Tedisco Goes National

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-Schenectady) made an appearance on CNN’s Lou Dobbs show yesterday evening. To repeat what he said, I wish it had been under different circumstances. I’ve known Jim for many years, and like him on a personal level for several good reasons. But I don’t like where he’s going with the driver’s license — dare I say hysteria? — in New York State. Dobbs sets the tone:

But here, let’s take a look at the “New York Times.” Now, the paper of record is really pro-open borders. It’s pro-amnesty. It is pro — by the way, you can’t get them to say illegal alien in the “New York Times.” Goodness, no. At best they are migrants, not even do they deign to say documented.

We found nothing, by the way, in the “New York Times” about these latest poll numbers or the fierce opposition to Governor Spitzer’s plan except this story a week ago: “Licenses for Immigrants” — immigrants, not illegal aliens or illegal immigrants — “Find Support from Some Terrorism and Security Experts” who, like Mr. Spitzer, regard it as a way of bringing a hidden population into the open.

Good job, “New York Times”.

Good lord, it’s enough to make your stomach turn over.

This setup to the interview is the usual Dobbsean formula, outrage and then queasiness when a media outlet does not dance to his tune. I have one word, Lou: Tums.

New York State Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco has given Governor Spitzer an October 31st deadline to stop this plan or face legal action. He’s also introduced a bill to prevent the governor from suing county clerks who are refusing to comply with the governor’s absurd proposal.

Assemblyman Tedisco joins me now.

Good to have you here.

JAMES TEDISCO (R), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER: Lou, it’s good to be here. I wish we were here under different circumstances, but this is really impacting the security of this city, this state and this nation. Less common sense and really nonsense by the governor.

DOBBS: What is going on with this governor?

Seventy-two percent in this latest poll oppose this. He’s got the usual list of suspects supporting his idiocy, like the “New York Times”. But being opposed in nearly every quarter. Your group, the assembly, is likely to decide the fate of this proposal.

TEDISCO: Yes, it really defies logic. It’s dangerous. It’s misguided. It’s reckless. And basically what he’s trying to do unilaterally, almost secretively and selectively, is take the one universal form of identification that you and I and every citizen in this nation uses — our driver’s license — to get into the secure areas of our life, give that to illegal aliens. And it’s…

Well, just how concerned are these people about “security? The State Senate, at hearings yesterday, suggested that if Gov. Eliot Spitzer doesn’t put the brakes on his plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens (sic), they may throw up a roadblock by withholding funding needed to put the new system in place. Now assuming that the Governor continues to implement the plan, wouldn’t withholding the money needed to verify identity be reckless in itself? Or is challenging the Governor to a game of chicken a way to demonstrate stewardship of New York State’s security?

DOBBS: This is just — what is this?

TEDISCO: Well, it’s not only about illegal aliens, Lou. It’s about illegal Eliot, because he thinks he’s a king — or he thinks he’s a dictator. He thinks he can say to the legislature, look, you might have passed a law in 1995, Section 502, which says — and mandates — “the commissioner shall be mandated to get a Social Security number from anybody who wants a driver’s license.”

He says I can unilaterally overturn it…

DOBBS: Yes.

Again with the “illegal Eliot” label. Jim, until a court says otherwise, repeating this defamation is what’s called “the big lie.” Bad people used it. Do better.

The Times Union reports that the Social Security requirement dates to 1995 when it was used as a way to help keep tabs on deadbeat parents who had lapsed on child support payments. The Spitzer administration argues the law doesn’t apply to those who don’t have a Social Security number in the first place, such as Canadians living here who can currently get licenses: “These words merely require an applicant to provide a Social Security number that he or she already has. They do not require someone to obtain a Social Security number as a condition to getting a license if the applicant does not have a Social Security number.” Moreover, a state Court of Appeals case last June upheld the DMV commissioner’s “wide discretion” in deciding what documents are needed.

So, if you’re going to call the Governor “illegal,” where’s the mens rea?

DOBBS: Maybe he is lining up with George Bush under the imperious governorship, he thinks it works so well for George W. Bush.

TEDISCO: Potentially.

DOBBS: Yes. Well, it’s working just about the same. But the idea that this governor would take up this approach, who is he paying off here?

TEDISCO: Well…

DOBBS: You know, as we’ve been reporting, he’s paying off those campaign pledges.

Paying off? Lou, if you want to charge corruption, please present a prima facie case, will you?

Since when do governors being elected have obligations to non- citizens?

TEDISCO: It seems to be more politics than public safety on his part. And I know you’ve talked about it and this is the reality. We’re a Motor Voter state. The one thing you need when you walk into the Board of Elections to register to vote is, guess what? A driver’s license and a number. I’d hate to see there be that level of voter fraud in here and the impact on our security.

Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not “seems.” (Hamlet, Act I scene ii)  Or is not.

DOBBS: You know, well, let me just say it out loud for everybody to hear. In California, in New York State and other states across the country right now, this the plan, folks. It is about voter fraud. It is about registering non-citizens. And it is about turning 2008 into something it should never become. And mark my words.

TEDISCO: Yes.

Huh? Mark your words? According to Lee Daghlian, of the state Board of Elections, driver’s licenses aren’t used to prove citizenship to vote. To register to vote a person signs an affidavit, subject to prosecution for perjury, that he or she is a U.S. citizen, A driver’s license is used to confirm identity at the polls of people already registered. Don’t you guys vote in New York?

Thanks Lou Dobbs, for dragging us into your Chicken Little Show.

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