From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:
—On the Immigration Bill—
FRED BARNES: Look, the bill in the Senate is not [the president’s]. The White House was called in after the negotiations already began on the bill. In the House, they’re going to start from scratch, it’s not his bill. And the president, I just think, needs to drop out of this debate. He’s unpopular, the opponents of immigration reform are going to call whatever the bill is, a Bush bill, because they think that’ll make it more unpopular than it might otherwise have been.
—On Hugo Chavez—
HUME: [News in Venezuela:] the closing down of a popular TV station by the Venezuelan leader, dictator, Hugo Chavez. And now, for three or four nights in a row — or days and nights in a row, he has had the streets full of protesters. He’s threatened them, he’s now threatened the owners of the only other remaining independent TV channel, very small one there. And so he is still more or less riding high, I suppose, but he would not be — if he were to fall, this kind of thing has a long history of being the first stage in it. Student protests in the streets often go farther. How much of a chance?
MORT KONDRACKE: Well, you know, there was a coup that was staged against him, it only lasted two days, back in 2002. You know, there is very strong opposition to him. I mean, he is a socialist, communist. He wants to be Fidel Castro, dominate the whole region. And a sizable portion of the population in Venezuela believe in free markets and freedom . . .
[H]e does have the guns, he does — has the rubber bullets, he has the fire hoses and unless these people are willing to do, you know, what was done in the Ukraine, for example, and just risk death, I think he’s going to win. . . .
BARNES: Look, he’s a thug. And he acts like a thug. And he’s stupid besides. I mean, who in the world would want — would take the Cuban model for your economy when Fidel Castro is reduced practically to subsistence level where they’re not even self-sufficient in sugar, their biggest crop. I mean, that’s a pathetic economy. That’s his model. That’s what he wants.
Now, the — look, he’s only got one thing going for him — a lot of oil in Venezuela. And if we have, and I hope we do — have a price drop of some significance, then he’s really going to be in trouble.