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Brit Hume Says Bush's Guest Worker Program Not An Amenesty Program

Reported by Donna - May 22, 2006

Last Monday on Studio B with Shepard Smith he had a segment with Brit Hume who was going to explain to us what the president hoped to accomplish with his speech on illegal immigration. First he had to explain that the president's guest worker program was not an amnesty program. (Comment: Arguably it could be perceived as an amnesty program)

Hume was his usual haughty self who kept his concern on the president's base and no one else.

The following is my transcript between Shepard Smith and Brit Hume:

Shepard Smith: What does he have to do to get the base back with him?

Brit Hume: Well, it would probably help is he could convince the people in his base that he's not for an amnesty plan, which is what they call his guest worker program particularly when it's associated with a path to citizenship for people already here.

SS: Isn't that what it is, though? Isn't that what it is, though, Brit?

BH: Well, amnestly, Shep, if you look it up you'll find that it means that you turn yourself in and all is forgiven. (Comment: I looked it up in the dictionary and here's what I found: amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals).

SS: Right.

BH: If you turn yourself in under any of the plans that have been discussed with the president's support, you can turn yourself in but all is most certainly not forgiven. (Comment: What is the jail time, Brit? The community service?) In fact if you want a pass to citizenship then you've got to learn English, you've got to be here for a number of years. You have to go to the back of the line. So that you're not being put ahead of anyone who has gone through any of the legal processes from outside the country and so forth. So, it certainly isn't amnesty as we have come to think of that. (Comment: No, it isn't amnesty as you've come to think of it)

The other side of it is this is what all this weekend excitement about use of the national guard is reflected is.(Comment: Brit Hume's sentence, not mine) The desire on the president's part to show he is indeed prepared to be tough on the security of the border itself. To try and choke off the flow of illegals across the border for two reasons, one of them is obviously you get the people in the country you can't control them. You don't know who they are, the other is...uh...the reason of course that some of them might be terrorists, so, he is trying to do two things.

He's trying to convince the people that a path to citizenship is something they ought to accept and he's trying to couple it with some heightened border security to get the people who worry about that to say ok if we have that we can go along with the other one. Whether it will work remains to be seen.

SS: Lot's of firsts in this president. First time from the oval office for domestic issues for an address to the nation. He must consider this to be mighty important. Who orchestrated it all?

BH: Well, two things about that, Shep. One is that if you analyze the poll numbers you find that the big corrosive factor in this is the Iraq War. The public is soured on that, there's no doubt about that. Karl Rove using exactly that same word today on answering some questions here in town about the president's predictament.

But when you look inside the numbers and see what Republicans are saying and thinking, you see that the president has lost numbers heavily on this issue of immigration. Which is right in asking whether the president can get his base back. He hasn't lost his base on a lot of issues but he's lost his base on this issue. So, this is part of what he's got to do..um....and he also, at the same time, what would help him most of all at the end of the day is if a bill came through Congress..um...which did something about this problem.

It would help the Republicans in the elections no doubt and it would help the president's standing, although I don't think he's as focused on that as you might think. (Comment: Now that I can believe, because he's the Decider, he doesn't care if his poll numbers are in the high 20's or low 30's)

SS: Well you'd think that with all the problems his own party are having facing this midterm theyd come up with some kind of bill. What's the hold up?

BH: Well, you've got to remember now, you've got the ability in the Senate of a minority to block a bill. So you have to win over Democrats in order to get a bill through. (Comment: This already happened - they got a bill through the Senate - it was the House that was in total opposition, so I don't know what he's talking about) And then there are things in the president's proposal that Democrats like. Democrats basically like a guest worker program (Comment: Maybe in the Senate, not the House) idea. Democrats like the path to citizenship idea. (Comment: As I've already commented he should not be using the blanket statement saying Democrats like the guest worker program, not all Democrats do)

So, the hope is that you can produce a bill in the Senate that will pass. Then when they negotiate with the House to try and reconcile the different bills. The House passed a bill that was almost all security and not much else. Then you can come up with a blend of two that can go back and pass in both chambers.

There are a lot of steps in that process but there's some real hope now for the first time in a a long time that something like that can happen.

Comment: Hume always frames an issue on how it can benefit the president. He rambles, he speaks vaguely and makes blanket statements. Will 5000 National Guard who will not be utilized as law enforcement for this action work? I think Americans will still remain heavily divided over this issue.

Also feel free to compare Hume's analysis to the one offered in my post on Bill Hemmer's Fox News Live last Monday.

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