November 05, 2007

John Edwards: The biggest phony in the prez race?

Boy, last week was supposedly a very tough one for the Democrat prez candidate front-runner, Hillary Clinton. In that party's debate last week, Hil got a bit tripped up on a question by Tim Russert as to whether she agrees with New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's plan to grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Check out her response.

Now, being the great anti-Democrat that I like to be (especially at the national level), I thought it pretty cool when John Edwards and Barack Obama, Hillary's closest rivals, went for the jugular. That is, until I just happened upon Edwards' appearance on ABC's Sunday morning pundit show "This Week" yesterday.

To his credit, host George Stephanopoulos grilled Edwards pretty good on several issues. Here's the complete video of Edwards' interview. When George finally gets around to the subject of Hillary, notice how Edwards states that all the candidates should "be judged equally," regardless of their gender (and, one would surmise, their color, since Obama's in the race). Of course, right there, a terrific follow-up query for Stephy would have been "That's interesting ... would you say that sentiment should also apply to various state initiatives around the country (led by Ward Connerly) that call for the abolition of racial and gender preferences, quotas and essentially mandating the literal language of various 1960s civil rights acts?"

Next, at approximately 7:05 on the interview video, Edwards is asked specifically about Clinton's response to Spitzer's drivers license plan. Hillary did indeed waffle; she said Spitzer's plan "makes a lot of sense," but a bit later said "Do I think this is the best thing for governor to do? No." OK, so Clinton gave a non-answer that basically states: 1) She understands why Spitzer was doing it, and 2) It probably ain't the best idea for the underlying problem. Leaving aside the fact that she probably doesn't mean that at all in the whole scheme of things, what's John Edwards' answer to the Clinton/Spitzer haggle? Let the states decide. OK, but ... isn't that precisely what Spitzer took advantage of in New York? Edwards elaborates at around 7:30 in the video that "anyone making an effort" towards citizenship should get a drivers license. Um, what precisely does "making an effort" mean, John, especially when one is here illegally? (Oh, but Edwards says that we need "comprehensive immigration reform" which somehow will include these "paths" towards citizenship that illegals can take. Gotcha. I think. Never mind that Edwards, in 2004, was totally IN FAVOR of granting illegals drivers licenses, as Stephy nails him on at around 8:00 in the vid!)

Best of all, Stephanopoulos, at around 8:35 pointedly asks Edwards "How is that different from what Hillary Clinton said in the debate?" All Edwards can do is stammer and say "Well, I heard her say two different things." Sort of like your own positions, John?? To make his point, Stephy plays an excerpt of the debate (at 8:55).

To the larger issue, if I was Stephanopoulos, I would have asked that if illegal immigration is federal issue, how can states then legally on their own even grant drivers licenses in the first place? I'm very much in favor of federalism; however, in the instances we've seen where localities have had it up to here with lack of federal action on illegal immigration and thus take their own steps to deal with it, they're hauled into court by groups like the ACLU and told that they CAN'T act -- because immigration is a federal matter! Just take a gander at Hazleton, PA (my emphasis):

A federal judge threw out a Pennsylvania town's illegal-immigrant law Thursday in a decision likely to reverberate across the country.

Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act sought to fine landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and suspend business licenses of companies that hire them. A companion measure would have required tenants to obtain rental permits.

U.S. District Judge James Munley ruled the measures unconstitutional. He said immigration policies are a federal, not local, responsibility and that the ordinances don't give employers, workers, landlords and tenants an adequate chance to defend themselves.

"The city could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not," Munley writes. "The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public."

So, again, what difference would it make if the STATE of Pennsylvania did precisely what Hazleton did? Immigration is a FEDERAL matter, according to Judge Munley. Subsequently, since immigration is a FEDERAL matter, how then can a STATE grant a LEGAL piece of identification to someone who is VIOLATING FEDERAL LAW?

You tell me. But the bottom line is that Edwards, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama really had no business giving Hillary the business over her drivers licenses answer. It made good politics, sure, but their own views are as every bit as contradictory as Hillary's appeared to be.

Posted by Hube at November 5, 2007 05:30 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

With our system of unelected life-appointed federal judges, there is no practical recouse when they choose to arbitrarily nullify legislation that has been ennacted by the elected representatives of the people.

Amend the Constitution to overturn a decision made by these unelected and therefore unaccountable out-of-control activist judges? Won't happen (as it hasn't in over 30 years.)in this day and age.

These federal judges will continue to "interpret" the Constitution according to their whims.

Posted by: EdWonk at November 15, 2007 01:40 AM


I know this isn't the thrust of your post, but I just had to post the Lizardly scheme. I have no problem with giving illegals drivers licenses... provided it's part of some "Z-Visa" type immigration apparatus.

That is, the "price" of Mr. Illegal getting his driver license is that he must register with the federal government, pay his back taxes, pay some punitive fine, get a background check, and so forth. (Maybe leave the country and re-enter... whatever the setup is.)

Then and only then, he should be allowed to get a driver license -- if the state chooses to issue such documents (it's up to each individual state). But by federal law, it should look different enough (a specific color, for example) that anyone can see at a glance that the bearer has (a) passed all the driving-test requirements, but (b) is not a fully legal resident, but has that nebulous, "quasi-legal" Z-Visa status.

I have no objection to illegal -- or rather, quasi-legal alien drivers licenses under those circumstances.


Posted by: Dafydd ab Hugh at November 15, 2007 05:42 AM