Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Liberty Not License

The controversy over the governor's plan to give drivers licenses of illegal aliens continues to roil, with a Siena College poll showing that 72% of all New Yorkers oppose the plan. Even a majority of Democrats polled think that it's not a good idea. Yet, as the NY Times reports this morning, the governor appears not to care what the public's view on all this is: “It’s what happens when you govern and make tough decisions, and do things that you believe are right, and don’t govern based on polls,” Mr. Spitzer said."

What's troubling in all of this, aside from the natioanl security implications of Spitzer's proposal, is the manner in which the governor has moved forward on it-no advanced warnings, no hearings, and no comprehensive report that clearly delineates the benefits that Spitzer feels are apparent in his initiative.

Without the benefit of a proper process, what awaits the governor is not very pretty. Opposition is gleefully lining up to attack the plan-both politically and legally. The furor has also managed to breathe new life into what had been the failing fortunes of Senate Majority Leade Joe Bruno-so much so that the NY Daily News' Bill Hammond, no friend of Bruno's, is counseling Spitzer to back down. As he writes this morning: "Spitzer must swallow his pride and put the brakes on his plan for issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Otherwise, it could drag him and what's left of his agenda off a cliff."

Strong words, but certainly good advice, as the governor's poll numbers continue to plummet and his editorial opponents see him going into free fall. As the Post opines this morning: "Read 'em and weep, Eliot. In a Siena College poll released yesterday, 72 percent of New Yorkers oppose the gov's license plan - while only 22 percent support it...Any way you look at it, those numbers add up to a political disaster for Eliot Spitzer."

We just can't think of why Eliot Spitzer, a man of great intelligence, would stick his head into this political oven. It's not only a terrible policy, but it's terribly unpopular as well. If Spitzer wants to show real courage this isn't the issue to use.