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FOX News "All-Stars" comment on Bush speech on immigration

Reported by Chrish - May 16, 2006

FOX brought in its "heavy hitter" Brit Hume for the commentary immediately following Bush's speech on immigration tonight 5/15/06, bumping Bill O'Reilly from his spot for the first half-hour. A panel was ready to comment on the speech, including conservative Mort Kondracke, super-conservative Fred Barnes , neo-conservative Bill Kristol, and enigmatic Nina Easton. With uber-conservative Hume guiding the discussion there was a nice variety of perspectives from middle to extreme right.

Kristol spoke first and said that he agreed with Bush that a comprehensive reform package is needed, addressing border security and a guest worker program simultaneously. Many conservatives (Bill O'Reilly one of the most vehemently vocal ) want the borders secured and fenced first and the illegal immigrants who are here dealt with, in whatever manner, at a later date. Kristol is unsure that Bush made his case for the comprehensive approach well enough to sway conservatives of the "borders first" view.

Nina Easton, who is now affiliated with Fortune Magazine, said that Bush is ordering the National Guard to the southern border to appear to be taking "big and bold" action to appease the aforementioned conservatives. She was left unsure of his position on a graduated guest worker program proposed in the Senate, except to know that he doesn't want to appear to support "amnesty", the now derisive name for the same programs when referred to by more hard-line conservatives. (Voting starts tomorrow in the Senate.)

Kondracke adds that some conservative Republican Senators are planning to introduce some "killer amendments": Johnny (GA) Isaacson demands that DHS must certify that the borders are secure before a guest worker plan can be implemented, which, if passed, would run off Democrats and the bill would fail, and Jon (AZ) Kyl would like to make it much more difficult for people who have been here for a long time to "self-declare" intentions of staying in this country - that too would drive away Democrats. Kondracke thinks the speech was well-balanced, including all the elements even though it didn't make a strong case for a comprehensive plan. The fact is, says Mort, that some 12 million people are here illegally who are not going to go away and we're not going to kick them out and we're not going to be able to "starve them out by denying them employment," so something has to be done with them and legalizing them is the way to go.

Barnes agrees that a comprehensive package is needed but for different reasons. He says the time is ripe for immigration reform only every 20 years or so, so if only part is passed now it will be 20 years until the other part gets passed. He was pleased that Bush laid out his points and says that while Bush of course wants to win back his base he is also trying to get a bill passed in the Senate.

Hume said that now that we've heard some inside the Beltway perspectives, let's hear how it's gone over with "the folks," and goes to his colleague in NY, Bill O'Reilly, to see how it went over from that point of view. (Comment: Lest we forget, O'Reilly is a multi-millionaire, not a "folk." Being a former folk means that he retains a crude, unrefined manner but he's a limousine loudmouth now.)

O'Reilly says it was a start, but the guys in the Beltway are making a big mistake - according to a new FOX News poll only 38% of Americans oppose putting the military on the border, 62% want troops on the border. (If he was using the figures from the April 4-5 FOX Opinion Poll, the most recent I found, the figure supporting using the military thusly was 55% - 7% duh. In fact, according to an accompanying article on FOXNews.com, "Support for using the military has dropped from 67 percent a year ago, and a high of 79 percent in June 2002, when memories of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were more top of mind.")

O'Reilly says 6,000 National Guardsmen is not enough; it should be 15,000, but it's a start. The hi-tech comin' in there will send a message to the coyotes (the most blatantly dehumanizing term I've heard yet) who smuggle people and the dope-dealers - your day is over (jabbing finger).

O'Reilly says Bush was smart, not trying to be the macho guy, not trying to divide, "remember, he's a uniter, not a divider, (he was fighting to keep a straight face) and he has to get this through a 'very liberal Senate'" in the sense that they're very frightened of the left-wing press and the Hispanic lobby, who demonize a lot of people who want the border secured. All in all he thinks it's a good night for America, particularly because we're in the middle of a war on terror(tm) and we need to be secure from people walking across the border.

A pretty tepid reception for a pretty tepid speech.

Another elephant in the living room is the $385 million recently awarded to KBR (Halliburton) for building emergency detention centers, should an 'immigration emergency" arise. Lo and behold, an immigration emergency arose. Bush said that the so-called "catch and release" method (another dehumanizing term) is being terminated, and " We have expanded the number of beds in our detention facilities, and we will continue to add more" so that those arrested can be held until officially processed back out of the country. Marketwatch reports:

"The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company said."

What an amazing coincidence. Almost as big a coincidence that this speech was quickly scheduled as the NSA domestic spying scandal is blowing wide open and we anxiously await the announcement of you-know-who's indictment. Quick, look over here - it could be a terrorist!!

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