Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio
WASHINGTON – Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, misunderstood the results of a vote on an amendment to the “comprehensive immigration reform” bill being debated in the upper house today.
He also is apparently unfamiliar with efforts to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters operating on the public airwaves.
But it was nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Sean Hannity’s persistent grilling about the senator’s intentions on key cloture votes leading to a showdown on what is characterized as an “amnesty” bill that caused Voinovich to melt down before millions of listeners today.
The normally low-profile Republican hung up on the No. 2 talk host in the country.
Listen to Part 1 of Voinovich interview
The key sticking point in the conversation was Hannity’s question as to whether the senator had done a cost analysis on the bill. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, estimates the bill would cost the American taxpayers $2.5 trillion.
Voinovich said he didn’t believe the cost would be that high because a third of those eligible for a path to citizenship would never take it.
“How do you know that?” Hannity asked. “Where does that figure come from?”
Voinovich did not provide any supporting evidence for his contention and admitted he had read neither the bill itself or the Heritage Foundation analysis.
The senator complained that some of his constituents have attempted to “intimidate” him by saying they would oppose his re-election if he voted for the bill.
“You do not intimidate George Voinovich,” he said. “During my 40 years in this business, I have always looked at the pros and cons of each piece of legislation and made a determination. If people don’t like my decision, they can express their will during the next election.”
When Hannity began making the case against the “amnesty” bill, Voinovich interrupted, asking: “Are you happy with the current legislation? Our current laws stink!”
“No one is enforcing those laws, senator,” said Hannity. “That’s the problem. It’s been five and half years since 9/11, and the border is still not secure.”
Listen to Part 2 of Voinovich interview
When Hannity returned to the issue of cost analysis, Voinovich cut the conversation short.
“I don’t really think there is any point talking to you further,” said Voinovich. “You are just looking for someone to agree with you. I’m disappointed in you.”
The conversation began with a question from Hannity about whether the senator supported the Fairness Doctrine, currently a hot topic among Voinovich’s colleagues.
“Fairness Doctrine – I’m all for it, whatever it is,” he said. “I think everyone should be open to show the other side. That’s what you do every night on Fox. That’s great!”
When Hannity reminded Voinovich that the Fairness Doctrine would establish government regulatory bureaucracies to enforce this balance, Voinovich quickly retreated.
Voinovich also asserted efforts in the Senate earlier in the day were successful at amending the immigration bill to require illegal aliens to return to their nation of origin before getting on a path for a green card. When Hannity pointed out the measure failed in a 53-45 vote, Voinovich seemed stunned.
“He doesn’t even know what the Fairness Doctrine is,” exclaimed Hannity. “He doesn’t even know the outcome of a vote in the Senate today. And he gets mad at me when I try to explain it to him!”
WND was not able to get through to Voinovich’s Senate office, which was continually busy.