Spitzer on the ‘Politics of Fear’

Eliot Spitzer just delivered a speech at Fordham University, where he drew a connection between critics of his plan to allow illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses and the president’s opposition to extending insurance to uninsured children.

Spitzer, according to the text of the speech sent from his office, considers both of these opposition fronts rooted in a “politics of fear.”

From the text:

“Look at what we’re talking about here. We want to make our roads safer and bring more people into the system and they’re talking about terrorism. We want to insure more children and they’re talking about socialism.”

More quotes from the text.

“They equated immigrants to terrorists, and with this unsubstantiated connection made, they brought in the tragedy of 9/11 for good measure. As we have seen, 9/11 has been the excuse for so much bad policy, yet some have called on it one more time to strike fear in the public consciousness. In an instant, they took a common sense public safety measure and warped it completely.

“And, if they’re going to bring 9/11 into this, they should at least get their facts straight. The 9/11 Commission concluded that an immigration status requirement for licenses would not have prevented the 9/11 attacks. In fact, four of the five states that issued the terrorists licenses and identity documents had immigration status requirements at the time.”

He will go on to say, according to the text:

“At the end of the day, we are not talking about letting more people into this country."

As for extending health insurance to uninsured children, Spitzer said the president “responded with fear-mongering rhetoric. This time, rather than playing upon the public’s fear of terrorism, they played upon the fear of another ism.”