JANUARY 29, 2008
In an effort to reverse his rapidly diminishing popularity among California Hispanics, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has announced support for a controversial plan that stirred massive outrage when Hillary Clinton recently endorsed it—granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
Trailing 3-to-1 behind Clinton in several California polls, Obama has taken the sort of risk that perhaps makes him seem a bit too desperate. Surveys have consistently revealed that two-thirds of voters oppose granting illegal aliens driver’s licenses because doing so rewards illegal behavior.
In fact, the issue blew up in Clinton’s face late last year when she backed New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s outrageous plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. Deeply concerned about a highly publicized Judicial Watch lawsuit aimed at blocking the ill-conceived plan, Spitzer eventually pulled the plug on it and admitted it was not such a good idea after all.
It seems bizarre that Obama would revive the idea simply to pander to California’s vast illegal immigrant population, which can’t vote anyways. Clinton is highly popular with the state’s legal Hispanics and has the coveted endorsements of California’s most powerful self-proclaimed Chicano politicians, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez. She also has the backing of the huge and powerful United Farm Workers.
Obama, on the other hand, is relatively unknown among Golden State Hispanics even though his campaign is seriously promoting the fact that he is the son of an immigrant father from Kenya. One well-known Latina advocate, who is also co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, shed light on Obama’s popularity among Hispanics, saying that a lot of them would ask “Señor como se llama?” (Sir, what is your name?).
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