Monday, August 31, 2015

Chris Christie Is Still The Master

When the most sensible comment by a GOP presidential contender is from Rand Paul, you know the Repub field is descending even deeper into the rathole.

There have been a lot of dumb ideas put out,” the Kentucky senator observed. “One that the Mexicans will pay for a wall, was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas. But putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion."

That is an idea from Governor Scott Walker as he heads, if the country is lucky, toward political oblivion.  He spoke on Meet The Press Sunday of his town hall meetings in New Hampshire and in an exchange that wasn't shown on television, Walker was asked about building a wall on the USA-Canadian border. He replied "They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at,"

There are reasons that is a harebrained idea. It is at 5,525 miles the largest international border in the world, although 1,538 of that is between Canada and Alaska. The USA-Mexico border is a relatively paltry 1,933.4 miles, and you can see how quickly that is going up. Most Democrats are ideologically opposed to construction, and Republicans are still trying to figure out how it can be done for free. There are, additionally, a lot more Mexicans streaming into the USA than there are Canadians because it's, well, Canada. Charlie Pierce remarks

... consider the vast and staggering vista of stupidity opened up by the idea of building a fence from upper Maine to the shores of the Pacific. Leave aside the basic impracticality of the entire idea- What the hell are you going to do about that part of the border that runs through Lake Superior? Submarine nets? Sonar? Volunteer muskie fishermen with AK's intheir boats? Yikes. Forget I said that last part....

But if building a northern wall is impractical to the point of ludicrous, it is not as appalling as a suggestion from Chris Christie who, rumor has it, is still the the governor of New Jersey. The New York Times reports

 “At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane,” Mr. Christie told the crowd in Laconia, N.H. “Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them.

He added: “We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in.”

He said 40 percent of illegal immigrants are allowed into the United States legally with a visa and then stay longer than their visa allows.

It's that police state element that might concern you, though for fans of American literature, it could be entertaining as a throwback to the Scarlet Letter.   However, the concept has been put into practice elsewhere in the world before, albeit in a more extreme fashion, with rather unpleasant consequences.

Cattle are branded (video, below) but human beings might be a little trickier. It would require a major expansion of government power, right up the alley for a guy whose authoritarian nature can rival that of Donald Trump.   But few middle class jobs would need to be created because a President Christie would take it private, and handing out subsidies to private companies like they're candy canes at a children's Christmas parade is his modus operandi.

Still, Christie's idea has the advantage, in a GOP competition, of being both inhumane and impractical. Scott Walker- and maybe even Donald Trump- have a lot of learning to do.

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