Eliot Spitzer is rewriting his failed 2007 push to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, telling David Axelrod that he pulled the proposal because of pressure from Hillary Clinton during her Presidential campaign. Spitzer said he is "ashamed" of his decision.
Eliot Spitzer has plenty to be ashamed about, but most of it has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. Those of us with even the slightest historical memory will recall that Spitzer's proposal to award illegal aliens in New York State with driver's licenses was met with howls of disapproval from politicians across the political spectrum, as well as, more importantly, significant anger from the electorate.
In the weeks following his announcement in October, 2007, Spitzer's favorability ratings dropped from 54 to 41 percent, and only 25 percent of voters said they would vote for his reelection.
The poll numbers at the time directly reflected popular dissatisfaction with Spitzer's proposal. Two-thirds of voters said that driver's licenses were a privilege that unlawfully present non-citizens should not have.
Siena pollster Steven Greenberg remarked at the time that "Eliot Spitzer's standing with voters has fallen faster and further than any politician in recent New York history....The governor's fall is directly tied to his license proposal."
The pressure to rescind the illegal alien driver's license offer came not from above, but from below: popular outrage forced Spitzer to back down.
Why is Spitzer revising history on this point? Why do sociopaths do anything? Other people who know more about the man can probably venture better guesses than I. But it is revealing that Spitzer shapes the narrative to disguise the fact that illegal immigration remains deeply unpopular among Americans, who by and large oppose the elite consensus that illegal aliens must receive expedited normalization of their status.
Why else is Donald Trump so popular, except that he has foregrounded illegal immigration as the core issue of his campaign? Trump has pretended to run before, and nobody paid any attention to him at all. His poll numbers do not reflect the Kardashianization of the electorate so much as the voters' hunger for serious issues dealt with directly. Any candidate, in either party, who embraced a firm anti-illegal immigration position would have polled just as well.
Eliot Spitzer, imagining that the political winds have changed, is blaming Hillary Clinton for his sensible political calculation of 8 years ago. Should be interesting to see if this weird revisionism bears any fruit in his efforts at political self-rehabilitation.