Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash, Vol. XVII: Run for the border, reading recommendations and birthers for Tucker

Matt Labash Columnist
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Today happens to be Matt’s birthday. You know what he wants? A new ball-gag? The complete discography of RATT? Acceptance from his peers? No. He wants you to ask him a question. Submit it here

Holy content, Batman. No wonder it took you guys 12 years 11 months and 21 days to get this website up. How am I supposed to read all of this stuff, and must I pass a pop quiz to remain a welcome regular visitor? – Michele

You sound overwhelmed, and I can’t blame you. There is so much information coming at us these days, that I’ve started referring to this as an “Information Age.” More and more, it’s hard to filter all the voices bombarding us from all directions. Personally, I simplify my life by only reading the USA Today section posted in the glass case over the urinal at my favorite eating establishment. But I realize that won’t work for you. You’re a woman, and it’s hard to pee standing up.

So do this if you’re short on time: just read Jim Treacher. He’s not me. He’s not S.E. Cupp. He’s not Jon Ward or Mike Riggs or Alex Pappas or Sean Medlock. Rather, he is like all of us rolled into one, with a wounded knee. But he takes the pain from that wound, holds it close to his bosom, and suckles it, nurturing it into something that you might call “art.” He doesn’t call it that, however. He’s unostentatious that way. He just calls it “my pain murals, painted in knee blood.” Then he dips his authorial brush in his seeping scar, and keeps on making more word portraits.

Or else you could just read Chet Nagle. He’s pretty good, too.

Can you give me a good reason why Tucker does not run for President in 2012? He is the conservative we need to lead this country. — Gus

On paper, it makes perfect sense why Tucker should be president. He’s over 35. He knows the issues, or at least knows enough to fake knowing them. And he’s never killed anyone. Except for that guy in college. But that was as an accident, and there was no DNA evidence left behind (Tucker watches a lot of CSI). Here’s how I know he will never be president, however: just ask him to show you his birth certificate. There’s a lot of hemming and hawing when you do. The reason? Because it’s hard to pick up a birth certificate from the hospital where he was born. Unless you happen to be in Kenya.

What do you think of the recent Arizona immigration law that was passed? — Mary

I have conflicted feelings about Arizona, starting with the state itself. Sure, it’s a beautiful state, so long as you stay out of Phoenix. But I can think of plenty of reasons to let it fall into the ocean. Or could, if it wasn’t landlocked. For one, I hate Arizona Iced Tea. It’s like licking a mango sugar cube. For two, if Arizona didn’t exist, think how much faster you’d get from New Mexico to California. For three, Meghan McCain is from there. (Don’t hurt me, Tweetcheeks, I’m just funnin’).

You will not, however, see me mounting my Lou Dobbs soapbox for a rah-rah defense of this law. This is a complicated issue. And I am a complicated person. On the one hand, I think it’s fine to check ID’s. We have both the right and the obligation to secure our borders. If Americans broke into Mexico, violating their laws, Mexico wouldn’t be happy either. I mean, if they had laws. And if you’re going to prevent crime, you have to go after the criminals, which in this case, are people who’ve come here without permission. If checking ID’s seems like we’re unduly singling out Mexicans, well then maybe they should’ve thought of that before coming over the border from MEXICO. If they’d only bring along, say, more Belgians with them when traipsing uninvited into our country, I’d be fine with combing the local waffle house to make Boudewijn show his ID too (Boudewijn – a common Belgian name – that’s called “research”).

On the other hand, we are a nation of people who have beat the systems of other countries by leaving those countries to come here. But many of our forefathers arrived when there was still a lot more room, and it was easier to gain entry. If you spend three days crossing the desert with a rapacious coyote, risking life and limb and dehydration to fulfill your dream of getting a minimum-wage fast-food gig in some crappy border town which is still four times a better life than you had back home, I’d say that’s more convincing evidence than passing a citizenship test that you really want to be here. So I can’t begrudge illegal aliens for making the best lives they can for themselves by gaming our security lapses. Their job is to get through the hole, our job is to plug it. I actually love the Mexican people, and not just the hot, legal ones like Salma Hayek, either. Some of my favorite restaurants are run by those who I suspect couldn’t produce a green card. Flautas, tamales, carne asada,—what do all these foods have in common? Mexicans make them. If we send all the aliens back, who knows what this treasured cuisine will start to look like. You really want some gringo making your barbacoa? No gracias. We already know how it looks when whiteys make Mexican food. It looks like Taco Bell. I’d like to see Arizona law enforcement check the identification of the Bacon Ranch Tortada, and send it back to where it belongs: Honkeyville.

On the third hand, I am a print journalist. My industry is dying, and I am probably going to be needing one of those jobs that Americans don’t want to do, sooner, rather than later. So the illegals might want to think about shoving off. After all, I’m going to have to feed my family somehow, probably at Taco Bell.

If we really want to solve the problem, however, I’m not sure Arizona’s is the best way. This country is all about self-reliance. And so we’d better start teaching that to those on the other side of the border, so that when they sneak over here, they fit in better. In other words, it’s time to empower Mexicans to control the problem. The best plan I ever heard for securing our border came when I was profiling the great Kinky Friedman for my home publication, the Weekly Standard.

While running for governor of Texas, Kinky advanced what he called his Five Mexican Generals border plan. The idea being, that you put a substantial amount of money in the accounts of five Mexican Generals who are each responsible for their respective border sectors. They can only collect after an elapsed period of time. If a certain percentage of aliens makes it across from their country during that time, we deduct from their purses, giving them incentive to keep people on their side of the border. The fewer that make it across, the more money they take home. “It’s a joke,” Kinky said, “but a joke that’s a good idea.” Kinky also, of course, wanted to appoint Willie Nelson head of his Commission on Energy. So it might need some ironing out.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” is just published from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.