Skip to comments.CA: GOP might be wishing for ruckus, but (demRats may holdup budget for illegals license bill OK)
Posted on 05/29/2004 10:13:20 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO -- "Have you written anything about the threat to hold up the budget over the drivers' license issue?" Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy asked me.
He wanted me to contribute to a small flurry of news stories this week saying Latino lawmakers were thinking about threatening to block passage of the budget until Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees to sign a bill making drivers' licenses available to illegal immigrants.
No, I said. I didn't think it was a serious threat, I told him, even though Latinos may have enough seats in the Assembly and Senate to pull it off.
But if they tried it, I said, "That would be the best thing that could happen to you."
"That would get you three seats," I said.
"At least," he grinned.
As GOP leader, McCarthy's No. 1 goal is to eventually elect enough Republicans to reverse the Democratic majority in the Assembly, currently 48 seats to 32, and elect a majority of at least 41 Republicans.
The basis for the stories that ran in a few papers this week seemed to be a report in a political newsletter based on anonymous sources. Some of the stories also had a quote to that effect from one Latina senator, Martha Escutia of Commerce.
The fact is there never was any serious threat of a Latino lawmaker revolt on the budget over reviving the recently repealed drivers' license law.
As passionately as many Latinos and liberal Democrats feel about the issue, the cooler heads among them realize that they can't win that battle.
The recall of Gov. Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger proved many things, but one of the clearest messages it sent was the widespread unpopularity of the drivers' license law.
The law was rushed through the Legislature, and Davis signed it last year in one of several desperate last-minute attempts to shore up his crumbling political base in advance of the recall election.
Here's how cynical everyone was about it: Davis had blocked two previous versions of the bill, saying they did not have enough safeguards to prevent terrorists from obtaining licenses; the bill he signed contained none of the security features in the previous bills he rejected.
In his campaign, Schwarzenegger promised to get the law repealed. Polls showed that message resonated with the vast majority of voters, including many Latinos, who not only saw it as a security problem, but as an official stamp of approval on illegal immigration.
Soon after lawmakers reconvened in January, they meekly repealed the measure. It was a not-so-tacit acknowledgement that they had overreached.
Supporters of the law, including its author, Sen. Gil Cedillo, said they were agreeing to the repeal only because Schwarzenegger promised to work with them on a compromise that would make the licenses available but include adequate security provisions, such as fingerprinting and background checks.
Cedillo and administration officials have been meeting off and on, but little progress has been reported so far.
Meeting with reporters in late March, Schwarzenegger sounded as if he doubted a compromise could be reached.
"It might not be possible," he said.
Whether or not there was a connection, the stories about a potential budget standoff were followed by a closed-door meeting Thursday between Schwarzenegger and Latino leaders.
Both sides described the meeting as "fruitful," but acknowledged they don't have an agreement yet.
It seems possible that Schwarzenegger is shining on the Latino lawmakers knowing he risks a political backlash if he signs such a measure.
There is deep opposition among Republican voters for licenses for illegal immigrants under any conditions.
Latino lawmakers may also be shining on their constituents, knowing there is little chance of the governor's support but needing to make it known they're fighting for the bill.
Realistically, it could be risky for them to stage a high-profile confrontation before the November elections with a governor whose poll ratings seem to be climbing through the stratosphere.
That's why McCarthy and other Republicans were -- like Tom Hanks in "Castaway" -- blowing hard on the small spark of the news stories. They hoped to see the spark turn into a flame.
They believe Republican legislative candidates could use the issue to defeat Latino hardliners in some districts that would otherwise be safely Democratic.
But to show just how remote a possibility it is, Kern County Assemblywoman Nicole Parra's spokeswoman, Nicole Winger, didn't wait for me to raise the subject of Parra's position on the boycott.
Parra is facing a tough race for re-election in her west valley district against conservative Republican Dean Gardner.
"No way," Winger said, would Parra join in such a maneuver.
And this is a bad thing . . . having California unable to issue welfare checks/food stamps/benifits to those very same illegals? And all the other freeloaders there?
HA HAH HA HA HA HA HA HA !
Yahoo and Gray are a good fit, imo. ;-)
I hope that this guy is right, but I'm not holding my breath. Cedillo has been pushing for this for years and I'm not going to pin my hopes on his fellow democrats (Latino, or not) abandoning him now.
Here's hoping that I'll be pleasantly surprised and this idea finally dies, and stays dead.
The measure is sure of passing with Republican support as an "urgency measure" thus protecting it from voter initiatives to repeal it.
There may be efforts in the courts to stop it if it becomes law but both parties, likely joined by the Bush Administration, will oppose the effort to stop it.
Some believe that the licenses-or-no-budget hubbub was just a ruse to give Gov. Schwarzenegger cover; i.e., he could "give in" claiming that the budget crisis trumps all. I don't know.
Anyone reading Mr. Schwarzenegger's official campaign site during the recall election could clearly see that he was against the Gov. Davis version but Mr. Schwarzenegger intended to do everything possible for "undocumented workers" including drivers' licenses with safeguards that were not in the Davis version.
The Save Our State (son of Prop 187) could have prevented this but there was no Republican party support and Mr. Williams was the only talk show host in Sacramento actively supporting and reporting regularly on Save Our State. There were few other hosts supporting it in the rest of the state.
There was widespread support in 1994 when the original Prop 187 passed. Things are worse today. What happened? Seems that almost everyone wants to be on Arnold Kennedy's team hoping to become part of the Hollywood-Sacramento-Washington-Hyannis Post in-crowd, I guess. Ask the other talk show hosts.
Mr. Ramirez, Executive Director Save Our State, expressed the hope that giving licenses to ILLEGALS will help qualify and pass the Save Our State initiative the next time.
The fun starts. I believe that polls show that about 70 percent think highly of Gov. Schwarzenegger and 70 percent are opposed to drivers' licenses for ILLEGALS.