Tonight, Sean Hannity had Marco Rubio on his show for an hour to advocate the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill. The program was an embarrassment at two levels. First, as I feared, the format was heavily skewed in favor of Rubio and his position. Second, even with this skewing, Rubio’s main arguments were pathetic.
As to the format, Rubio spent roughly the first half of the program answering questions from Hannity. Some of the questions were good, but they were no substitute for debate. Hannity is not an expert on the legislation, and thus wasn’t in a position to challenge Rubio’s answers.
Why didn’t Fox have Jeff Sessions, for example, appear with Rubio to ensure the effective presentation of both sides? Probably because, as I understand it, Rubio refuses to appear with Sessions.
So can we expect an hour-long program in which Sessions or a comparably knowledgeable opponent of the anti-amnesty position appears with Hannity? Don’t hold your breath. The powers-that-be at Fox appear to be in the tank for the Schumer-Rubio bill.
The second half of the program consisted of Rubio fielding questions or comments from a panel of immigration “experts.” This segment was a bad joke.
Some of the questions/comments consisted of little more than folks — an immigration lawyer, for one — thanking Rubio for his work. In other instances, the questioner asked Rubio to explain why this or that portion of Schumer-Rubio is so good or why it is true to conservatism.
The lowlight was the appearance of pro-amnesty hatchet man Mario Lopez, who (with Rubio’s help) has pushed the slander that leading opponents of immigration reform aren’t conservatives at all, but rather pro-abortion advocates whose opposition to immigration reform stems from a desire to avoid population growth.
This slimy operative asked Rubio to explain how Rubio-Schumer is consistent with the American dream. That isn’t softball; it’s t-ball.
Why didn’t Fox invite to its discussion a leading opponent of amnesty, such as Mark Krikorian, one of those Lopez has slandered? Probably because the powers-that-be at Fox appear to be in the tank for the Schumer-Rubio bill.
In the entire half of the show devoted to audience participation, Rubio got only two challenging questions that had not already been asked by Hannity. Rep. Louis Gohmert asked why we should burden an already crippled immigration bureaucracy with the task of investigating and processing more than 11 million additional applications. Pointing to Boston bombers, Gohmert argued that the immigration bureaucracy system simply is not capable of doing what Schumer-Rubio purports to require of it.
Rubio did not answer the question.
The other semi-tough question — from a member of the Chertoff Group — was: why a path to citizenship? Rubio first denied that his bill creates a path to citizenship and then argued that the path to citizenship his bill creates is a good thing because it will cause the formerly illegal immigrants to “fall in love with America.” Clearly, Sen. Rubio speaks with a forked tongue.
This leads me to the second sense in which tonight’s show was an embarrassment. Even with all of the softball questions, the lack of opportunities for follow-up, and the absence of Schumer-Rubio’s leading critics, Rubio failed to defend his bill. And I don’t mean that he failed to defend it effectively — I mean that he didn’t defend it.
I’ll discuss this in later tonight in a follow-up post.