"Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
Newt Gingrich has been like The Transparent Man of politics over the course of my adult life. Now you see him, now you don't. One minute he's a powerful leader in Congress, the next he's a private citizen. One day he's dipping a toe into the presidential race, the next he's calling in to Sean Hannity's radio show from his Fortress of Solitude at an Undisclosed Location to comment on Hillary Clinton's debate performance this week.
“Her performance in that debate was so bad, on issues that matter so much, she may not be able to recover from it… This issue of Spitzer trying to give out [drivers licenses] to people at a time when your driver’s license allows you to vote – for her to trap herself into saying that creates a big wound…
It takes her winning the nomination from an 80 percent likelihood to a 50 percent. It’s even money. If she doesn’t turn this around quick, I may have to call back in and take it even lower.”
Seeing him comment on Hillary is no big surprise, obviously. But what caught my interest wasn't his analysis of Clinton's debate foibles. It was another comment buried further down below the lede.
Newt wants senators to try to get an amendment on a bill banning states from offering driver’s licenses to those who are in the country illegally.
Huh? Check me on this here, but I thought that the Republicans were the party for smaller government, greater states rights, less regulation, etc. (One of the things I actually used to like about them.) Is it now somehow popular to ask the Federal government to begin dictating to the individual states how they issue and regulate their drivers licences?
Believe me, I don't make this statement in a vacuum. I understand that there is a valid debate going on about illegal immigration and what rights, documents, and benefits should or should not be available to such people. These are important and complicated questions. But the fact remains that we continue to see a trend of the Federal government passing laws which clearly go further and further afield from the original scope of the Legislature in the Constitution. Aside from international treaties and such, Congress really wasn't supposed to be regulating anything except interstate commerce. From Article 1, Section 8.
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
There are differences between the "several states" in how licenses are handled. It can vary in the areas of what age you can get one, when such privileges are revoked, etc. Trying to stretch regulations on the issuance of such licenses is a pretty severe stretch of the old interstate commerce dodge.
Besides, having a drivers license does not automatically confer citizenship on a person, nor give them sweeping rights and privileges, nor grant the dreaded conservative buzzword, amnesty, on them. (Insert spooky music here.) What it does do, at least in my view, is document them and bring them into the system. If you're really worried about illegal immigrants, wouldn't you like to know who they are, where they live and that they are at least paying something into the system?
I'm not sure one way or the other whether or not New York should issue drivers licences to illegal immigrants. What I am sure about is that it's a matter for New York to decide, not the Feds.