As the November mid-term elections draws near, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand still has a lot of work to do. Roughly 40% of potential voters in New York still have no opinion on the Senator, or have no idea who she is. Yet those that do can note that she was an ardent supporter of the Obama Stimulus, the Health Care Reform, and now it seems the Immigration Reform.
The first 2 points have been discussed at length in other posts over the past year. But the issue of immigratiion is new. Just as new is Senator Gillibrand’s position.
When appointed by Gov. Patterson to the junior Senator seat, Gillibrand was actively opposed to then Gov. Spitzer’s proposal to allow illegal aliens to get driver’s liscences. At the time Senator Gillibrand was a Congresswoman. This brought huge pressure from Democrats and supporters at the time.
“Ms. Gillibrand, a Democrat, opposed any sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants, supported deputizing local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws, spoke out against Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to allow illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses and sought to make English the official language of the United States.”
But a year later, with the help of lobbyist/consultant Roberto Ramirez, Senator Gillibrand is now a favorite of the very same people that initially despised her positions on immigration. In fact Assemblyman Peter Rivera who once denounced the positions of Gillibrand as “xenophobic”, now is a Gillibrand supporter.
“If anyone else did a 180-degree turnaround to the benefit of every immigrant in the United States, I don’t know who they are.
I think that it takes a lot of courage to be able to do that. I don’t think it’s appeasement or conventionalism or any of those isms. If you want to call it a flip-flop, well, the immigrant community is the benefit of it.”
Given the fact that Senator Gillibrand has now gained support among many immigration supporters, but what is the cost? In less than a year the multi-term politician has gone from a consistent opposition to full support.
“Undocumented immigrants”? The document missing being a green card and leagal authorization to be in America. Therefore meaning that they violated Federal law and are not only criminals but fugitives. But the police are the bad guys?
The question here is not the law, nor the position on immigration policy. It is the fact that a politician has reversed years long beliefs on a significant political issue, that in the past she defended in the face of opposition from within her own Party. This is more than just a flip-flop, it is a complete ideological reversal. In less than 12 months. Just as the need for re-election and funding grew.
Voters face a question. Is a Senator who is capable of reversing multiple long-held ideological positions at the whim of their political party worthy of representing New York State? Is it possible that any voter can be sure that such a politician would not again change their position as the whims of the political party change? Would voters that might benefit from the change today have the same belief in the politician if tomorrow they again change their position when re-election is not an imminent need?
Some 40% of potential voters in New York don’t know who Senator Gillibrand is or where she stands. Considering the number and nature of flip-flops she has made in the last year it is not surprising. But by November what is the chance of the real Senator Gillibrand appearing? Or what if this seemingly non-vertabrae political figure is the real thing. In either case is this the politician that New York wants and/or deserves?