Just reading the headline you'd think that it was going to be one of those two-box cable news debates where no matter who won, we lost -- where both of the participants were so utterly insufferable that everybody was going to be wrong and nobody would be worth listening to. Yet, maybe not so surprisingly, Fox News angry-small-dog-in-a-designer-purse Megyn Kelly just wiped the floor with professional law-flouter Jose Antonio Vargas last night during a discussion of "sanctuary cities."
The impetus for the confrontation was the recent murder of a young woman in San Francisco at the hands of a Mexican national who was in the country illegally. Kate Steinle was always the perfect martyr to be embraced and elevated by Fox News, a gorgeous young blonde gunned down by an undocumented brown person, thereby instantly proving that an electrified fence and gator-filled moat along the U.S.'s southern border was the only proper response to the scourge of illegal killers and rapists pouring into our great country by the millions. At issue, then, for Megyn Kelly is the fact that San Francisco is what's known as a "sanctuary city," an urban area that has policies on the books designed to shelter those in the country illegally. Sanctuary cities are, in essence, defying federal law by declaring that they won't cooperate with government officials in the apprehension and arrest of undocumenteds. Fox News finds this unwillingness to abide by the law of the land unconscionable -- because as you know Fox News always stands by federal law and would never suggest that states should simply ignore laws they don't like.
While on paper, last night's segment was supposed to be about Vargas's new MTV documentary examining "white privilege," Kelly took the opportunity right out of the gate to hit up her guest for his thoughts on the Steinle case and the question of whether sanctuary cities should be tolerated. Maybe it was unfair given that Vargas was clearly not prepared for Kelly's decision to go off-roading, but the fact is he should've known better. He's the country's most famous undocumented immigrant -- a guy whose entire career is based on the fact that he admits he's breaking the law every single second of the day -- so there was no way Fox News wasn't going to try to corner him on it, directly or indirectly.
Megyn Kelly jumped on him almost immediately, conceding that the killer of Kate Steinle doesn't represent every person in the country illegally but pushing Vargas to likewise concede that cities that provide sanctuary for undocumenteds are violating federal law. Sure, it was a heavy-handed approach but it underscored the the fatal flaw in Jose Antonio Vargas's entire argument in support of those who are in the country without documentation: he's advocating breaking the law. Hell, he is breaking the law -- and he flaunts that fact at every turn, as if daring the government to do something about it. Every time Vargas appears anywhere, is listed within a set of credits, or is handed a big pile of money for a gig in which he argues a position -- any position -- the only response required to dismiss him is, "What the fuck are you doing in this country? Why aren't you under arrest right now?"
Megyn Kelly didn't even need to say this since she knew her audience would be shouting exactly that from their Barcaloungers back home. Maybe it was the upper hand the surprise attack gave Megyn, but she really did nail Vargas. He stammered and stumbled trying to come up with an answer to Kelly's respectful but pointed barrage of questions. Again, though, Kelly's questions not only should've been anticipated by Vargas but they cut to the core of his advocacy so you'd think he would've had a set of decent answers always at the ready in case of any confrontation. Instead, he just looked like someone desperately grasping at straws while Kelly hammered away at him, taking full advantage of that aforementioned fatal flaw.