Florida Sen. Marco Rubio went on seven Sunday talk shows to pitch a bipartisan immigration reform deal, while a handful of Republican lawmakers famous for their wacky cable news interviews can't get any attention. An anti-immigration "gang of six" in the House is trying to stop the pro-immigration "gang of eight" in the Senate, The National Review's Robert Costa reports, but hardly anyone's listening. The six are cable TV favorites: Minnesota's Michele Bachmann, Iowa's Steve King, Texas' Louie Gohmert, Alabama's Mo Brooks, Pennsylvania's Lou Barletta, and California's Dana Rohrabacher. There were zero "anti-amnesty" Sunday show guests the week before Rubio's grand tour. The most popular cable guests of the six -- Bachmann, King, and Gohmert -- haven't been invited on cable to talk immigration in the last three months, according to Lexis Nexis. They complain the GOP isn't listening to them either.
In 2007, Costa explains, Republican immigration opponents "dominated the headlines" and "scared off many Republicans who might otherwise have supported it." Now, "the anti-legalization warriors wonder why their party suddenly seems to be ignoring their concerns." But once the bill comes out, he writes, "they think they, not Rubio, will be the Republicans who shape the debate, especially on talk radio and within the conservative movement." But that hasn't happened so far! According to Lexis Nexis -- which, granted, doesn't have every single word uttered on cable news -- Bachmann, King, and Gohmert haven't been able to get much time on Fox to sell their view. They're all far more popular on MSNBC as bad guys than on Fox as good guys. Here are their mentions in the last three months:
- Bachmann: MSNBC (47 times), CNN (33 times), Fox (12 times).
- King: MSNBC (32 mentions), CNN (seven mentions), Fox (three mentions).
- Gohmert: MSNBC (17 mentions), CNN (eight mentions), Fox (seven mentions).