Thursday, June 24, 2010

mining for bombs

Political candidates can say some really dumb things.

Candidate Obama said he had visited 57 states during the primaries -- and had just one more to visit.

Vice President Quayle forgot how to spell potato.

President Gerald Ford freed the captive nations of central Europe in a debate.

There are plenty of excuses from the spinmeisters.  Fatigue.  Distractions.  Misunderstanding. 

But most of us understand what has happened.  We all do it.  We mean to say one thing and say it another way -- almost always poorly.

I have double empathy with candidates.  Having been one in 1988, I know how easy it is to get your tongue tangled in your feet.  I would supply some examples.  But some things are better mentioned and never discussed again.

That is why I did not react too strongly when I saw the headline.  New Mexico Congressional Candidate Wants Landmines Along U.S.-Mexico Border."

My first reaction was to be certain I had not opened The Onion by mistake.  But reality trumps satire.

Here's the story.  During a radio interview, a congressional candidate in New Mexico suggested the United States could place land mines and barbed wire along the Mexico border to enhance security.  With designated crossing points free from danger. 

When asked to explain, he said he was not advocating the idea.  He had heard the idea from a citizen while campaigning, and thought it was "an interesting concept."

OK.  Every candidate adopts an idea now and then that has not been properly vetted through the ol' noggin.  Such as, considering why the border with Mexico should look like Hungary in 1959.

But there is more.  His concern was not that Mexicans are crossing the border illegally.  His big concern was that terrorists could carry a nuclear weapon across the border.

Now, we are getting into Mad Hatter land.  Of course, terrorists could do that.  But why?  As Babs has pointed out, cargo containers are much better sources for nefarious activity.  I suspect Our Candidate knows as much about nuclear weapons as he does about land mines.

His big point was simple: "People are concerned about securing our borders.  We're hopeful we don't have additional terrorist attacks.  They expect our central government to actually do something and not avoid the problem."

And there is the rub.  Securing the borders.  Nuclear weapons is a non-starter.  The secure border people need to do a far better job of making their case for expending tax money to throw up an iron curtain on the border with Mexico.  And I am pointing a finger at myself.

But I get a little concerned when I hear candidates talking more like Joe Stalin than George Washington.


Anonymous said...

I'm not usually suprised by the inane things politicians say. This is up there with the best of them. I'll have to do some digging to find out this knucklehead's name.

norm said...

The kill em all and let God sort them out folks are very much alive and well in our nation.

Chrissy y Keith said...

Read Border Crosser by Johnny Rico. The Author, is American and attempts to cross the border from Mexico into America illegally. He spends time with Minutemen, Border Patrol, Local cops and interviews plenty of people that have crossed illegally.

NWexican said...

Yeah George Washington would have just fired cannons and muskets at 'em; much more sporting...

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear!

Citizens of good will on whatever political plane, side, point, or aisle, hope their government confront issues intelligently while adhering to our better traditions of constitutional republicanism.

Let us good citizens then, trust one another a bit more to find common ground where we can discuss in a normal voice without the ugly palsy of fear and hate shaking our limbs and rattling our brains.

John Hofer

Babs said...

Good grief - does he not know that the previous terrorists crossed the Canadian border? What a knucklehead is right......geez I'm so glad I don't have a radio or TV keeps my blood pressure down......ha

Tancho said...

Too bad no one had really come up with a viable solution, except me. Build a moat around the country and a few drawbridges, some high towers with hot boiling oil should do the trick.

In the crystal ball that I have on my desk it looks like every human born in the world will have an ID chip that will be monitored 24 hours a day and seen where it goes. Exit your authorized border and a electric shock debilitates you for awhile....
Scary enough?

Anonymous said...

Steve, we were listening to that interview as we crossed New Mexico coming home from our vacation in Arizona. The point of what he was saying is, the people in New Mexico are just as desperate as the people of Arizona for a secure border. The citizens of New Mexico are throwing out all kinds of suggestions, some are quite radical, as the land mine and barbed wire suggestion. And no, he didn't think it was a valid one. He, also, was quite aware that what he was saying would be taken out of context and misconstrued.

Another thing he pointed out, is it is next to impossible as a small business owner to validate that the identification that is presented at hire as genuine, in part, because of the way SS cards and some driver's licenses are printed. I thought this was interesting because I believed that if business owners would do their part and not hire illegals, the illegals would go home or not come.


Steve Cotton said...

Francisco -- I did not mention his name because I know that newspapers are not very good (at times) in reporting controversial comments in context. But what I have heard indicates he could use better judgment in choosing what comes out of his mouth. But I sympathize. I have been there myself -- several times.

Norm -- But we do have to grant the fact that people are getting very frustrated over the apparent inaction of the federal government during the last two decades to effectively address border security.

Chrissy -- I will do my best to look at it. Thanks.

NWexican -- Only if they wore red coats and said shed-yule with a Hessian accent.

John -- Thanks. You are a good model of how people can disagree but remain civil. It is time for another lunch, I believe.

Babs -- But I am always happy to pass this news along. No strokes allowed.

Tancho -- I hear the steady stride of a national identity card catching up with us. A libertarian nightmare. But I live with the same issue in Mexico.

Judy -- Thanks for putting the interview in context. I suspect the candidate's failure was to label the constituent's proposal as "an interesting idea." He would have been far better off to label it is a radical idea and use it as an example of just how angry people are getting on this issue. (I believe that was the point he was attempting to make.) Of course, it is easy for me to be a Monday morning quarterback. And I have made my own share of gaffes over the years.