Kelly Evans' weak immigration question for Rick Perry backfires (WSJ)

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Kelly Evans of the Wall Street Journal asked Rick Perry a low-wattage immigration question at last night's GOP debate.

Her question was presumably designed to promote the WSJ's policy of loose borders (see their name's link), but it backfired. Because of her question, some people will have a lower opinion of the WSJ and at the same time some people might think Perry is strong on border enforcement. And, that's presumably what she didn't want.

Here's what she asked:

Governor Perry, you advocate placing more troops and bigger walls along the nation's southern border to stop illegal immigration, but border crossings are at a 4 year low - 40 year low, illegal immigration overall is down substantially and the U.S. has other pressing infrastructure and defense needs. Governor, wouldn’t we be better off not spending more money on border walls?

1. Perry only supports fencing at "strategic" locations, which he reiterated in his stock response [1].

2. Her question fits right in with the other examples on the bad questions page. What she asked is akin to tearing up flood drains because it hasn't rained in a while, and that would be stupid. Unless others start discrediting its supporters and soon, illegal immigration will pick up again as soon as the economy picks up. Does the WSJ think Fox News viewers don't know that and would fall for the WSJ's attempts to weaken border security?

3. Assuming that her goal was to push the WSJ's loose immigration agenda, her question backfired. (Or, maybe she was being machiavellian and she was trying to implicitly show how the WSJ's agenda is wrong). In any case, her question simply allowed Perry to give the response [1] that anyone who's been following him would expect. He probably managed to fool a few people into thinking that he'd be strong on immigration.

4. Questions like hers are a public disservice, pushing the U.S. further down the road to Idiocracy. The candidates for president of the U.S. have consistently been asked weaker questions than Fox News interns are asked. The candidates for president should be given the toughest job interviews of anyone, yet the establishment media asks weak, open-ended questions that simply allow the candidates to repeat their stock speeches. Unfortunately, those outside the establishment media aren't filling in the gaps, despite how easy it would be to both make the media look bad and raise the level of debate in the U.S. See Question Authority for what you can do, and also promote a better format for political debates.

[1] Perry's by-the-numbers response:

PERRY: Let me tell you the reason that those crossings are at 40 year lows is because the economy of the United States is probably at a 40 year low and the president of these United States needs to change. That’s the reason.
As the governor of the second largest state and the state with the longest border, I have spent 11 years dealing with this issue. And the idea that Americans don’t want us to spend the money to secure that border is just flat out false. We are going to secure the border with Mexico, that means strategic fencing, that means thousands of national guard troops on the border until we can train up those border patrol to be there.
And it means predator drones and other aviation assets to that we have the real-time information to flow down to those individuals that are in law enforcement so that they can immediately respond to any activities that they see on the border that is either weapons related or drug related or illegal immigration that’s occurring on that border.
Americans want that border secure. The issue isn’t about how much is it going to cost, the issue is when are you going to get it done? And when I’m the president of the United States that border will be locked down and it will be secure by one year from the time I take my hand off the Bible.