Herman Cain is now saying that his plan to electrocute Mexicans trying to come in illegally over the US-Mexico border was a joke. And now it turns out that back in August — when he was still in Newt/Santorum/Gary Johnson territory — he suggested building a moat filled with alligators. And presumably that was a joke. But how do you know other than by the increasingly hard to spot criterion of objective ridiculousness?Last night I had actually jokingly suggested that Romney might try to one-up Cain by proposing a moat filled with crocodiles, only to discover that Cain was ahead of me.
But I think electric fence, moat, deadly piranhas … whatever only underscores the central point: Republican primary politics has descended into something like right-wing performance art. So it’s basically impossible to know what’s serious and what’s a joke since it’s all both. And neither.