Thursday, August 11, 2011

I want to see Rick Perry debate Gary Johnson on border security

One thing I'm looking forward to as Gov. Rick Perry prepares for his presidential run is seeing him debate former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on border security topics. The two couldn't have more different views and Johnson's main messages on the subject are are virtually antithetical to Perry's more simplistic, voter rousing memes. A recent op ed by Johnson in the Washington Times opened:
Imagine you are a drug lord in Mexico, making unfathomable profits sending your illegal product to the United States. What is the headline you fear the most? “U.S. to build bigger fence”? “U.S. to send troops to the border”? “U.S. to deploy tanks in El Paso”? No. None of those would give you much pause. They would simply raise the level of difficulty and perhaps cause you to escalate the violence that already has turned the border region into a war zone. But would they stop you or ultimately hurt your bottom line? Probably not.

But what if that drug lord opened his newspaper and read this: “U.S. to legalize and regulate marijuana”? That would ruin his day, and ruin it in a way that could not be fixed with more and bigger guns, higher prices or more murder.

As a Republican presidential candidate, especially one who served as governor of a border state, I hear a lot from people - all across the country - about the crisis along our border with Mexico. People are often surprised when they hear me say that the “border problem” is generally misconstrued and widely blamed on the wrong things.
Governor Rick Perry, of course, is one of those who has most vociferously misconstrued the border problem in the fashion Johnson critiques, conflating immigration issues and and drug violence in a sort of hazy, mostly fact-free fear mongering. Continued Johnson:
having lived most of my life in New Mexico, done business there for decades and served two terms as governor, I will say with great confidence that just about everything we are doing to deal with “border issues” is wrong.

First, inflamed by politicians who have chosen to use illegal immigration as the ultimate wedge issue, far too many people see a connection between a lack of so-called border security and border violence. Let us be clear:

The border war is not an immigration problem - illegal or otherwise - and even if it were, fences and troops would not solve it. If anything, the crackdown measures of recent years, while doing little or nothing to address illegal immigration, have had the unintended consequence of upping the ante for the cartels trying to move drugs across that same border, resulting in greater crime and violence.

Immigration is a different issue - and one that must be addressed not with fences, but with a system for legal entry and temporary work visas that works. Real border security is knowing who is coming here and why.

Border violence, on the other hand, is a prohibition problem. Just as we did for Al Capone and his murderous colleagues 90 years ago, our drug laws have created the battlefield on which tens of thousands are dying. By doggedly hanging onto marijuana laws that make criminals out of our children while our leaders proudly consume wine at state dinners, we have created an illegal marketplace with such mind-boggling profits that no enforcement measures will ever overcome the motivation, resources and determination of the cartels.
Perry and Johnson will clash directly over these topics when the GOP primary debates ramp up in earnest. It's incredibly rare these days that I could honestly say I'm "looking forward" to a presidential debate, but I must say I'll want to watch that. Relatedly, via Drug War Rant, check out this remarkable Gary Johnson campaign ad, which hews closely to a traditional conservative value set but reaches a rather astonishing polcy conclusion:




RELATED: From the Texas Tribune, "Selling the high price of border security."

18 comments:

ckikerintulia said...

I too would like to watch that debate. I doubt Gary Johnson has a prayer of getting the nomination, but hopefully he can help get this idea a little traction across party lines.

I think I'll vote in the GOP primary as an "aginner." I'm agin Rick Perry, and I'm agin Sharon Keller. (For some folks who may not speak old fashioned Texan, that's pronounced "uh-gin'." Accent on the last syllable. Short "i".)

Anonymous said...

One marihuana arrest = $10,400 in cost. Typical political ad. Makes a statement, gives no supporting information.

Anonymous said...

Grits said:
"But what if that drug lord opened his newspaper and read this: “U.S. to legalize and regulate marijuana”? That would ruin his day, and ruin it in a way that could not be fixed with more and bigger guns, higher prices or more murder."

I don't think it would have the positive effect you think it would. It would just give the drug lord a legal market for his trade. It would drop his expenses immediately as he would no longer have to employ henchmen, buy guns, or murder people. He would no longer have to buy and fly illegal airplanes, or use illegal shipping methods, all of which are very expensive. It would make life a lot easier for the drug lord. His profit would drop, but so would his expenses.

John said...

A new national poll released today shows Johnson making his first positive movement in months. Hopefully this is a sign that he is finally getting some name recognition. http://media.mcclatchydc.c​om/smedia/2011/08/09/16/04​/21DOd.So.91.pdf (page 16)

When he was last tracked by Gallop, they had his name recognition sitting at about 20%, with 1% of that supporting him. Hopefully Gallop will start including him again soon and we will see that his support number is tracking exponentially compared to his recognition number. If the two are linear then it will definitely not be a good sign for his campaign.

Sandy said...

Anonymous 9:04 - I believe it would drop his profit dramatically. Anybody with a pot of dirt and some sunshine won't want to do business with somebody marketing a high-dollar product they can grow at home for free. I know dozens, if not hundreds, of green thumbs just itching to plant a peaceful, legal backyard container garden. Bet you do, too.

ckikerintulia said...

Anonymous 9:04

You say, "Grits said . . ." Actually, Grits was quoting Presidential candidate and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. Last I heard Grits is not a candidate.

Hook Em Horns said...

Perry doesn't debate.

Madame Karnak said...

If Goodhair, that Bilderberger pawn, gets nominated, I plan to get a ticket to some distant island. He is an IDIOT much like the dumbos that pushed through the "austerity measures" in Britain that TORPEDOED their own tax revenues as well as pissing off the people whose jobs they sent offshore.

I am sick of neoliberal hosers with their bad policies and dismay at the outcomes that history has demonstrated are inevitable. Had they not defrauded our children of decent educations with their test-a-thons and virtual propaganda texts, our children would also get the huge flaws in the legislation in Texas.

WITH RESPECT TO THE BORDER--GET RID OF NAFTA, LEGALIZE DRUGS TO REMOVE THE PROFIT MOTIVE AND STOP GIVING GUNS TO DRUG LORDS.

By the way, anti-minority activity were a big feature of the things happening during the 1929 Depression, the WEIMAR Republic and NOW under these same lovers of lucre's bad economic policies.

We need a greater attention to history. If you could actually set up this debate, I would love to help Gary with policy briefs and research.

A Texas PO said...

Maybe Grits should be a candidate. "Hail to the... Grits?" I'm not sure which side of this debate I stand on. I'm sitting on the fence while I weigh both sides. But I would definitely like to see some out of the box thinking on this whole issue to solve a problem that has been made worse by our (and Mexico's) militarization of the border. Until this post, I had never heard of Gary Johnson, but I am now intrigued. I think I have some catching up to do.

Anonymous said...

How much longer will we the people allow the ignorant mass to sing the praises at the ballot box for these fear mongering wasp candidates like Perry. The only people who benefit are the losers who can’t get real jobs and work in home grown terrorist organizations like corrections and law enforcement. It’s a war on the citizens and these ass clowns are the enemy. End the war and these people can get back to serving the citizens like they should.

Anonymous 8/11/2011 9:04 you must be one of those Obama socialist. Goggle free enterprise and have someone you trust explain it to you then perhaps you may understand why this would ruin a drug lords day.

Right on Madam Karnack, however in Texas Perry is more interested in funding corrections not education. God forbid the mass were educated then politicians like Perry would have to get a real job.

Hook Em Horns, Perry doesn’t debate because of a syndrome known as pusillanimous. What can we expect from an aggie cheer leader.

Can someone explain to this Grits reader why the worst home grown security threat group is not even on the list? White Evangelicals.

Anonymous said...

If marijuana was made legal, would drug smugglers find another line of work? Or, would they just switch to other drugs (cocaine, meth, heroin)?

Anonymous said...

lets see DOJ says in 2008 there were 840,000 marijuna arrests, 08:33 says they cost 10,400 each. My math is not that good but doesn't that come to 8.736 Billion for just the arrest. Sounds like a lot of money to me. And as far as the cartels selling in the US. That could easily be taken care of by licensing.

Ham2mtr

Anonymous said...

Since the border is effectually open what are you upset about?

ckikerintulia said...

Anonymous 8/11 2:37

"How much longer will we the people allow the ignorant mass to sing the praises at the ballot box ...?"

Are you proposing that the ballot box be taken away from us poor ignoramuses? What do you propose in its place? Who is/are "we the people"? Are you advocating armed revolution?

Anonymous said...

@ Ham2mtr...I didn't say each arrest costs $10,400, that's what Johnson said in his ad. Typical, makes a statement, gives no support.

Anonymous said...

Sandy said:
"Anonymous 9:04 - I believe it would drop his profit dramatically. Anybody with a pot of dirt and some sunshine won't want to do business with somebody marketing a high-dollar product they can grow at home for free. I know dozens, if not hundreds, of green thumbs just itching to plant a peaceful, legal backyard container garden. Bet you do, too."

Yes, but when the govt steps in and "regulates" the marketing of something, the little guy suffers more than the big guy. The backyard grower will not be exempt from the same product and market standards the drug lord will be held to. The drug lord will have the advantage, especially on the open market. How many backyard vegetable growers have you seen make a living on what they grow? I own a 140 acre farm in east Texas, and a 160 acre wheat farm in NW Oklahoma. I'm lucky if I net 20k a year on both.

Sandy said...

Sorry, Anonymous 8:40, but I think you misunderstood my post.

I never intended my hypothetical backyard garden to be an agricultural endeavor meant to earn income. I had nothing but a personal, private backyard in mind. That's all I wrote about, after all. Just another plant right there alongside the azaleas, chives, and tomatoes cultivated for personal enjoyment and consumption. How you use your multi-state acreage is your business, profitable or not. Regardless, it compares not to my post.

Anonymous 3:51 - why not legalize it all? The drugs you mention affect a very small market anyway. I doubt the demand for those harder drugs would increase just because marijuana were to become legal.

Will the drug lords find another product to push? Of course. There will always be that segment of the population feeding off others. Let them find something else. It'll take time to determine what that is, where its market is, and how to supply and distribute it. We can deal with that problem when and where it arises. In the meantime, we can enjoy a little peace and prosperity for a change.

I've been a fan of Gary Johnson's since he was governor of New Mexico. He seems to me to be one of the most level-headed politicians on the playing field. I've vowed to never again vote Republican (a vow made decades ago) but I just might make an exception to the rule if Mr. Johnson is on the ticket.

Madame Karnak - Sure wish YOU would run for office. You've got my vote regardless of party affiliation. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

I have beensaying for years that if they legalized marajuana, gambling, and prostitution,that it would take the power out of the hands of criminals and war lords. I don't smoke, drink, do drugs,or ever used a prostitute, but if these things were legalized, the criminals would take their business elswhere. and it would be up to the individual if they choose to use these things. Also it would take the danger element out of the picture for our kids. Even if all these things were legalized, I would not use them, and as an american citizen, that is my right to make the choice.