Thursday, November 08, 2007


In what has become expected from the Drum Major Institute, a group that feels that beating the drums for illegal immigrants is in the ultimate good of the country, we have another post on the drivers license scandal. In the missive, the resident documented Drummer-as tone deaf politically as one could be-calls for the governor to return to his original single tier license plan.

This advocacy comes on top of the just recently released Rassmussen Poll that shows that 77% of Americans think this is just a terrible idea. In the view of the DMI this apparently means that all of these folks, unable to understand the nuances of the issue, have been bamboozled by CNN's Lou Dobbs.

The three tiered system, a proposal that almost no one supports, is seen by the progressive policy group as the imposition of a stigma, akin to Hawthorne's scarlet letter: "By highlighting residents’ immigration status with a scarlet letter – indicated by the type of license people receive – the new proposal will give the green light to employers to treat immigrants differently based on their immigration status. Armed with this information, employers will likely continue to threaten their undocumented workers with deportation when those employees demand fair pay or complain about workplace safety violations."

So let's get this straight. It's wrong to treat illegal immigrants differently because, well, they're illegal! And what about the "demand fair pay" stuff? This all reminds us of the C. Wright Mills coined term-"crackpot rationality." In Mills' view, the term meant to treat a discussion of the implementation of means in a rational manner, in spite of the fact that an overall objective might was just plain crazy (like planning for World War Three).

In this case, the Drummers accept unquestionably the rights and the beneficence of a massive group of people who got into the country by illegal means-something that the vast majority of Americans find to be abhorrent. It comes down to a basic disrespect for the laws and sovereignty of our country; and this is without bringing in the national security and public safety concerns that this massive undocumented wave generates.

Frankly the fact that supposedly one in four illegals were fired under other tiered license systems doesn't prompt the slightest bit of rachmones, except with those people who in their hearts want two things: blanket amnesty for everyone here; and no aggressive border control policy. Where do the Drummers stand on the border fence? On the deportation of illegals arrested for a serious crime? Or any crime?

Instead we have the appeals to the economic contributions of these ghost workers. Do we believe that the country needs many of these workers? You bet we do. Yet until we get a better control over all of this, we can't start to anoint the illegals with all sorts of rights and privileges. In what country do non-citizens get rights conferred on them (we're thinking of in-state tuition breaks) that even the country's citizens don't get?

Which is why the license issue will continue to resonate-and may very well become the third rail 0f 2008. As the Washington Times remarked yesterday, "The numbers break down to 88 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and even 68 percent of Democrats in opposition. Consider that last part: More than two-thirds of Democrats oppose driver's licenses for illegal aliens, even though at the recent debate, only Mr. Dodd raised his hand when NBC's Tim Russert asked which Democratic hopefuls oppose licenses for illegals. Expect to hear more from Republicans on this subject.

And expect the issue to continue to roil New York State politics next year; and watch for a Siena Poll due out shortly that looks as if it will underscore this point. The governor's actions, and the license thing is not the only misstep, have given Senate Republicans a new life-an ideological and emotional resuscitation that, while hard to quantify, will mean a renewed sense of commitment for a downtrodden party.

As Assemblyman McEneny has said (cited by Liz), the governor transformed and reinvigorated the Senate Republicans from what had become the "Ottoman Empire" of New York State; "He's actually managed to transform (Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno) from a heavy to a victim; that really takes something."

All of this goes right over the head of the bienpensants at the DMI. This time, however, the politics of the issue threatens to blow them all both out of the water and over the border.