Skip to comments.Mark Levin interviews Fred Thompson on immigration
Posted on 05/19/2007 3:49:31 AM PDT by Josh Painter
MRL: Welcome back. This is Mark Levin, and it's an honor... I can call you a friend, can't I, Senator?
FDT: Well, I hope so. How are you doing?
MRL: You're a good man, Senator Fred Thompson. How are you doing?
FDT: I'm doing great, doing great.
MRL: I need you to get into this race fast, okay?
MRL: I'm gonna have another heart attack.
FDT: (laughs) What do you you consider fast?
MRL: Like, uh, one or two months?
FDT: (laughs) Well, we'll talk about it.
MRL: Okay, we'll talk about it. Now, Senator, I'm a little concerned here for a lot of reasons, as I know you are. I've read from your outstanding statements here. There have been no hearings on this bill... First of all, there's no bill, as you point out. There have been no hearings on costs. There have been no hearings on a failing bureaucracy's ability to enforce any aspect of this. What do you make of all this?
FDT: They're trying to rush something through, I think, in a hurry, before they lose the will, the political will to do it. And I think that they've miscalculated badly. I don't think that they're going to be able to do it. I hope I'm right; I may be wrong. But, as you say, the bill is not complete in any way. Portions of it are floating around now that have typos, incomplete. Beats anything that I've seen. You know, having big thick bills and passing them on voice vote is not uncommon, unfortunately, to the way the Senate operates. But on something of this importance that people have strong views on, I think it is unprecedented, to my knowledge.
MAL: And this potentially... The Heritage Foundation, Dr. Robert Richter, I had him on here last night. He's saying that the potential cost of this in Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid will destroy those programs.
FDT: Yes, at a time when we're looking at about a 76 Trillion dollar shortfall, in the out years, on down the line in those programs anyway.
MRL: Nobody's thought this through. Nobody even answers questions like that. He tells me he testifies, he brings up these things, and nobody even addresses them. I mean, don't we have an obligation to the next generation not to bankrupt them?
FDT: Yes, absolutely... absolutely. And it's something that I've been talking a lot about. It's a part of my interest in politics, really. I mean if you're not willing to take on the issues that really threaten your nation's safety or future, there's no reason to be in politics. And the demographics being what they are... we're becomming more of an elderly society, with fewer workers proportionately and so forth. Part of it is based on good things - we're living longer - it's just something to face up to. It's not anybody's fault. But you have to face up to it. And we keep adding entitlements on top of the existing situation because professional politicians look at the short term and figure that the chickens will come home to roost on somebody else's watch, and this is just another indication of that.
MRL: I have another concern, too, and that is that there's really no requirement that people come here and they learn English.
MRL: There's no requirement that they assimilate into our society. As a matter of fact, we have politicians and special interest groups that advance multiculturalism and bilingualism. How are people ever going to understand the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and ideas about liberty and capitalism and all those things that their societies know nothing about if we don't at least start fixing internally some of our mechanisms for assimilating people here?
FDT: Of course. That's part of the beauty of our imnmigration story in this country. The way people have come over here and quickly learned English and wanted to become Americans, and they did become Americans, and most all of us have that heritage. And now, at a time when we need to come together more and more and people are decrying the splits we have and the divisions we have, and the animosity in the county and so forth, they're promoting policies that seem to want to continue that and make it less likely that we're able to come together on basic things.
MAL: I don't want you to take a shot at anybody. I know you're a gentleman. Leave that to me...
MAL: But I just have a question which is this: John McCain is one of the architects of this. Rudy Giuliani today has been fairly quiet. He put out a statement yesterday. As I read it, I started to think, "Now wait a minute." He's saying, "Security first," but he's not actually taking a position on this bill. By the way, I have a theory about that. My theory is that he doesn't want to tick off the governor of California, who probably likes this bill and is leaning toward supporting him potentially. So he's trying to work through that. But having said that, Romney has taken a very strong position against this bill. It's a little bit of confusion with the top three there, don't you think?
FDT: It seems to be. It seems to be. I was disappointed... you know how much I admire John McCain as a person. I sat next to him on the Senate floor. I know his personal story, and he's an American hero, and I tip my hat to him. I was disappointed months ago, really, when I saw he had joined the group up there that was moving in this direction. I just didn't really understand it. I never talked to him about it. But that's where he is. I know he thinks he's doing the right thing. I just respectfully disagree on that. As to the others, I don't know what their motivations are. I know that New York has its own situation up there on immigration issues. It's one of ten states that grant in-state tuition treatment to illegal immigrants.
MRL: Boy, you've done your homework, haven't you?
MRL: You've done your homework.
FDT: Part of our problem is the inducements that we give folks here. You know, I've pointed out that I don't think that we have to have a choice between amnesty on the one hand, and trying to arrest everybody and put them on buses. Practically, that's not going to happen. But you don't have to choose between those if you can have attrition through enforcement, if we enforce the law with regard to employers - and we have an eligibility verification system out there that's voluntary; it should be mandatory - if we made arrests, if we reduced the inducements that especially some of these states give - some of which is against federal law incidentally, and some of that is not being enforced - if we talked a little straighter to Mexico - and the fact that their national policy is dependent upon the exportation of their own citizens - for their own economic benefit, sending money back and so forth - there are plenty of things that we could do, I think, to take care of this problem. If we could do it, but part of it has to do though with the states that are doing these things.
MRL: Is it also part of the problem - putting these Republicans aside - that you have a Democrat Party that thinks by doing this that eventually they will so change the makeup of the country in terms of politics, in terms of political allegiance, they they'll increase Democrat voters. Because, let's face it - poor people coming from the Third World into this country, most of them don't vote Republican. Because, you know, most of them are not conservative in terms of philosophy. Because if you give them a choice between "Hey, you have a right to national health care," and "Let's step back and talk in terms of cost effectiveness," what are they going to respond to? And the Democrats know this. Wouldn't this be a potential destruction of the Republican Party?
FDT: Well, I would hope not because I don't know how this thing's going to turn out. But we're in a danger zone here because we're playing the Democats' game. The Democrats have decided that the politicians that make it the easiest for people to come into this country are going to get their votes. And some of the Republicans are looking at that and saying, "They may just be right, and we want to get in on the action." I think that's driving a lot of this. You know, I don't know the answer to that, but if you study history, you come to the conclusion that doing the right thing often times works out. We can't predict how this is going to work or how that's going to work, but when the rule of law is at stake, when national security is at stake, when you're doing some things that's unfair to good people who are standing in line waiting their turn to be good United States citizens legally, then you have to put that aside. And as Republicans we have always been more likely to take that position. And I'm hoping that at the end of the day that's still where most of our legislators are going to be on this, and we can get back to where we need to be, focusing on border security.
MRL: One of the things that I'd like to see in our focus on immigration is outreach and effort to import the geniuses of the world - the producers of the world, the scientists, the doctors, the inventors - why don't we make an effort to seek out those people and bring as many of them as we can? We used to do that. And why don't we make it streamlined and more efficient for the very people that you're talking about - the honorable people, the law-abiding people who get in line and do it the right way? Why aren't we focused on that side of it?
FDT: Yeah, that's exactly right. Peggy Noonan wrote an article not too long ago, and she said, "I think about what my grandmother would say. And I think my grand mother would say, "Let's have a wall, but let's have a door in the wall.'" Taking off from that, it occurred to me that we control the door. We have a right to open the door and decide when we want to, how long we want it to be open, who goes through the door, and then we have a right to close it. And that's what you're talking about, and the H1B Visas and so forth. There's no question that we need a more intelligent approach in terms of immigration in general. Oviously, we need good, solid potential citizens, folks coming in here as legal residents, and we need highly skilled people. We're competing now in a global economy with some of the most skilled people imaginable coming from some of the places in the world that didn't used to be competitive. Well, they're very competitive now. They're coming over here and studying at our universities and going back home and doing remarkable things. Absolutely, we've got to open that door in responsible ways, but have the right to close it when we want to.
MRL: Do you have a few more minutes or do you need to go?
FDT: Yeah, absolutely.
MRL: I mean, I'm your buddy. You can give me a few more..
FDT: And I'm YOUR buddy.
MRL: Do I have to come to your house for dinner if I have a few more minutes with you?
MRL: I'm just kidding.
FDT: As long as you reciprocate.
MRL: I'd love to.
MRL: Senator Fred Thompson. We'll be right back.
MRL: Former Senator Fred Thompson with us. We only have a few minutes. I wanted to ask you a question about the war. What's going on in Congress now is really unprecedented. We have men and women on the battlefield. They're listening to all this nonsense. The Dmocrats in Congress know they're not going to get timetables, and yet today they go to the president, Harry Reid and yet again, "We'll cut out all the pork in this if you'll agree to our timetable." What's going on here?
FDT: Well, part of what's going on is the Democrats are grossly miscalculating politically again. I don't know if they're going to be bad enough to save us from ourselves in some of these respects or not, but the American people are not going to turn the keys over to people who have declared defeat and who are trying to cut the legs out from under our fighting people while we're over there. We've got to maintain the situation. This is part of a bigger problem, a global effort. The game plan is well-known. We've intercepted it. It has to do with the Middle East, and then Israel, and then our allies and us. We've got to decide, not whether we want to fight, but where we want to fight because we're going to fight. We're going to have to. And I'll tell you one thing about this immigration situation, Mark, that bothers me above all else. I think that President Bush, as much as I admire him personally, has made a mistake here that is going to make the war effort more difficult. I'm afraid that with regard to the support that's been with him and has supported him all along, especially this effort in Iraq, is going to be very, very disappointed. And I'm hoping that it doesn't result in lack of support for the president accross the board, but I'm afraid it might. This immigration issue is tied to the war issue. And I must say that I've noticed here on the net the last little bit that some of my worthy opponents have been taking some of my comments out of context on this immigration thing and pointing out that I said as much of a problem as the 12 million illegals were that it's not as big a problem as the next 12 or the next 12 after that. They didn't put it into context of the security point that I was making. I thought I was stating the obvious. That is, if we don't stop the situation now, if we don't maintian border security, and the people that we've already caught over here, like the guy in the World Trade Center bombing who was an illegal and was given amnesty, we're going to have a constant flood. And obviously, 50 million is worse than 12 million. That's why border security is so important, and as I say, I think it is unfortunate that this fight has ramifications for our war support. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid I'm not.
MRL: Well, I know you're right, and Senator, I want to thank you for taking time to come on the show, and I hope you'll come back, my friend. God bless you. Senator Fred Thompson. We'll be right back.
MRL: Let me ask you something. Is that a plain-talking, straight-shooting, solid conservative or not? A few months ago we had Senator Thompson on here to talk about the Lewis Libby matter, and my audience went nuts. they were very excited about him, and they wanted him to run for president. And in many ways, that started right here on this show. And he's very solid. If you read what he's writing on National Review Online and other places, if you listen to what he's saying on the ABC Radio Network, he's a thoroughly conservative man, he's a thoughtful man, he's smart as hell. How many candidates who are running for office can easily talk about Federalism and even debate it? And yet federalism is a crucial part of our constitution. No nuanced position on illegal immigration, no nuanced position on this bill. He's respectful and he's civil, but he rejects it. That's good. And you know where he stands on judges. He was the man who helped John Roberts reach the Supreme Court when that task was offerred to him. And I know a lot more about him, too. So, I'm impressed.
(End of transcript)
Transciption by Ruger
Yes, he has. The anti-Fredsters aren't going to sink him with their silly "he's not as conservative as Lindsey Graham" bunk.
Sturm Ruger, I believe this is the post that has finally made me a Fred fan...will have to think about it a little more, but I've been looking, and really, there is no one else.
God knows, I hope he gets in the race. We have Duncan Hunter and Thompson...two great candidates.
That's been my position exactly since the beginning. Throw these landscapers and contractors in JAIL, who enable illegal activity. That stops them from coming here, if they can't find someone to hire them.
That's SO right on.
Tenn/CA - sounds like it would be hard to beat. Does Fred still have a home in TN?
i love BOTH of these guys!
Levin all but endorsed him last night.
Fred has the ability to see the big picture and the small details at once- an exceptional quality.
ANNOUNCE, Fred, ANNOUNCE!
Finally, an answer that is both brilliant and practical. No, we are NOT able to deport 12 million people. But we don't have to. It's the "broken window" tactic: if you allow a broken window on a block, people get the idea they can break the law in other areas. You FIX WHAT YOU CAN WHEN YOU CAN, and people begin to self-enforce. For example, I'm convinced that many employers who hire illegals do so UNwillingly, but they feel they have no choice if they want to compete. Well, if the law were enforced, and they thought it was a "level playing field," they'd obey the law willingly. NOT ALL, but many. It's like a concert. If there is a fence around the concert and people are buying tickets, then people will buy tickets. But if some hooligans tear down the fence and people begin to flood in, even many honest people will say, "Well, everyone else is doing it."
If we were to deport just HALF A MILLION, it would have the effect of removing perhaps six million or so. Employers would stop hiring; the threat of being deported would rise; and so on.
It would be a good ticket. I’d be fine with that. But people need to realize that Hunter CANNOT “deliver California.” He wouldn’t even get elected senator there. We can like a candidate and still be realistic about who he is and his real levels of electability.
That's better than most I've heard. But still leaves a lot of questions. The first is problematic - states will want to cater to the mass of potential voters and how far into cutting bennies would they go? Knocking down the doors or employers is fine with me, but most chamber of commerce Pubs won't like it. Item three will be difficult to begin and administer; could be done though. Last one is a no-brainer; no downside on the stump with this.
And make MAL head of homeland security in the Thompson/Hunter administration.We need to get behind this for the sake of our children and grand children.
Hunter might never carry the blue parts of the state, but he could the red parts. I don’t expect him to ‘carry’ the entire state, just thinking of the spread.
Worthy opponents. Sounds like recognition that he is in a campaign, announced or otherwise.
After all the hype about how Howard "Screamer" Dean was running the first internet-based campaign in 2004, all he did was send out emails and solicit money. Thompson is actually running an internet/alternative media campaign, and as getting as much mileage out of it as the guys who are spending all their time at fundraisers. It will be interesting to see if it works for him. I sure hope it will.
Darkwolf377 wrote: “Sturm Ruger, I believe this is the post that has finally made me a Fred fan...will have to think about it a little more, but I’ve been looking, and really, there is no one else.”
Almost fully Frederalized, eh? Then pulling the all-nighter to transcribe the interview was worth it!
I think I’m going to try to catch a few z’s now, LOL...
i happen to think Mark Levin is just top shelf as far as brains go, and his leaning towards Fred carries a lot of weight. not that i wasn’t already on board the fredtrain!
let me chime in and say i appreciate the transcription. i wasn’t around much yesterday and didn’t see he was to be on Mark’s show til 9:30 last night. good work : )
Fred continues to sound better and better.
Eliminate McCain, Rudy and Paul from serious consideration, they’re done. Get Fred in, possibly Newt, and we’re beginning to bring together some good choices, and some people who can really deal with the issues.
In your veep, you need a guy who can actually attract votes from all groups. That’s the theory, at least. You never see a congressman as a veep-—last time that was tried, with Geraldine Ferraro, even as a “first ever” woman in the slot-—they got killed. There is a reason he isn’t “Senator Hunter.”
Since you missed some of Fred last night.
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