I hope someone can explain to me the wisdom of piling on Elliot Spitzer for some perceived lack of decorum when he tried to implement a policy of giving drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants. As I understand it, somehow if he’d only been more tactful and polite to his allies it would have mitigated the fact that the issue has now become the battle cry of Lou Dobbs, Tom Tancredo, Mitt Romney and an extreme right wing searching for something suitably hate-filled and jingoistic to rally the base. The fact that Sistah Souljah-ing Spitzer at this point plays into the hands of machine politicians on both sides of the aisle like Joe Bruno and Andrew Cuomo who joined together to try to hamstring Spitzer seems to be of little import, and in the wake of inflammatory mailers and heated right wing rhetoric it somehow conveniently allows everyone to run away from the terrible poll numbers and just bitch about Spitzer rather than try to get on the right side of policy.
If there’s some tactical brilliance going on here, I confess it escapes me. This is going to be an ugly battle — as Stoller says, possibly a preview of 2008 — and I do think it’s going to be one of those issues where we all hang together or we hang separately.