Hillary Embraces Spitzer License Plan

After last night's Russert gotcha moment, Senator Hillary Clinton unequivocally embraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to provide drivers licenses for undocumented aliens in New York:

Mrs. Clinton’s statement affirming her support of Mr. Spitzer in his office came less than a day after she offered a muddled and hesitant position on the bill, prompting a round of denunciations by her opponents. It signaled the extent to which her advisers viewed that moment as the biggest misstep she made in the debate, and one with long-term potential to undermine her candidacy. “Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform,’” her campaign said.

Senator John Edwards had lot of criticism for Clinton, but little to say on the actual issue. That little game is over now. Where do you stand on the issue Sen. Edwards? We do not need any doubletalk from you.

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    Uh, BTD, that ain't so unequivocal: (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Geekesque on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 06:09:49 PM EST
    Mrs. Clinton's aides said her statement was intended to signal that she broadly supported Mr. Spitzer's goal of awarding driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Mr. Spitzer initially proposed a blanket program of awarding full-fledged driver's licenses to illegal immigrants; in the face of sharp opposition from the Legislature, he backed off and presented a two-tier program system of awarding licenses to illegal immigrants.
    Mrs. Clinton's advisers said that she had not studied either plan, and was not specifically endorsing either of them.

    This is after she had said yesterday that she wasn't saying it should be done.

    Are all five of her positions correct?

    I've done some googling, (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 06:28:01 PM EST
    and I'm much less against the idea than I was before. I apologize for being so obstreperous earlier.

    However, supporters of the idea say with more drivers licensed, more drivers will be insured.

    I don't get the connection, ie., if a driver wants insurance, they can just go get it whether they have a licence or not. If someone can't or won't pay for insurance, having a license won't make them do it.

    That said, according to this article, in Utah and New Mexico, the two states who recently let illegal aliens get DL's, uninsured driver rates dropped precipitously.

    Of course both states previously had massive uninsured rates; how much change it would make in NY, which already has the 4th lowest uninsured driver rate in the country while also having the 2nd highest rates, is unclear.

    And I assume the researchers cross-checked the data and eliminated other causal factors like lower cost insurance, etc.

    Supporters of the idea also say that with DL's there will be fewer hit-and-runs because, previously, undocumented drivers who also had no licenses left the scene because they didn't want to be caught with no license.

    Are we thinking that a still undocumented, but now drivers-licenced, alien will be more inclined stay at the scene of an accident despite the unchanged and still very real risk of getting busted for being here illegally? Doesn't make much sense to me.

    Lastly, the claim has been made that licencing undocumented aliens makes the roads safer for all.

    While it seem like common sense that the process of getting a DL should make undocumented aliens  safer drivers, it would be nice to see actual proof.

    Because common sense would also say that the DL process might make a new driver (documented or not) a safer driver, but I don't see it making someone who's already spent years, perhaps, driving on our streets significantly safer w/a DL than w/o.

    and another thing... (none / 0) (#7)
    by sensiblelefty on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 06:49:26 PM EST
    Yes, and of course why get a real Driver's License, when the fake ones are cheap, plentiful and DMV workers, Highway Patrol officers and other public servants cannot tell the difference between the two? Add to that the fact that many states mandate proof of liability insurance before granting a license - all this argues against illegals complying in any meaningful way...No - this is another way of co-opting the issue and sweeping it under the rug - instead of making the hard choice of defending the territorial integrity of the USA.

    I agree with you comments (none / 0) (#8)
    by DA in LA on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 06:53:13 PM EST
    Insured drivers often has no meaning.  Lower income drivers pick up the lowest cost, usually bad insurance.  Ever see the sign for $20 dollars a month?  I do here in LA all the time.

    Just because someone has insurance does not mean you will see a dime if your car is struck.


    the DA is right... (none / 0) (#10)
    by sensiblelefty on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:04:19 PM EST
    ...as should be obvious to all. These are political efforts to hoodwink us...think something is being done constructive when it ain't. Where is the Democratic candidate who will forcibly deport those here illegally, put in prison those who hire them, stop the government from data-mining the population at large, end the war in Iraq, impeach Bush and Cheney and roll-back Bush's tax cuts for the rich? Please step forward...sir...madam...anyone?

    You can keep the candidate.... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 11:00:58 AM EST
    who advocates forcibly deporting over a million people.

    Hillary's nuanced answer... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by alapip on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:08:04 PM EST
    The talking heads have been at it ever since the debate ended.  Just as they helped in the demise of John Kerry, they now profess to not understand the necessity for a less than straight forward answer from Sen. Clinton to a question on a convoluted subject.

    By ignoring the obvious necessity for nuance they demonstrate their own stupidity and bias.

    Life is nuanced.  Everyone knows this except they who are determinedly closed minded.  There are few things as maddening to me as the stubborn ignorance of they who have risen to positions of prominance and influence.

    From the experience level of these people, isn't it logical to expect that they would have risen to the point of understanding themselves and the honesty they fail to exhibit?  Am I really the only one who sees these things?  Once a person evolves to an understanding of what constitutes free will, they are then totally responsible for their honesty to themselves as well as to others.

    Talking heads - questions yourselves first.


    Hillary is not the politician Bill Clinton was. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Aaron on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 08:35:52 PM EST
    Yeah, I'm all over the Internet at conservative sites telling these people that there's no way the Democrats can lose the presidential election.  The Republicans could run Abraham Lincoln, and they'd still be beaten badly if he ran on a platform of continuing this misbegotten illegal war, and allowing people to sink into poverty every time they get sick or injured.

    And what does Hillary Clinton do, exactly what every weasel Democratic candidate for president has done in recent years, fold up like a cheap suit.  If she can't handle herself on a stage with other Democrats, what do you think the Republicans are going to do to her, eat her alive that's what.

    What we saw last night is unequivocal proof that Hillary Clinton is not her husband, she doesn't have her husband's ability to laugh off these kind of attacks and remind us all of who's in control and on top of the situation.  Bill Clinton would've never let himself get cornered like that.  The reality is that Hillary is not half the politician her husband is, and the people who support her better face that fact quick.

    I certainly don't enjoy watching that right wing worm Chris Matthews feign sympathy for Hillary, he's a two bit manipulator who's made his career pretending to be impartial, while suckling at the teat of the right.

    You can almost see what's happening with Hillary, she's trying to please so many different factions, that she can't keep the different tactics straight in her head, and last night this left her in a position where she looks like a bamboozler.  She'd better pick one message, get it straight, and be able to defend it before she gets on a debate stage again.

    For a while I thought she was getting stronger, but money and poll numbers are one thing, if you sell yourself too much to get these things, the individual underneath the politician starts losing cohesion.

    A politician can make all kind of mistakes, and take bad positions on a number of issues, and still come off looking fabulous if they hold true to their core belief system, George W. Bush is a perfect example of that.  His values are for sh-t, but at least he knows what he believes in.

    Hillary better start remembering who she is, and start taking a stand and holding her ground, or the American people are going to look at her and see nothing more than a weak woman, as opposed to a confident leader who they can feel comfortable punching the ballot for.

    A few points for all of you (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 09:20:28 PM EST
    This site supports the constitutional rights and civil liberties of the all persons present in this country, whether they are here lawfully or not.

    "Illegal immigrants" is a deprecated term -- it is disfavored, obsolete and needs to be replaced in our vocablulary.  A better term is undocumented residents, persons residing in this country without proper documentation.  If they entered lawfully and overstayed their visa, there's no crime involved. It's a violation of civil immigration laws, but not a crime. That happens to be the situation with many of the undocumented.  

    I don't mind hosting disagreement, but comments with repetitive chatter from any individual poster attacking immigrants, either those here lawfully or not, will be deleted. Make your point, politely and move on.

    Chattering is against TalkLeft's comment rules. Aaron, your continuous persona attacks on Hillary are stretching my limit for tolerance. We all get you support Obama. Take your attacks to your own blog.

    As for drivers' licenses for the undocumented, it is not pandering to anyone but a wise policy for all of us, both from a safety and security standpoint.

    These laws were enacted for public safety reasons -- to ensure that drivers meet some standard to drive and to lower insurance premiums by decreasing the pool of unlicensed and uninsured drivers. In most cases, these laws were passed with the strong support of state law enforcement officials who recognized the advantages of being able to identify drivers and discourage unlicensed drivers from fleeing from minor traffic infractions or accidents because they were fearful of being caught without a license.

    The analogous arguments hold for national security -- the more we can encourage otherwise law abiding people within our borders to participate in the system the easier it will be to identify those that pose a true threat.

    If you want to debate that, go right ahead. But do it without name-calling, personal attacks or repetitive chatter.

    jeralyn, best get the facts straight, (none / 0) (#20)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 09:54:38 PM EST
    with respect to auto insurance. as an attorney, i would expect you to know that individuals, though ostensibly required to secure insurance, on their motor vehicles, aren't required to have it purely to secure a DL. if you don't own a car, you needn't have insurance just to drive.

    the insurance is purchased on the vehicles, not the individuals. contact your insurer and ask him/her. to use that as a basis for claiming issuing DL's to "illegal" (i'll get to that in a moment) aliens is specious at best. at worst, it's a lie.

    with respect to your assertion that there is a distinct difference between those who immigrated here illegally to begin with, vs those that came on a visa, which then expired, there is no difference, save in semantics. if your visa expired, yet you continue to stay, your stay is now illegal, you are in violation of the law.

    whether they were documented or not to begin with becomes irrelevant, at the point the documentation is no longer valid.

    the only difference is in how they originally got here, not what their current status is.

    it's fine to disagree on the issue of immigration, but before we can have a legitimate discussion, the terms must be agreed to honestly.


    pandering (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by diogenes on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 09:22:37 PM EST
    People can't stand panderers unless they are master actors like Bill.  The antiimmigrant types will be mad at both Hillary and Obama, but they'll respect Obama for being straight on this.  Bush won partly because people who disagreed with hiom had the sense that he was straightforward about what he said, however disagreeable.  Giuliani is the same way.
    At least this immigration stuff distracts from the archives question.

    Making decisions days later. (3.00 / 2) (#3)
    by DA in LA on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 05:39:38 PM EST
    Is how she governs.  It's not leadership, its poll reading.

    More importantly, she was the least likable person on the stage last night.  It's like watching a car crash in slow motion that I have seen twice before.  Gore, Kerry, now Clinton.

    Last night was the first time I actually saw the Democrats losing the election in 2008.

    Barack (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jgarza on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 08:57:11 PM EST
    Obama said he supported it on the spot.  
    Hillary caved twice.  First she supported it, then she didn't.  Now she caves to criticism again and goes back to what she originally said.  So where is the strength and experience to take on the "right wing machine"
    As was noted Edwards criticized her for not making clear where she stands, but no one knows where he stands on the issue.
    Dodd is pandering to the uneducated xenophobes in the Midwest, who think they lost their factory job to some mysterious dark Mexican who has now invaded their "homeland,"  which ironically, they, as immigrants stole from someone where else.  Hey Kucinich, is from the Midwest, he sees aliens too.

    Lost in all this hoopla, I think, is that Biden (who I normally can't stand) was great last night.


    It was not his question (none / 0) (#23)
    by pioneer111 on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 12:54:07 AM EST
    The original issue was whether she supported Spitzer, the governor of her state.  Edwards was concerned about her taking two sides to the issue, not which side and defending it.  

    Also he is on record of being reasonable with undocumented aliens and letting them have a path to citizenship.  But the specifics were not the issue.  At issue was Clinton's process of not taking a position.


    Losing to whom? (none / 0) (#21)
    by MiddleOfTheRoad on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 10:42:17 PM EST
    Don't tell me that the Republican front runners are any more likeable or any more electable.

    And these debates/campaigns are really a poor indicator of how someone will actually perform on the job.  Go back and look at what Bush said when he was campaigning in 2000 - promising to be a campassionate conservative, promising to run an ethical & law abiding administration, promising to be a fiscal conservative, promising to bridge the gap between the parties, promising to be respectful of other nations, not engage in nation building and to have an exit strategy before using troops.

    And you think Gore was a car crash?


    Take you first sentence (none / 0) (#24)
    by DA in LA on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 01:35:38 AM EST
    and apply it to Bush in 2000.  Does that answer your question?

    You clearly missed my point.  You are describing Bush's lie, which he obviously did and does to the point of being pathological.  But that has NOTHING to do with likeability, whic his what I am talking about.  She lacks it.

    As did Gore and Kerry.  Gore was a horrible car crash.  We all just sat around waiting for him to kick his campaign into gear and he never did.  The first two debates were hard to watch as he lost to a bumbling idiot.

    So, yes, he was a car crash, in slow motion.  And i got the same feeling last night.

    And now I have the delight of coming on this site, expressing my opinion and being insulted by the blogger.  Makes me feel even better about the future.


    No it does not answer (none / 0) (#26)
    by MiddleOfTheRoad on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 07:56:19 AM EST
    and apply it to Bush in 2000.  Does that answer your question?

    No it does not.  First of all the question was about 2008 and the 2008 front runners.  None of the 2008 Republican front runners (with the possible exception of Romney) are any more likeable than Hillary.

    And furthermore the Bush experience has demonstrated that what this country needs is not someone with whom you can share a beer, but rather someone who can get the job done.  This point is lost on all the pundits who are gleefully declaring Hillary as unlikeable and unelectable, just as they declared Kerry as electable.  But my contention is that this point is not lost on a significant number of voters which will make the difference in the 2008 election.

    But that has NOTHING to do with likeability, whic his what I am talking about.  She lacks it

    You may not like her, fine.  But that does not mean that she is unelectable.  Hillary beats Rudy in nationwide polls.

    And now I have the delight of coming on this site, expressing my opinion and being insulted by the blogger.  Makes me feel even better about the future.

    Nowhere did I insult you.


    Didn't she ultimately say she didn't support it (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 05:02:40 PM EST
    last night?

    She's a flip-flopper and immigrant coddler...

    I'm also glad she's supporting Spitzer. I don't think the populace hates immigrants as much as Lou Dobbs and Tancredo do. Also, latinos will have one fewer reason to vote Republican against Hillary in the general election.

    Name calling isn't allowed here (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 09:01:23 PM EST
    Be civil, please. Or your comments will be deleted.

    Wow (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 05:35:58 PM EST
    That's big of her actually. Kudos to Hillary Clinton

    A Lost Democratic Tradition (none / 0) (#5)
    by sensiblelefty on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 06:23:47 PM EST
    Of all the hot-button issues that are sure to become front-and-center in the '08 Presidential election, the Democratic Party's transparent pandering to illegal (mainly Latino) immigrants portends to be the deal-breaker. The great majority of Democratic voters - middle-class and below, DO NOT WANT BENEFITS GIVEN TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T DESERVE THEM. That means any kind of benefit, including driver's licenses. Besides flooding the labor market with cheap workers who are too meek to complain, form a union  or demand higher wages based upon the cost of living, these people bleed public services meant for poor United States Citizens, thus diluting already scarce resources meant for them. How could it be otherwise? The Democratic Party does not deserve to be given power if it refuses to stand for the protection of it's own constituency...can someone please explain to me why we are on the wrong side of this issue as a party?

    Simple (none / 0) (#9)
    by DA in LA on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 06:56:40 PM EST
    The Republicans have already tossed away the Hispanic vote for years to come.

    It would be foolish for Democrats to do the same.

    And your claim that the "great majority" of Democratic voters is not substantiated by the polls I have seen.


    pandering again... (none / 0) (#13)
    by sensiblelefty on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:15:06 PM EST
    You seriously think this kind of pandering wins approval in anyone's mind? Especially the "Hispanic" voter's mind? The kind that waves the Mexican flag and turns the American Flag upside down? Why do we need this kind of voter? Especially in the Democratic Party? Let them follow a dictator - or a dictator's Party - who cares little for the rule of law or its enforcement. The rest of us are SICK OF IT, whether republican OR Democrat...

    Sorry (none / 0) (#25)
    by DA in LA on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 01:40:09 AM EST
    You're wrong.  Look at the polls.  The people worried about the "people who come here without documentation and work without green cars" (I think that is what we are supposed to call them now, should help the discussion) are a minority.

    I don't think it is pandering, unless my beliefs are a lie.

    I don't know what you are talking about as far as the American Flag being upside down.  It's ridiculous and if it happened it was a rare and isolated incident.  As far as the Mexican Flag, I'm Irish, I've walked in parades with the Ireland flag, what do you want to do to me?


    Good question... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Electa on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:06:21 PM EST
    "can someone please explain to me why we are on the wrong side of this issue as a party?"  

    Why is the DP so bent on supporting illegal aliens, esp. since they are supposed to be the party of the working class peoples?  The hiring practices of illegals drag wages and benefits down, drain local resources and they repatriate millions back to their countries.  It ticks me off because the illegals can potentially become registered voters yet there are thousands of US citizens who lose their voting rights because of incarceration or being formerly incarcerated.  America is confused.


    the last time i checked, (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:17:42 PM EST
    illegal aliens can't vote. at least not in this country. so why would sen. clinton waste time pandering to them?

    again, providing DL's to illegal aliens is pretty much a waste of time. the claims of increased safety on the streets, as a consequence, are not supported by any empirical data, anywhere. show me the money!

    oddly enough, here in va you must provide proof of legal status, before being issued a DL. this has had no impact whatever on the level of safety on our streets. what's had a greater impact is the crackdown on drunk driving.

    as noted above, why would someone, here illegally, be any more inclined to hang around the scene of an accident, just because they have a license? sorry, this makes no sense to me.

    People are allowed to (none / 0) (#27)
    by Electa on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 09:07:41 AM EST
    register to vote at DMVs.  Do you think the system would be able to handle the thousands illegals to make sure none of them become registered voters.  I don't have that much trust in the systems.  Technically illegals aren't supposed to vote but in the real world of inefficient beauracracies they'll get voter registration cards, even if they have to pay under the table for them.  

    I can't see what (none / 0) (#22)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 12:10:23 AM EST
    all the apoplexy about territorial integrity and supposed pandering is about. Seems to me Hillary simply recognized that Spitzer's being pragmatic, as most governors are in fact. She aptly noted that no immigration reform has been passed at the national level because Congress is too divided to act. While I'm not impressed with her votes for the war and its continued funding, and Kyl/Lieberman, just to name a couple, I was happy to see a national candidate not use undocumented workers as rhetorical target practice, which Dodd attempted and badly at that.