Is Marie Diamond clueless, deceptive, or what? (ThinkProgress, Herman Cain, border fence, alligators, moat, Andy Kroll)

As we all know, those who toil at the Center for American Progress' ThinkProgress blog don't get the joke, no matter what the joke may be. The latest example is provided by Marie Diamond, who offers "Cain's Plan For Securing The Border: Build The Great Wall Of China, Fill A Moat With Alligators" (video below; quote and link at [1]).

Presidential candidate Herman Cain (a Tea parties favorite) doesn't want to do either of those: he doesn't want to build a "Great Wall" on the border, nor does he want to fill a moat with alligators. The first was just an example he was using, and he was joking about the second: he was mocking Obama mocking those who care about border security. Diamond says:

Cain also endorsed an idea President Obama made jokingly during a recent trip to Texas — building a moat along the border. Echoing Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), Cain added, “And I would put those alligators in that moat”

Cain was joking just like Obama was, and the audience knew he was mocking Obama; watch the video below. Diamond provides the same video, yet somehow she didn't realize that Cain was joking about the moat and alligators part.

Now, of course, there are other explanations: Diamond realizes what was going on but simply failed to tell her readers that. Or, she's intentionally trying to deceive by starting a game of telephone: she wants her readers to tell their friends about Cain's comments, with some segment of those who learn about it secondhand thinking that Cain was serious without watching the video. No matter what the explanation, Diamond does not come off too well.

But, there's more. She also says:

The idea of erecting a massive fence along the U.S.–Mexico border has long been a favorite of conservatives, despite the fact that several experts have condemned the notion as foolhardy and ineffective. As Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano once said, “You show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.” It’s perhaps surprising that Iowa voters would be so moved by the issue of illegal immigration in a state that’s so distant from the heart of the problem. But Cain took his cues from the audience early on when they cheered any brief mention of cracking down on immigrants. Cain expanded on border security as one of at least seven “crises” he laid out during his speech.

1. Obviously, it's in the Democrats' best (electoral) interests to allow illegal immigration, and that's why Napolitano said what she said. I discussed her, Bill Richardson, and Rick Perry all using the same line here, although perhaps instead of the idea at the link it would just be better to point out how all three enable illegal immigration.

2. Diamond is clueless about how the state of Iowa has in fact been impacted by illegal immigration; see the link as well as Swift Foods and Postville.

3. Diamond seems to think that U.S. citizens should only be concerned with local issues rather than problems facing other regions.

4. I don't have Cain's other comments, but it'd doubtful that he suggested "cracking down on immigrants" as Diamond says. He clearly suggested cracking down on illegal immigration, and he might have (incorrectly and ineffectively) focused on the illegal aliens themselves, but he wouldn't have suggested "cracking down on immigrants" because "immigrants" implies the legal variety; illegal aliens are just that and not "immigrants".

Now, the above doesn't mean that Cain is correct about the border fence: we only need it in strategic locations and in other locations other types of protection might be more suitable. The way to solve this issue is to go after the politicians and others who allow illegal immigration to continue; a fence would be to some extent just a bandaid on a much deeper problem. See the links to the right for more effective ways to reduce illegal immigration.

6/9/11 UPDATE: Andy Kroll of Mother Jones offers "Herman Cain's Immigration Plan: A Great Wall of China and an Alligator-Filled Moat", which is even worse than Diamond's post: it doesn't even mention Obama's earlier comments:

Cain said:

"I just got back from China. Ever heard of the Great Wall of China? It looks pretty sturdy. And that sucker is real high. I think we can build one if we want to! We have put a man on the moon, we can build a fence! Now, my fence might be part Great Wall and part electrical technology…It will be a twenty foot wall, barbed wire, electrified on the top, and on this side of the fence, I’ll have that moat that President Obama talked about. And I would put those alligators in that moat!"