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Rick Perry: no to full border fence; re-uses "ladder business" line like Janet Napolitano and Bill Richardson

Speaking in New Hampshire, Texas governor Rick Perry said this (link):

"No, I don't support a fence on the border," he said, while referring to the long border in Texas alone. "The fact is, it's 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso. Two things: How long you think it would take to build that? And then if you build a 30-foot wall from El Paso to Brownsville, the 35-foot ladder business gets real good." ...Instead, Perry said he supported "strategic fencing" and National Guard troops...

1. He's repeating himself: he made the same weak "ladder business" joke back in 2007, and both Janet Napolitano (quote) and Bill Richardson have made similar weak jokes.

2. Associated Press writer Steve Peoples says that Perry's quote above resulted in an "angry shout from at least one audience member". A useful idiot for Perry who was on scene disputes that [1] and I don't know who's telling the truth. I haven't discussed Peoples before, but it's not exactly unheard of for the AP to just make things up. On the other hand, it's also not unheard of for the tea partiers to act like little kids at public meetings.

3. Perry has a point, albeit for the wrong reasons. He doesn't want a full fence for probably two reasons: mainly because he supports loose borders, and also because it would impact Texas landowners (unlike other Southwest states, almost all land in Texas is privately owned). As for me, I don't think we need a full fence because I know there are easier ways to solve the problem. As I wrote almost two years ago:

"a fence would not be necessary if politicians realized that supporting illegal immigration would harm their careers. The way to help that come about is by asking them tough questions about illegal immigration on video; see the two-and-a-half year old plan in question authority, and ask your leaders why they haven't been promoting that plan but instead have been at the most encouraging you to engage in ineffective activities such as acting out at townhalls."

Sadly, that's still true: Perry and every other politician is extremely vulnerable to good arguments on a wide variety of topics, and smart, experienced people really challenging them on those topics would greatly help the political situation in the U.S. The problem is finding others who want to help promote challenging them.

Bear in mind that even if we built the Wall of China across the entire southern border, we'd still have people like Gil Cedillo (just for one example out of hundreds) occasionally acting more like agents of the Mexican government than U.S. politicians. A border fence would be to an extent just a bandaid on a deeper problem. That deeper problem has to be dealt with, and the most effective way to do it is by discrediting politicians who support illegal immigration on video by really pressing them on what they support.

ADDED: I added "full" to the title to make it clear that Perry does support some fencing, just not a full fence.

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[1] youtoocongress.com/2011/09/04/perry-wont-be-demanding-greek-columns/

Other tags: pres2012

Sun, 09/04/2011 - 14:30 · Importance: 4