Snowden – ‘Hobson’s choice’ on immigration bill

Thomas Hobson rented horses from his 17th Century livery stable in Cambridge.  In order to keep his “inventory” fresh and not over-used, the crafty Englishman rotated his stock, and made it his strict rule to rent only the horse in the nearest stall, which always was the most rested.  Although forty mounts for hire might be stabled at any given time, a prospective customer was allowed to rent only the animal in the lead stall, or none at all. 

A “Hobson’s Choice” offers only one viable option.  In reality it is a “take it or leave it” proposition, and if there are multiple apparently available choices, they are mere illusions.

Speaker Billy McCoy’s Democratic leadership adroitly dealt House Republicans a “Hobson’s Choice” last Thursday afternoon.  With blinding speed, the Arizona-style immigration enforcement bill earlier passed by the Senate was amended in the House Judiciary A committee and rushed out for a quick floor vote.  Following a brief explanation and no debate, the amended bill passed the full House 77-40.  All Republicans and most RWD’s (rural white Democrats) voted for the bill, with a handful of white Democrats joining the Black Caucus in opposition.

Greg Snowden Blog
1/30/11