Friday, February 01, 2008

Differences - #2 Immigrant Rights

I am continuing to take up Betty's challenge on differences between Obama and Clinton that make Obama more progressive - having already discussed foreign policy outlook in a comment below.

Today's Times article about last night's debate shows another difference that is very meaningful to me, given the work I've done on this in Rhode Island -- Obama supports allowing undocumented immigrants to have driver's licenses, which Clinton does not. Granted, she was for the proposal in New York State before she was against it, but now she is pretty clearly against it.

Not afraid of the inevitable right-wing tidal wave that will come his way on the issue, Obama simply stated last night that “People don’t come here to drive, they come here to work."

Driver's licenses are arguably less important than a path to citizenship, but they are still pretty damn important - how would you like yours taken away? The issue is also a symbol of how far one is willing to go to stand up for basic fairness towards undocumented immigrants, who, as every politician knows, are not able to vote.

Anyone is welcome to come forward with the (easy to anticipate) argument about how Democrats should go into hiding on what pundits are calling the "wedge issue" of immigrant rights so that they can win on other things. But I can already tell you I don't agree.


betty said...

I thank Koko for his answer to my challenge. Of course, immigrant rights is an issue that is important to me, too -- maybe the most important.

HOWEVER, as much as I have enjoyed this discussion of both candidates all week, I continue to see this cherry-picking of differences (including a difference that only came out last night!) as a sign that a) the candidates are really, really, really similar and b) the Obama vote is largely an anti-Hillary vote. Which is FINE, but let's tell it like it is.

I am very much leaning towards Obama in my vote for Tuesday, but I admit this is because Hillary -- impressive as she has been lately-- comes with a lot of baggage that makes me uneasy and sometimes angry. I don't pretend I know what Obama will stand for or how he will act as a President. His campaign tone may be slightly softer than hers on foreign policy, but tone doesn't tell me anything, and it doesn't matter to the people who have to deal with the consequences of U.S. aggression.

Obama's health plan doesn't cover undocumented immigrants -- basic fairness? -- no, but I wouldn't expect that at this point.

Jasen said...


are you suggesting that people in the blog are only supporting obama because they are anti-hillary?

I can tell you honestly that when i started interning for Obama, I had much more respect for hillary than i do now (just ask Pokeepsie, it was up until this last month that I said that I wouldn't be able to vote for her in the general.)

Also, I have been in Obama's corner since rumors came out about him running...that was long before Hillary was a declared candidate. Also, Koko has been an Edwards supporter since 2004, also, before Hillary was a candidate.

Jasen said...

Nice Nation article talking about the differences between Clinton and Obama and why Christopher Hayes likes Obama.

Betty & Bimbo said...


Thank you - I will check out this article.

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear. I would never try to tell anyone why they are voting for someone.
I can only tell you about myself, and I am baffled that Obama has been able to garner so much support without being asked to substantially and consistently differentiate himself from "the establishment" he says he wants to fight.

[p.s. I won't be on the internet until late this afternoon, so please don't mind my e-absence.]

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

I don't defend Clinton's position, but it's a state issue, not something the president will be making decisions about.

Jasen said...

Fair enough...who is down for some live blogging for the Super Bowl??

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Jasen, will it matter to you if Clinton wins and Obama endorses her (as he almost certainly will if he doesn't get the nomination, and vice-versa)? Would the recommendation of this guy you respect move you at all?

Jasen said...

Good question. But if either one of them loses, they would have no choice but to endorse the other, simply out of political necessity. I would see his endorsement of her (or her's of him) as more of a concession than a real endorsement.

I think the better question is this: What implications would an Edwards endorsement of Clinton have, assuming he did it while Obama was still in the race? That I would have to think about (if Clinton then went on to beat Obama.)

Jasen said...

Also, I was not impressed with Hillary's newest endorsement...did anyone see this??