Newt Gingrich offers false choice, supports incremental amnesty, doesn't challenge CNN for misleading on immigration (GOP 6/13/11 debate)

At tonight's GOP debate, both moderator John King and candidate Newt Gingrich offered a false choice on immigration. Instead of calling King on offering a misleading choice, Gingrich offered the same false choice. Gingrich also implied the same piecemeal amnesty plan he's discussed before, and issued a fantastical plan to send half the DHS and large numbers of National Guard to the border.

The relevant part of the debate is at [1] from this.

1. In the first paragraph at [1], John King engages in the deportations false choice fallacy. See the link for a longer description, but King implied that we're forced to choose between mass deportations and some form of amnesty. That's not the case: there are other alternatives, such as attrition. King also used the living in the shadows talking point.

2. In the second paragraph and last paragraph, Gingrich objects to King's false choice - while engaging in the same basic false choice. Gingrich supports some form of amnesty or major guest workers program, done incrementally. See his earlier comments here and here. John King, CNN, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and many GOP leaders all want some form of comprehensive immigration reform. The main difference between them and Gingrich is tactical: they want the "comprehensive" part, Gingrich wants to achieve something that would have the same effect, he just wants to do it piecemeal. At the first earlier link, Gingrich said he wanted to "step by step pass a series of bills and achieve remarkable progress in the next three or four years". That would involve some sort of legalization program, such as his "draft boards" (same link). It would also include something like the anti-American DREAM Act, which Gingrich mostly supports (second link).

3. Then, Gingrich launches into a "boob bait for Bubba" secure the border plan to send half the Department of Homeland Security to the Southwest U.S. and to presumably use large numbers of National Guard troops on the border. The first is a childish waste of time, the second would make sense just not to the degree that Gingrich presents. And, that's especially the case since the great majority of the problems at the border start in Washington DC and New York City. Gingrich isn't proposing to do anything about that but is just playing to "base desires".


KING: ...Do you - is that what the states should be doing, the federal government should be spending money and resources on? Or - or like President Bush and like Senator McCain, at least in the McCain-Kennedy days, should we have some path to status for those who are willing to step up and admit where they are and come out of the shadows?

GINGRICH: One of the reasons this country is in so much trouble is that we are determined among our political elites to draw up catastrophic alternatives. You either have to ship 20 people out of America or legalize all of them.

That’s nonsense. There’s not - we’re never going to pass a comprehensive bill. Obama proved that in the last two years. He couldn’t get a comprehensive bill through with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and he didn’t even try, because he knew he couldn’t do it.

You break this down. Herman Cain’s essentially right, you break it down. First of all, you control the border. We can ask the National Guard to go to Iraq. We ask the National Guard to go to Kuwait. We ask the National Guard to go to Afghanistan. Somehow we would have done more for American security if we had had the National Guard on the border.

But if you don’t want to use the National Guard, I’m…


Just one last example. If you don’t want to use the National Guard, take - take half of the current Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy in Washington, transplant it to Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. You’ll have more than enough people to control the border.


KING: All right. Let’s…

GINGRICH: No, but let me say this, John. No serious citizen who’s concerned about solving this problem should get trapped into a yes/no answer in which you’re either for totally selling out protecting America or you’re for totally kicking out 20 million people in a heartless way. There are - there are humane, practical steps to solve this problem, if we can get the politicians and the news media to just deal with it honestly.