Republican Whip, Senator Jon Kyl on where the GOP goes next in the Senate as the firewall.
HH: Two days after the blowout, we’re talking with our favorite Senator in the United States Senate, Arizona’s Jon Kyl. He’s the Republican Whip up there. Senator Kyl, you’re down to 40, you’ve got three still in doubt in Minnesota, Georgia and Alaska. What do you think of those three races? Are you going to have enough to mount the occasional filibuster with?
JK: Well, we sure hope so. You’re talking about, by the way, good to be with you and your listeners as always, thank you.
HH: Thank you.
JK: The firewall. That’s the only check and balance left to prevent the radical left from pushing their agenda through. 41 Senators in the Senate, Republicans, primarily, can stop these agenda items, then there’s a chance. And the question is with 40 Republicans elected, how about those last three? Ted Stevens will be elected in Alaska. The question, of course, is whether given his conviction for a felony he will stay in power. Secondly, you’ve got Norm Coleman hanging on by a 400 vote majority with a definite recount occurring in Minnesota. He’s confident that if the recount’s fair, he’ll be the winner. And then Saxby Chambliss is going to apparently be forced into a run off in Georgia. I’ve heard that the Obama people and money are already on the way, and so I’ve been on the phones this afternoon trying to raise money for my friend, Saxby Chambliss, who’s going to have to probably spend six or eight million dollars over the course of the next three and a half weeks to win that seat. But he can, because he came out of the election night with well over a hundred thousand vote majority, and the third party candidate that hurt him there won’t be on the ballot when they have the run off on, I think it’s December 6th. So we have a good shot at all three of those seats. But even with 43 in the Senate, to get 41 on any given issue is not easy at all.
HH: We will, by the way, have Senator Chambliss on later in this hour to help bring attention to that race in Georgia via our Atlanta affiliates and across the United States. Are people better advised to contribute money directly to him, Senator Kyl, or to the NRSC.org?
JK: It depends on whether they’ve already contributed or not. Obviously, it’s a shot of adrenaline if it goes directly to his campaign. On the other hand, people can also contribute, as I have done, to the Georgia State Republican Party, to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, and to the Republican National Committee. Now some of those folks, for example, the Republican Party will be active in get out the vote efforts, and the kinds of things that only parties can do. But in the case of an election in which Chambliss is running, that will obviously help him as more people can turn out to vote for him. So they can contribute to all of those entities, and I’m sure if they just get a hold of www.saxby.org, they can get all the information they need about how to help Saxby Chambliss.
HH: We’ll talk more about that. Let’s go back to the firewall, Senator Kyl. Isn’t is true that even one Senator can slow down things a lot?
HH: And are you folks willing to play the four corners defense if you have to?
JK: Yeah, good question. There are two kinds of filibusters. There’s the filibuster where 41 Senators say no, we’re not going to let you vote on that, or we’re not going to let you proceed to consider this motion or whatever, at which point the majority is stuck and they’ve got to negotiate with you. And that’s why we need the 41. And even if you have 41 Republicans, it doesn’t mean they’re always going to be with you every time. So the more we have, the better. And then there’s the other kind of filibuster, which eventually ends in defeat, but it can make victory painful for the victor. Ordinarily, what happens there is a few Senators, one or three or four, talk and talk and talk, and they file all the procedural motions that they can file, and they basically make something that should have gotten done in two days take six days, let’s say. And if you do that enough times, the majority leader becomes a little upset because time is his enemy. He’s only got so many days to get so much stuff done. And so if you can make life difficult enough for him, he’ll want to make some kind of an accommodation with you usually.
HH: Now isn’t the model for responsible, loyal but effective opposition Harry Reid circa 2005-2006?
JK: Yeah. I mean, Harry when he was in the minority perfected this very, very well. It is the rules of the Senate, and anybody can slow things down. 41 Senators can stop anything. And that’s no big secret. It wouldn’t be the first time, and Republicans wouldn’t be the first to do it. He was the first to do it, however, when it came to judges. The Democrats who filibustered judges were breaking new ground. That is something that had not been done before. But frankly, this is the only check and balance on unbridled power that otherwise would exist with the liberal dominance in the House and Senate, and now a new President Barack Obama.
HH: Now Senator Kyl, I am not one who favors filibustering of judges. I believe it’s actually extra-Constitutional, but that’s the subject for another day. This audience has been sending me, you know, millions of e-mails, that’s obviously an overstatement, about the Fairness Doctrine. I do not believe Democrats are going to push that, that it’s politically self-defeating and unconstitutional. But what do you think?
JK: I think what they may do, because I agree with you that this would be a very tough thing for them politically, even though their left wing very much wants it. They can’t compete on radio like you. I mean, they just can’t, and so they’re trying to find a way to hurt you. Well, the easy way is just to require the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which basically puts you off the air. But there’s a sneaky end run way, and that is this complex deal where they say well, we’re not going to require that, but what we are going to require is that there has to be an office in every city where the radio broadcast occurs, and so I don’t know what that does with syndication. And secondly, you have to have a local board of governors made up of local citizens who get to recommend program content. And of course when the license renewal comes up, they will review whether or not you have followed the direction of this local board of directors regarding content. I mean, it is a back door way to achieve the same kind of big brother looking over your shoulder determination of what you broadcast. But it’s not technically the Fairness Doctrine.
HH: Would that require 60 votes in the Senate?
JK: Well, if the Congress is going to legislate on the subject, it will require 60 votes, because you can be assured that Republicans will try to stop that. That bill has already been introduced, and so this is not something we’re just making up.
HH: Now I also expect that immigration will come very quickly, that they won’t want to legislate on that in Year 2010 as they approach elections that will either ratify or revise the Obama majority. And so it will probably be this year. Are Republicans ready with responses…you were our lead guy, and we had a few differences when it came around last time, but I’m hoping you’re the lead guy again. That’s one on which I want to make an impact as opposed to getting rolled. What do you think the strategy’s going to be?
JK: Very good question. It’s going to become complex. I’m not sure that they’re going to want to tackle that first off, because that is still a third rail. People do not yet believe, I don’t think, that we have secured the border or enforced the law adequately to consider some of the other features like a temporary worker program and some of the other things that were controversial in that legislation. So my guess is that folks may want to wait for another two or three years to see how secure we can make the border, how much we can enforce the law, how many of these visa overstayers we can return to country of origin, and therefore be able to make the case to the American people that we’ve done everything that we need to do, now let’s move on with other aspects of this. And I’m not sure they’re going to want to tackle it before then.
HH: 30 seconds, Senator Kyl, are you and the leader, McConnell, and boy, am I glad he’s reelected, committed to communication? You’ve always been available, Senator McConnell often. But do you folks embrace the idea you’ve got to talk more not less in the two years ahead?
JK: Oh, I am looking for every opportunity I can, and I don’t want to overstay my welcome, but anytime I can visit with your listeners, I look forward to it, because that’s part of our problem. We haven’t sold our message.
HH: Jon Kyl, always an invitation standing here. Great to work with you in the next two years keeping freedom alive and voiced in the United States.
End of interview.