Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spitzer Can't Take The Heat

On Saturday I asked if New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer could take the heat over his very unpopular plan to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

Today we learn the answer is no.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer is abandoning his plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, saying that opposition is just too overwhelming to move forward with such a policy.

[. . .]

“You have perhaps seen me struggle with it because I thought we had a principled decision, and it’s not necessarily easy to back away from trying to move a debate forward,” he said.
If Spitzer's position was truly principled, should it not be worth fighting for to the better end? The truth is more likely that Spitzer's decision is simply unprincipled and poll-driven:
Mr. Spitzer’s decision to abandon his plan comes as a poll released Tuesday by Siena College found that seven in 10 New York voters who had heard about it — and more than 80 percent of the 625 registered voters polled had — opposed it. It also found that for the first time, more people viewed the governor unfavorably than favorably.
Steven Greenberg, Siena New York Poll spokesman said, "voters think the Governor is wrong on the policy and on the rationale for the policy:"
"One year ago, Eliot Spitzer won 69 percent of the votes for Governor. In January, 75 percent of voters gave him a favorable rating. Only five months ago, 64 percent viewed him favorably and 55 percent gave him a positive job performance rating," Greenberg said. "All that’s changed in a New York minute."

"Eliot Spitzer’s standing with voters has fallen faster and further than any politician in recent New York history," Greenberg said. "Everything may not have changed on day one but from the voters’ perspective, everything about Governor Spitzer changed in year one."

[. . .]

The Governor’s fall is directly tied to his license proposal.
Even Democrats can't understand why their party's national leaders embrace driver's licenses for illegal aliens, and see driving illegals as "de facto amnesty" and political poison.

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