Between Bill O'Reilly and Sarah Palin, Tuesday night's Fox News lineup perfectly captured the sheer ludicrousness of Donald Trump's recent unconstitutional and completely impractical panders to the GOP's racist, anti-immigrant fringe.
Let's begin with Bill O'Reilly, who interviewed Trump about his farcical immigration plan, involving the deportation of all 12-plus million undocumented workers and their children en masse, in spite of the 14th Amendment, which grants birthright citizenship to anyone born inside the United States.
Every once in a while, O'Reilly's crazy software crashes and, in its place, Reasonable Bill emerges. It is both refreshing and a little shocking. Said Reasonable Bill to Trump:
"You are not going to be able to deport people who have American citizenship now. And the federal courts will never allow mass deportations without due process for each and every one. And do you envision federal police kicking in the doors in barrios around the country dragging families out and putting them on a bus? You envision that? [...] The 14th Amendment says if you’re born here, you’re an American and you can’t kick Americans out. And then if you wanted to deport the people already here, each and every one are entitled to due process, and it would take decades to do that, and gazillions of dollars and the courts would block you at every turn. You must know all that."
"Gazillions of dollars."
Speaking of which, O'Reilly once proposed modeling the border wall on the Berlin Wall, obviously because he doesn't give a flying rip about the optics behind the United States constructing another Berlin Wall. Needless to say, I ran some numbers a while back and determined that a Berlin-style wall along the entire border with Mexico would, indeed, cost a gazillion dollars. Not really, but close.
The 2,000 mile border is already covered by 670 miles of fence, a single layer of which has cost, to date, $2.4 billion. To simply extend that fence -- and the fence alone, not a fortified Berlin Wall structure -- would cost close to $5 billion, not including the cost of maintaining the fence and staffing it with armed patrols. A double-layer fence was estimated by the Government Accountability Office to cost around $3.9 million — per mile. If we add a wall and all of the additional barriers that go along with it, dogs and so forth, our new Berlin Wall 2: Electric-Fence Boogaloo could end up costing hundreds of billions in construction costs alone. And Mexico is supposed to pay for this?
Of course, Reasonable O'Reilly is exactly right about Trump's plan to deport American citizens along with undocumented immigrants. It's impossible and unconstitutional.
(That said, O'Reilly's program isn't above rebuke; "Factor" producer Jesse Watters said on "The Five" earlier this week that Trump's plan is solid, while adding an additional detail requiring that deported immigrants -- including citizens -- be forced into slave labor to build the border wall for free in exchange for amnesty.)
Later on Tuesday evening, Greta Van Susteren welcomed Sarah Palin on her show to discuss the Trump plan. Naturally, and contra O'Reilly, Palin embraced the idea without question, because she is an idiot.
When asked whether Trump's plan was possible, including forcing Mexico to pay for the wall, Palin replied, "Heck yeah, it's possible!"
She goes on:
"His immigration policy and these comments plans of his that most Americans have been thinking just not being able to say because we don't have a microphone like he does."
There's a point somewhere in there, and I assume it's supportive of Trump. Also, "We don't have a microphone?" Who's "we?" Palin absolutely has a microphone -- it's right there clipped to her blouse, and yet she used it to say "we don't have a microphone." Weird.
"It's a real shot in the arm to constitutionalists and conservatives who want America to be put first."
Well, the Constitution, specifically the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, explicitly states that anyone born here is an American citizen. So, I'm not sure which constitutionalists Palin is talking about. But putting America first generally means putting its citizens first, and the children of immigrants are citizens. Incidentally, in case anyone believes the 14th is restricted to addressing former slaves, read the Supreme Court's decision in 1889's United States v. Wong Kim Ark.
Back to Palin. See if you can sentence-structure this chunk:
"But when Donald Trump is talking about the immigration problems that we have today, inviting and incentivizing illegals to come over open borders and to be allowed to compete for or take American jobs and really decimate the middle classes, especially young black men, young Hispanic men, uh, where their unemployments rates are 30 percent, 40 percent and cheap labor is gonna make that even worse for them."
Another fine example of authentic frontier gibberish:
"Well, Donald Trump is talking about big picture here. When we incentivize people to come on over via any avenue, it sets the wrong message to, um, illegals comin' on over, in fact, we're rewarding those who would take illegal action as their first step as they're on our land."
I suppose, then, we should stop talking about things like the American Dream and American exceptionalism. Maybe we need to send the message that this country is a hellish crucible, that way we don't "incentivize" illegals to come here for our freedom, our improved quality of life and our abundant financial opportunities.
Also, was Sarah Palin bending the truth about unemployment? You betcha. The Department of Labor reported on youth unemployment:
The youth unemployment rate was 12.2 percent in July 2015, 2.1 percentage points less than a year before. Among the major demographic groups, July unemployment rates were lower than the prior year for young men (12.7 percent), women (11.7 percent), whites (10.3 percent), blacks (20.7 percent), and Hispanics (12.7 percent).
So, not only is the unemployment rate for black and Hispanic youths not 30 or 40 percent, but the unemployment rates are dropping in those demographics.
The upshot here is this: Trump's immigration plan is too dumb for O'Reilly while falling directly into Sarah Palin's limited grasp on policy and practicality. Again, O'Reilly is kind of a demon on immigration normally, but Trump's proposal is too insane for even O'Reilly. But it's right there in Palin's wheelhouse -- it's in the wheelhouse of a former vice presidential candidate who, when asked numerous times, couldn't accurately describe the role of the vice president. This is all we need to know about Trump and his plan. If Palin loves it, and if it's too dumb for O'Reilly, it must be horrendous.