On Saturday Governor Spitzer, responding to intense public opposition, reversed course and rescinded his plan to give illegal immigrants New York State drivers licenses-at least the same ones that are given to the state's citizens. As the Post reported: "Following intense pressure, Gov. Spitzer is preparing to backpedal on his plan to issue state driver's licenses to illegal immigrants as he nears an agreement with Homeland Security in which undocumented aliens can obtain licenses as long as the cards are not recognized by the federal government, The Post has learned."
So it appears as if the governor may be coming to his senses, and not a moment too soon. If left unresolved, this issue was going to tar baby the Democrats in the coming 2008 election cycle. As the NY Times reported; "The shift comes as the governor has faced a firestorm of criticism both from Republicans and from within his own party."
Leaving aside the political implications, we're frankly puzzled why the governor went down this Drum Major path in the first place. The chorus of "progressive" voices that inappropriately conflate illegal with legal immigration-and accuse opponents of the former of the vilest of motives-will lead elected officials on the road to oblivion; both for themselves and for the innocents who are cut down because criminal illegal immigrants have been allowed, time and time again, to slip through the cracks of the criminal justice system.
In the current drivers license debate, these same voices arrogantly down played the homeland security dangers posed by providing a "breeder" document to illegals who may be here to cause great harm to this country. Which is why we're so glad the the governor's turnaround is generated in negotiations with the federal Office of Homeland Security. It's a recognition, particularly in New York, that we're still fighting a war against terrorists that will use our open society to cause harm.
Now that he's come to his senses on this issue, we can all hope that the governor gains some traction for governing; recognizing that the bulldozer style may be useful on certain principled issues, but should not be employed whenever he feels someone disagrees with one of his policies. Otherwise, he will continue to rapidly hemorrhage political support.