The Debate Over Spitzer's Abandoned Plan

After the death the death of Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give undocumented residents driver’s licenses, the new debate is about who’s to blame for the way things turned out.

During a roundtable discussion with legislators on Inside City Hall, Democratic Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr. of the Bronx said it was Spitzer’s fault for not holding out for some concession.

Diaz said that “if he had just stayed the course, even though it may not have been popular, you know, when you look at the 50′s and 60′s and when you look traditionally, when wrongs have been righted in the United States, they haven’t been done necessarily in a popular fashion. And so, he should have stood the ground. And I think that we could have gotten a solid piece of legislation or solid policy here where we could have protected the security of the state of New York and did it in a way where we can treat undocumented immigrants in a respectful manner.”

Democratic Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat blamed the Republicans for fearmongering. “It was the Republican Senate that led the public hearings with Tom Tancredo who just put out an ad, just yesterday or the day before, depicting immigrants as terrorists with really sensitive images of the bombings in Madrid and scenes from 9/11. You, you rolled out the red carpet for him.”

Republican state Senator John Flanagan said, “Let’s go back–where all this really lays is at the governor’s door step. He came out, never had a hearing. And now the DMV and even Mike Balboni were talking about, ‘Oh yeah, well, we’re having hearings now.’ They’re not having any hearings. They were doing that in response to us asking them to come.”