy is over the degree of the solution. If we recognize that we are not going to deport 12 million illegal aliens, lets find some formula that starts to address the problem.

Also, when Clinton says "if somebody runs into you today" that brings the issue home to the average American. We don't all get into car wrecks everyday, but it is enough of a reality in our lives that we take steps to mitigate the problem. So Senator Clinton's tactic of making us wonder what we would do if we were hit by an illegal alien with no i.d. is a good way for her to drive the debate. I think she does well with that line of logic.
Dodd: This is a privilege, not a right.

Clinton: Well, what Governor Spitzer has agreed to do is to have three different licenses, one that provides identification for actually going onto airplanes and other kinds of security issues, another which is another ordinary driver's license, and then a special card that identifies the people who would be on the road, so...

Dodd: That's a bureaucratic nightmare.

Clinton: ... it's not the full privilege.
It's like Dodd is convinced N.Y. can not figuratively chew gum and make licenses at the same time. I can't imagine a state which does not have multiple layers of licensing covering various circumstances. For example I live in Oregon. My state has three different types of commercial drivers license. Oregon offers a provisional drivers license to drivers under the age of 18. Beyond that, our standard license is hardly uniform, with various coding on each regarding a persons legality to drive without corrective eyewear, and the willingness of the driver to be an organ donor. Despite all these different license types and individual permutations, I have not heard any news about the total collapse of the Oregon bureaucracy surrounding the Department of Motor Vehicles. I suspect Oregon is probably not much different than most of the rest of the states in this particular regard.

After the debate Chris Matthews was dialed up to 11, telling the world that Clinton had just handed the Republicans next years general election if she won the nomination. And it appears to be accepted as a foregone conclusion by the entire talking head set that Senator Clinton flubbed her response on this issue. Admittedly, I may be the one out of touch here, but I thought she made perfect sense.

Frankly, after months of media prodding Senator Clinton to take a stand on this or that issue, I think this episode has been a sad example of why she may be reluctant to do so. She took a controversial stand based upon sound logic, (even those disagreeing with her say there is a problem) and we have the pundits declaring her to have thrown the election because of it.

Now if she would just come out and apologize for being so freaking wrong about the Iraq war...

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