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Sonny Bono In Full: "When Something Is Illegal, It's Illegal. Enforce The Law"
Various versions of a famous line by the late Sonny Bono, entertainer, mayor, and US Congressman, have circulated. For example, Steve Sailer in 2000 quoted Bono from memory:
The concept that running against illegal immigration is a vote-loser is a curious delusion of the Bush 2000 campaign. Recall how Sonny Bono made a name for himself in politics. During a debate the moderator told him, "You have two minutes to give your opinion of illegal immigration." He stood up, and said, "It's illegal." Then, he sat down.
And various versions of it were recalled by the media at the time of his accidental death, and later.
However, for Nicholas Stix's column tonight, I had to track down what he actually said and when he said it—it was a 1992 Senate Primary debate, and that means his opponents were two Republicans:
When the candidates were asked what they would do to solve problems created by illegal immigration into this country, both Herschensohn and Campbell gave rather detailed answers.
When it was Bono's turn, he said: "This may sound incredibly simple after all that articulating, but what strikes me funny is when something is illegal, it's illegal. Enforce the law. . . . I wish it was more complicated than that. But that's the way I do with my city and it works out fine."
During the rebuttal period on the immigration question, Bono said: "There's not a lot to rebut." But he proceeded to use the issue as an example of his theme that government is overloaded with too much bureaucracy that inhibits the economy and stymies action.
"We go on and on about a simple problem and when we start getting reactive and complicated, that's a disease of this country and what it does is create bureaucracy."
In his summation, Bono noted that Herschensohn called Campbell too liberal and Campbell called Herschensohn too conservative.
"You know what? They're both right," he said. "Neither one of them can get elected. . . . They're both insiders. They're both out of touch with conservative California Republican views."
[Bono Jumps Into GOP Candidates Debate, by Bill Stall And Tracy Wilkinson, LA Times, February 01, 1992]
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