The Gotcha Moment?
Last night's debate was a bad night for Hillary's opponents, and especially for my candidate Chris Dodd. Let's take a look at the so- called "highlight" for the attacks on Hillary, the licenses for illegal immigration moment (the so called double talk moment):
RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer has proposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. You 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?
SEN. 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. So what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum.
I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill this gap.There needs to be federal action on immigration reform.
How in the world is this a problematic answer? It seems correct in every particular to me. What progressive Democrat could disagree with this? Why, my candidate, Chris Dodd, shame on him:
SEN. 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.
What a load of crap. The purpose for giving them the chance to to earn the privilege is to document them as drivers and to insure that they are INSURED drivers; that their driving skills are up to par. That they will not be hit and run drivers. It is good PUBLIC POLICY. This is not about handing out Christmas trees. What ion the heck is Dodd talking about? Is Dodd trying to appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment with this? Because as public policy, his answer is nonsensical. Oh but what of the so called double talk?
SEN. CLINTON: I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it. And we have failed --
SEN. DODD: Wait a minute. No, no, no. You said yes, you thought it made sense to do it.
SEN. CLINTON: No, I didn't, Chris. But the point is, what are we going to do with all these illegal immigrants who are (driving ?) -- (inaudible)?
SEN. DODD: Well, that's a legitimate issue. But driver's license goes too far, in my view.
SEN. CLINTON: Well, you may say that, but what is the identification if somebody runs into you today who is an undocumented worker --
SEN. DODD: There's ways of dealing with that.
SEN. CLINTON: Well, but --
SEN. DODD: This is a privilege, not a right.
SEN. 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 an ordinary driver's license, and then a special card that identifies the people who would be on the road.
SEN. DODD: That's a bureaucratic nightmare.
SEN. CLINTON: So it's not the full privilege.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, I just want to make sure what I heard. Do you, the New York Senator Hillary Clinton, support the New York governor's plan to give illegal immigrants a driver's license? You told the Nashua, New Hampshire, paper it made a lot of sense.
SEN. CLINTON: It --
MR. RUSSERT: Do you support his plan?
SEN. CLINTON: You know, Tim, this is where everybody plays gotcha. It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem. We have failed, and George Bush has failed.Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York we want to know who's in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows. He's making an honest effort to do it. We should have passed immigration reform.
Doubletalk? Certainly. But in the end, the problem is recognized and the complexity of the problem Spitzer faces is recognized. Dodd's answer is pure drivel.
But what do the other doubletalking pols have to say about THE ISSUE? Edwards jumps in, but to talk about the issue? Of course NOT. It is to attack Clinton:
MR. EDWARDS: . . . I want to add something that Chris Dodd just said a minute ago, because I don't want it to go unnoticed. Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes just a few minutes ago, and I think this is a real issue for the country. I mean, America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them. Because what we've had for seven years is double-talk from Bush and from Cheney, and I think America deserves us to be straight.
Edwards just proceeded to say NOTHING on the issue. Excuse me, America is not looking for a gotcha President. At the least, Dodd took a position and argued the merits of the position with Clinton.
Edwards offered nothing but cheap hucksterism. Straight talk my eye. Edwards proved to be as phony as a three dollar bill. Where do you stand on the issue Senator Edwards? You did a great Tim Russert imitation but showed no qualitiies I want to see in a President.
And what did Obama, weak all night, have to say?
MR. WILLIAMS: Senator Obama, why are you nodding your head?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, I was confused on Senator Clinton's answer. I can't tell whether she was for it or against it, and I do think that is important. You know, one of the things that we have to do in this country is to be honest about the challenges that we face.Immigration is a difficult issue. But part of leadership is not just looking backwards and seeing what's popular, or trying to gauge popular sentiment. It's about setting a direction for the country, and that's what I intend to do as president.
What about the issue, Senator Obama?
MR. WILLIAMS: Are you for it or against it? SEN. OBAMA: I think that it is a -- the right idea. And I disagree with Chris, because there is a public safety concern. We can make sure that drivers who are illegal come out of the shadows, that they can be tracked, that they are properly trained, and that will make our roads safer. That doesn't negate the need for us to reform illegal immigration.
Good answer. Not sure I see the difference on substance with Clinton but, certainly a straight answer.
Advantage Obama here. Dodd took a position. Clinton doubletalked. Edwards did not even state his position, just attacked.
Loser? John Edwards.
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