AN HONEST difference of opinion is one thing. Exploiting a hot-button issue for short-term gain is another.
Just a month ago, on Aug. 15, Chris Gabrieli told Globe editors he did not feel strongly about the issue of giving favorable in-state tuitions to illegal immigrants seeking to attend UMass and other public colleges. While he wouldn’t propose it, Gabrieli said, “I never say I’m actually against it.” If the Legislature approved it, he added, “I have not said I’d veto it.”
His rationale: “I wish those kids would get the education, and I do feel they’re caught in between.” But there is a political problem for Democrats, he added. “Putting that out on our forehead is some kind of suicide impulse” suggesting that “our priority is to fund a group of kids whose parents are here illegally.”
So, let me get this straight: Chris Gabrieli “wishes those kids would get the education,” but he “feels that they are caught between.” Caught between what? Their complete and total innocence from their parents’ decision to bring them here illegally and a political climate that wants to punish all illegal immigrants, regardless of their age and culpability? A political climate – ironically, I guess – now fueled by Chris Gabrieli himself. So what are you telling us, Chris: that you are only willing to go to bat for the politically favored? Really nice. . .
But there is more. Chris Gabrieli adds, “I never say that I’m actually against it” or that he would necessarily veto an in-state tuition bill as Governor. Gee, isn’t that nice? Gabrieli is willing to let other elected officials (I believe they call these types of people “leaders”) carry the water and do the right thing by these children and then, after much of the political capital has been expended and the issues is possibly “safer,” he may be willing to apply his John Hancock. What a guy!
I said it before and I’ll say it again now: NOBODY put more on the line than Tom Reilly, who not only supports in-state tution for immigrant children, but stuck his neck out by very publicly and aggressively lobbying the legislature to pass the bill. Deval Patrick also supports in-state tuition, so he is right on the issue. However, to my knowledge, Patrick’s support begins and ends at his stated position and he did not champion the issue in the same fashion as Tom Reilly. There is a major distinction between saying you are for something and actualling fighting for it. On this issue, I think we all know that by actually doing something on behalf of these politically-orphaned kids, Tom Reilly invited the type of heat that comes with genuine leadership.
So, I ask: WTF, Gabrieli? Are you for educating these kids because it is the right thing to do or are you against them because they are political baggage?
For those who are not sold on a candidate in this race, it is a question well-worth considering. As a Tom Reilly supporter, I’m am proud to know that, when the opposition is ready to unload, my guy is willing to stand up for and in front of the children and not behind them.