The Governor Shifts Gears

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New York governor Eliot Spitzer (D) explains his reversal on offering drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants and comments on the impact of the Kerik indictment on Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid.


Eliot Spitzer

Comments [11]


To translate from NPR newspeak into English: undocumented = illegal.

Thank you.

Nov. 16 2007 01:13 PM
Michael from Brooklyn

Just wanted to follow up on my first time call to the show. As great as Brian is, I think he was very close to adopting "the horse race" narrative. I appreciate his point that this was an interview from the "political point of view." Maybe it would have been cool to specifically say so at some point.

I love the show because so much of it is from the real world point of view. I don't really care why people are doing things. Instead, I want to understand "What is the nature of this problem, what are people trying to do, what is working, what is not, why is it working? Why is it failing? Where can I find out more about it?"

The "horse race" is engaging. Just like baseball or soccer or any spectator sport. It's great for the fans. And NPR has its fair share of the "left" or "progressive" fans.

But most people don't follow the sport. Every four years about half of them show up for the World Series event - the presidential election. Then go home for another four years. And leave governance to the engaged or the pros.

For as long as I can remember (I am a baby boomer), the fans have tried to guilt the non fans into watching the game. It hasn't worked yet. Exhortation and crisis sometimes increase attendance, but in a media game, the best media machines tend to win.

"Spolitics" is fun and interesting. But it is a distraction for the 70-80% of the people who don't choose to vote regulary.

Nov. 16 2007 09:26 AM
Alan from queens

I believe Brian was on target with this interview.
Governor Spitzer needed to be grilled on this.
The licensing issue has merits, but I feel uncomfortable giving legitimacy to people being here illegally. Clearly this is not a black and white issue. We have turned a blind eye on illegal immigration in many respects. The governor may have had a shot on passing this program if he first accumulated political allies and floated the idea instead of trying his steamroller approach.

Nov. 16 2007 04:22 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper Westside

It's completely ridiculous to discuss Spitzer's tenure as governor in terms of failure when he's been in office for less than a year! This is hardly useful. He wouldn't be the first to assume that a large electoral margin is mandate. He's also had to learn (the hard way) that being governor is not like being attorney general. And after 12 year’s of Pataki's bland, non-leadership any one with some ideas would seem aggressive. And then there's the dysfunctional and corrupt Albany political scene. And while we're talking about Bruno what about Sheldon Silver who has also been playing political games with Spitzer. They had it great under Pataki -- dividing up the spoils. And now those two old cronies are teaching the young whipper-snapper a lesson. And we're falling for it. A year from now hopefully this will all be forgotten.

Nov. 15 2007 01:31 PM
Edward from Bloomfield,NJ

The governor was sort of evasive on the Internet sales tax issue. This wouldn't be a new tax. If New York residents make Internet or catalog purchases and don't pay tax at the time of sale, they are obligated to pay use tax on those purchases when they file their income taxes. Is the governor saying that people don't need to pay those taxes?

While living in both New York and New Jersey, I've payed the estimated use tax that is calculated based on my income. Both states have ominous warnings in their tax forms saying that -- even though I've paid the estimated amount -- I could still be audited to determine my actual use tax liability.

I'd really like to hear a follow up segment on just how states are enforcing these use tax regulations. Are people really being audited? Are states subpoenaing's sales records to go after buyers?

Nov. 15 2007 11:55 AM
Emily from New York, NY

Spitzer has to be one of the worst Governors.
Personally, I have nothing against his proposal for granting licenses to otherwise undocumented individuals. However, I do question the reality of whether that would truly provide a benefit to anyone. Why would an undocumented person subject themselves to such scrutiny? If they currently drive without licenses and insurance, what is the incentive in this proposal that would change their behavior?

Spitzer is no better than George Bush. He has used such an iron fist in the State Senate that he has ruined much of his good will with the legislature. He has also impeded important legislation because he had refused to review any issues if his Finance Reforms didn't make it through the legislature.

Let's not forget how he went after Wall St. executives and has NOT gotten convictions for any of those pursuits. . . but he has spent plenty tax payer money and ruined many careers by spouting allegations to the media (in some cases prematurely, to which AIG's Greenberg could attest). I think we pay enough in taxes that he need not waste the legislatures time and conduct witch hunts.

Nov. 15 2007 11:49 AM
David from Brooklyn

I commend the Governor for taking risks. That being said I don't understand his point (and others) that he did not fail with the licensing issue. He blames Washington for failure who themselves have difficulty because of the amnesty argument. This is exactly the same obstacle the gorvernor faced. Why is Washington's lack of success a "failure" and his not? He cannot answer this point by saying that it is really Washington's job to take care of this because once he took the issue on for NY state, he made it his job.

I am really looking forward to your response.


Nov. 15 2007 11:31 AM

I totally agree with Leo, there are some issues behind "troopergate" in regards to Bruno....what doesn't Brian/NPR even give a damn about that? And why doesn't Brian have the guts to address that question on the air?

Nov. 15 2007 11:28 AM
carolita from manhattan

And yes, I"d vote for him again. I admire that he gave it a shot. I like that very much about him. I don't want my governor just sitting on his tush, trying to stay out of trouble.

Nov. 15 2007 11:26 AM
carolita from manhattan

I think he's right -- he couldln't do it alone. He tried, he put himself out on a limb, but he failed. I hope he continues to search for a solution.

Nov. 15 2007 11:25 AM
Leo from Queens

Why is it that Brian, and the rest of the media in this state continues to present 'Trooper Gate' as an attack on Bruno by Spitzer - This is about corruption and misuse of taxpayers funds by Mr. Bruno to campaign and to meet with his business associated who are getting freebies from the state.
WHY DOESN"T the MEDIA in this state CONCENTRATE ON CORRUPTION? Why on the Petty personal things that somebody was mean by exposing the corruption of Bruno?

Nov. 15 2007 11:23 AM

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