Monday, May 22, 2006

# Posted 8:56 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: Even though Condi was the headliner on Meet the Press, Alberto Gonzales one-upped the SecState by headlining both This Week and Face the Nation.

On all NBC and CBS, the headliners were followed by a pair of legislators, one for and one against, debating immigration. On NBC, Lindsey Graham faced off against Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA). On CBS, Dianne Feinstein faced off against Jim Sensenbrenner. On ABC, John Edwards got the spotlight all to himself.

And before we get to the grades, remember that more details are always available from Mark Kilmer at Red State.
Condi: B+. Let's just say it would be a good idea if the White House cancelled all of Dick Cheney's interviews and sent Condi instead. The Pentagon might also consider hiring her. So why no 'A' or 'A-'? Because the SecState only parried Russert's blows, instead of striking her own.

Lindsey Graham: B+. Altough Russert wanted to see a fight, Graham sought common ground with Norwood while refusing to compromise his principles.

Charlie Norwood: B. I disagree strongly, but he makes strong arguments and seems like a very reasonable man. Still, I think it's time to stop calling every last citizenship program "amnesty".

Gonzales on CBS: B. Softballs from Schieffer.

Feinstein: B. She's on the right side of the issue, but arguments aren't exactly coherent. Especially her strange insistence that we can't punish employers who hire illegal immigrants since that would be unpopular.

Sensenbrenner: C. He made some very solid arguments, but he went too far when he accused the pro-reform camp of wanting to sell US citizenship for $2000. And then he went way, way too far when he called insisted that those who employ illegal workers are "slavemasters" no different from the "slavemasters" of the 19th century.

Gonzales on ABC: B-. Always on the defensive, always evasive.

Edwards: B-. Says Bush is worse than Nixon. Suddenly the pro-war centrist of 2004 wants to be Howard Dean in 2008.
Instead of individual grades for the hosts, I'm going to give them a collective 'B-'. Their questions on immigration are completely one-sided. They aggressively challenge the opponents of reform, going after the fundamental premises of their arguments. In contrast, they occasionally question the tactics of those who support reform, or instead go after them from the left.

The question for opponents of reform is always "What are you going to do with the 12 million immigrants who are already here?" A good quesiton. But the question for those who support reform is always "How will you get the House to support a reform bill in conference?" not "Why should illegal immigrants be allowed to earn their citizenship while those who chose to play by the rules and stay at home get nothing?"

As an advocate of reform, perhaps I shouldn't bite the hand the feeds. But I care more about balanced journalism, so I won't endorse a double standard even when it favors my side.
(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

There is a recursive quality to this debate. Under current immigration law, illegals are subject to deportation. We have the choice to enforce the law, or develop some less severe treatment for illegals. 'Earned citizenship' supporters say it is infeasible to enforce immigration law, so they want to develop a new regime of fines, English language lessons, etc. Suppose we pass whatever bill Feinstein has in mind. Then suppose that illegals stay true to form and ignore our immigration law.

At that point, we will have the choice to enforce the law, or develop some less severe treatment for illegals.

This process can end only with enforcement of the law, or amnesty.
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