Friday, March 31, 2006

Radio Talk Show Hosts on Larry King

After Bill Clinton, CNN's Larry King Live is having a discussion with four radio talk show hosts: On the right, Martha Zoller of WDUN–AM and Hugh Hewitt, author of Painting the Map Red, the Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority; on the left, Ed Schultz and Randi Rhodes.

Read more...On the subject of immigration, Hugh Hewitt committed right-wing heresy:

We need the 700 miles [1100 km] of fencing that the House of Representatives insisted on. Israel has discovered their 400-mile [650 km] fence has cut down their security problem dramatically. ... I worry about Beslan happening in this country. I worry that it's easy to get in, and once you get here, it's easy to get guns. I worry that the people who struck in London, Madrid, Egypt, Jordan, Spain, all over the world, want to strike here. If we have a Beslan situation on the southern border in Phoenix or in San Diego, we will look back and say, Where was the fence? ... We've got to get that fence up and prevent jihadists from getting here.
It's too easy to get guns??? How dare he speak the truth?

Randi Rhodes responds:
I don't think Mexicans are terrorists. I think the problem is that we have this 2,000-mile [3,141 km] border, and nobody's talking to Mexico about their side of it, so what you really have is a big hole. We're trying to fill it up, and the Mexicans keep digging underneath it, so you can't fill it up. I think this is a gift to the corporations to make them guest workers without — like President Clinton said — tying it to minimum wage or some sort of health security. It's just creating a slave-labor society. They're going to spend 11 years working, attached to a corporation — that's the part that really disturbs me — and then at the end of the 11 years when they're proficient in English and can pass a Civics class that a lot of Americans couldn't pass, they'll pay a fine on top of that, and then they get the position of poorest America. ... Honestly, the idea that they don't want to tie this guest worker program to a minimum wage tells you something: the devil is gonna be in the details, Larry.

[... snip ...]

Ed Schultz: I think we have to understand who's in charge here. The majority party has had 5 years to do something about this problem, and they've cut funding when it comes to border security. You can't talk tough and then not fund what you're talking about you're trying to do. The Bush administration came in saying they had all this experience about how to deal with border security because George Bush was from Texas and he knew how to do it, but he's failed like everyone else. In fact, we've got worse of a problem than we've ever had when it comes to securing the border, after being hit on his watch. I think this is an opportunity for the country to come together, take a little bit of everybody's proposal, work together, fund it properly, and be fair to some people who want to contribute to American society.
Of course, the fact that Bush doesn't actually know how to deal with border security comes as no surprise, since he doesn't know how to deal with any problem or issue.

How weak is Bush? How does it look for the 2006 elections?
Randi Rhodes: I think we're going to take the house. I didn't know if we could take the Senate, but I think we can now. I think that the mood in this country is just — something's wrong. All the problems that we had, we were moving into the 21st century and we thought, okay, this is the century to cure disease, to cure poverty. Everywhere this guy goes, he leaves a mess. I mean, you look at Katrina survivors, the trailers sit there. Look at Iraq: it's a mess. You look at border security, it's a mess. Port security, it's a mess. Everywhere this guy goes, it's almost like he's so used to his daddy or somebody bailing him out, he just leaves the mess for the next. What did he say last week, he's going to leave it until 2009, the war. He leaves a mess wherever he goes. I'm hearing so many Republican callers ... saying, "I will never vote Republican again. You're right. They have it all, it's getting worse, a man can't find a job."

Hugh Hewitt: (Is Bush a failure?) Of course not, Larry; he's a great President and will go down in history. I'll tell ya, I want to agree with Randi at least once tonight: the Republicans are in deep trouble, and if they do not change and do not rally to the President and do not defend the war aggressively, they will lose the House and the Senate. ... It's an existential challenge to our civilization, and I think we can win it. We've got to give Randi a cable station 24/7 and then we can win everything. I think the most important thing is that we focus back on the fact that on 9/11 — I've been in New York, Washington, L.A., in the last three days, three cities that were targets on 9/11, remain targets every single day, the war goes on, people like Randi and Ed don't believe that it goes on, but the American people, when there is a choice between them, if they're focused on the fact that it's a deadly choice, they will support this President who does what he says he will do, who is serious and trustworthy — they hate him, the Democratic Party is nuts about him ... (Would you agree that Iraq has gone badly?) No, no, I don't think so. I think Iraq is hard. I think if you go back and actually look at what people said they knew it would be hard. The father of J.P. Blacksmith, who was killed in Fallujah 2004-11-11, tells me he's very angry at the media who do not reflect what his son died for, which is enormous progress in Iraq. The overtoppling of the tyrant who had killed hundreds of thousands and where Mosul, the marsh Arabs, different parts of the country are prospering, Kurdistan is prospering. Freedom is on the right path. It's tough, but they didn't die in vain. They did a good thing, and it continues to be a good thing.

Ed Schultz: First of all, Hugh, let's be a little easy about how we throw the word hate around. I don't hate anybody, and I don't hate George Bush, I just don't think he's a very good President. I just came off a 7-city road trip, and I can tell you what's on the minds of people: healthcare. What's going to happen at the end of 8 years of this Bush administration is that we will have made no progress for helping people who don't have any health care, or planning for the future. Hugh, how can you think that's a good thing? The fact is, this administration has done two things, basically: cut taxes and go on vacation. The top 2% of this economy, sure, they're doing well. Wall Street is doing fine for some people; Main Street is not doing very well. We're shipping jobs overseas — was that part of the Bush plan? You've got to be fair to the American worker. You've got to be fair that the $600 tax cut was nothing but a fraud and the top 2% are rolling under the Bush administration, but average Americans are not moving forward.

Martha Zoller: First of all, George Bush isn't going to be on a ballot this November, and listening to what Randi and Ed are saying really solidifies that, because they're still talking about George Bush. (Ed: Well, Martha, why are ...) I didn't interrupt you, Ed. (Ed: Well, actually, you did.) [In fact, no, she didn't interrupt Ed or Randi at any point.] (Ed: The fact is, the Republican Senators are not polling very well. It's nothing to do with Bush, it's your policies.) Republicans have ideas, although I'll admit they're not implementing them very well right now. I agree with you: they've got to get back to the conservative road, but the Democrats still don't have a policy. I have been to Iraq. I speak to dozens of soldiers every single week. I go to Walter Reed. They do not believe this war is going badly. (Ed: Do you talk to any of the veterans who are having their benefits cut?) I've talked to all of them, yes, I do volunteer work every week. The point is, this election is going to be about ideas, and if —

Randi: This election, Martha, is going to be about five years of your party having the majority and doing absolutely nothing for the middle class except —

Martha: Let's not forget 9/11

Randi: I am sitting in New York, Martha; don't throw 9/11 around, because I'm a half a mile [800 m] from where it happened. People here in New York, it's funny, September 11th happened here, you invoke it all the time, and we're liberals. Go figure. You've had five years. You've had 12 years of having the majority in the House, then you took the Senate, now you've got all three branches of government. These are failed policies. It's not working!
I'm not going to try to transcribe the callers' questions.

I have to admit that Randi and Ed did talk over the conservative talking heads, but the fact remains that both Hugh and Martha — neither of whom ever served a day of their lives in the military, unlike Randi — are ardent chickenhaws who have clearly drunk deeply from the Kool-Aid.

Hugh Hewitt in particular astonishes me. He is a professor of Constitutional law, and yet he touts as a great President the man who has shown the most profound disdain for the United States Constitution in Presidential history, eclipsing even Richard Nixon and LBJ. In particular, Bush's program of warrantless wiretapping is inescapably blatantly unconstitutional — whether it is effective or not, it is unquestionably illegal. If Hewitt supports the President's claims of authority, then he is utterly unfit to teach law.

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