On Saturday, August 13th, Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Gov. Perry made sure his announcement was timed to quash any bump that other Republican candidates might get from the straw poll held the same day in Ames, Iowa.
Gov. Perry is a sharp political contender. He has never lost an election since entering politics in 1984 and is a tenacious campaigner. Many Republicans see him as their best chance to win back the White House in 2012. Texas is doing well economically–Gov. Perry claims some of the credit for that–and he appeals to both social and economic conservatives. By uniting both groups, Gov. Perry could conceivably win the nomination.
Gov. Perry’s campaign manager, Dan Carney, is just as sharp. He is a New Hampshire native, and knows the Granite State’s presidential primary politics very well. The Texas Observer says that “though a Republican, he’s not ideological,” which tells us something about Gov. Perry.
The Texas governor’s strongest Republican rivals are said to be Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Both have flaws that primary observers are beginning to notice, and some see Mr. Perry as a promising alternative.
Rep. Bachmann talks a good game for conservatives–the immigration reform group NumbersUSA gives her the best score on immigration–but she has no executive experience and may not be able to win over a wider electorate. Gov. Romney has executive experience and is generally seen as more electable than Rep. Bachmann. However, the conservative voter base worries about the liberal and moderate positions Gov. Romney took in the past.
Enter Rick Perry. He is seen as a politician with pizzazz who is electable, credentialed, and holds conservative views that appeal to the Republican base. He may well be able to unite the social and economic factions of the Republican Party, but there is a growing number of what I call “nationalist” conservatives whose views need to be courted too. In the past, foreign policy conservatives, or “hawks,” were the third leg of the Republican stool, but the hawks got us into quagmires overseas, and Rep. Ron Paul’s paleo-libertarian challenge has somewhat muted them for this election cycle.
Nationalist conservatives care more about securing our own borders than securing the borders of other countries. They are against handouts for illegal aliens. They want a wall built along the Mexican border to stop illegal aliens and gangs. They’re against amnesty, oppose birthright citizenship, and believe illegal aliens should be deported, not coddled. They believe jobs should go to Americans first, and not to illegal aliens. They may not be AR readers yet, but they have a growing sense that something has gone badly wrong with their country.
How good a candidate is Gov. Perry on these issues? He stinks. He is the worst of the Republicans and here are 10 reasons why:
1. Open Borders: Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, in a devastating article that appeared in Politico on August 11, 2011, notes that Gov. Perry gave a 2001 speech in Mexico, no less, saying he supported completely open borders, in which he called for the “free flow of individuals between these two countries who want to work and want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico.” Apparently, there can never be too much immigration from Mexico for Gov. Perry.
2. Border Fence: If you’re for open borders, you don’t want a border fence. The AP reported that in the same 2001 speech in Mexico, Gov. Perry says, “But the idea that you’re going to build a 1,200 mile wall . . . is idiocy. It absolutely would not work.”
3. An Arizona-style Immigration Law for Texas: Gov. Perry is against interior enforcement of our immigration laws. During the debate over Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration SB 1070, he opposed enacting something similar in his state, saying, “It would not be the right direction for Texas.”
4. Amnesty: Gov. Perry said Congress didn’t have the “maturity” to reform our immigration laws, by which he meant granting amnesty. The “Washington Watcher” at Vdare.com notes Gov. Perry has called for a “guest worker program that takes undocumented workers off the black market and legitimizes their economic contributions without providing them with citizenship status.” In other words, at a time when a record number of Americans are out of work, Gov. Perry’s job-creation plan is to make it easier for foreigners to take more of our jobs.
5. Birthright Citizenship: An article at Youth for Western Civilization’s blog notes that Gov. Perry “supports granting citizenship to children of illegal aliens, and opposes legislation to change the current policy which grants citizenship to any child of an illegal alien.” According to the Washington Post, he has said any change of our current birthright citizenship policies would be “unconstitutional.”
For generations, politicians were afraid to touch the question of birthright citizenship, but thanks to Tea Party groups, that is starting to change. By means of a deliberate misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, any pregnant woman who manages “to fly, crawl or flop across our borders” as Jared Taylor once put it, can give birth to an American citizen. Professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas has ably refuted this absurd view of the 14th Amendment.
As Mr. Perry’s views become better known among conservative Republicans, they could turn against him. Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann have both spoken out against birthright citizenship.
6. E-Verify: E-Verify is a federal program that lets employers make sure their workers are here legally. Vdare’s “Washington Watcher” notes that when Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson challenged Gov. Perry for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010, she called for E-Verify for all Texas state employees. Even that was too much for Gov. Rick Perry, who stated: “E-Verify would not make a hill of beans difference when it comes to what’s happening in America today.”
Illegal immigrants who are secretly working for Al Queda or MS-13 could get jobs as state employees, but Gov. Perry is opposed to even the most basic effort to weed them out. Apparently, it doesn’t make a “hill of beans difference” to him.
7. Illegal Aliens as “Undocumented”: The same Youth for Western Civilization article reports that in a talk about his big ideas for Texas school students, he said, “And that vision must include the children of undocumented workers.” (Emphasis added). “Undocumented” is the pro-Amnesty Left’s favorite code word for illegal aliens. Needless to say, that “vision” includes college education, jobs, and everything else. It is easy to foresee a Republican-promoted amnesty of the “undocumented” under a Perry administration, just like the one the last Bush administration served up.
8. In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: In 2001, Gov. Perry supported and signed the Texas “DREAM Act,” which lets children of illegal aliens pay in-state tuition at Texas universities. It you live in neighboring Arizona, no in-state rates for you; but if your family sneaked illegally into Texas, Gov. Perry wants to give you tuition breaks.
Even the voters of liberal Maryland managed to upend the liberal elites’ goal of passing a “DREAM Act” in that state. So unpopular was the law there, that after a successful petition drive, Maryland voters can now decide its fate themselves in 2012.
9. Bragged About it in Mexico: After he signed the Texas DREAM Act, Gov. Perry went to Mexico to brag about it. According to the Washington Times, he said in Spanish: “Educacion es el futuro, y si se puede.” (Education is the future, and yes we can). Gov. Rick Perry, a supposedly conservative governor from the conservative state of Texas, brags in Mexico about transferring more Texas gringo money to more illegal aliens.
In 2009, Mr. Perry received the “Defender of Jerusalem” award, which is given to public figures who show a commitment to defending Israel and Jerusalem as its capital. “I have long supported the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East,” said the grateful Mr. Perry. He is obviously unconcerned about the rights of a Texan state.
10. Giuliani for President in 2008: There were many conservatives running for the 2008 Republican nomination. Gov. Perry could have backed Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA), former Sen. Fred Thompson (TN), or fellow Texan Rep. Ron Paul. Instead, he supported fellow open-borders advocate, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
He said he supported Mr. Giuliani for national security reasons, but somehow failed to see how securing our borders is a matter of national security. Perhaps in his heart, and despite his conservative rhetoric, he feels closer to Mr. Giuliani’s worldview.
Gov. Perry has made unusual endorsements before. In 1988, when he was still a Democrat, he endorsed Al Gore for president. According to the Houston Chronicle, he even served as Mr. Gore’s Texas presidential campaign chairman. It is true that other prominent conservatives were once Democrats, and that Mr. Perry claims he has seen the error of his Democratic ways. Obviously he has not seen all his errors.
Completely Useless on Immigration Issues?
Has Gov. Perry done anything worthwhile on immigration? According to the AP, he talks of sending small teams of Texas Rangers to the border to halt drug trafficking, but the AP also notes that there are only 144 Texas Rangers in the whole state. And as Gov. Perry himself notes, there are 1,200 miles of border between Texas and Mexico that he’s happy to keep fenceless and unsecured.
Also according to AP, Gov. Perry got $2 million in federal grants that were supposed to go to border sheriffs so they could place 200 cameras along the border. Somehow, few were ever built, and the ones that were built didn’t work.
This year, Gov. Rick Perry made a half-hearted attempt to pass a bill that would prevent Texas cities from giving “sanctuary” to illegal aliens. The bill failed, but Gov. Perry will probably tout this on the campaign trail whenever anyone doubts his immigration credentials.
To his credit, he did get a Voter ID bill passed, but that is about it for Gov. Perry.
According to data from the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigrants cost Texas more than $4.7 billion every year for education, medical care, and jail costs. Even if the estimated tax contributions of illegal aliens who are working (many of them aren’t) are subtracted, net outlays still amount to more than $3.7 billion per year. This means illegal immigrants drain every Texas household of about $725 a year. On top of that, illegal immigrants get free treatment for drug addiction and mental illness. If they ever get amnesty, the costs will soar because they will become eligible for yet more handouts.
Big Texas Financial Donors Want Open Borders
What accounts for all this “compassion” for illegal aliens? Much of it could be due to the big donors to the Texas Republican Party, many of whom rely on cheap, er, “undocumented” labor. According to the AP, the Texas Association of Business (TAB), which is one of Gov. Perry’s strong backers, adamantly opposes immigration control. “The economy would suffer without undocumented workers,” says TAB president Bill Hammad. “We need them.”
Vdare.com points out two other big financial backers of the Texas Republican Party, Bob Perry (no relation to Rick Perry) of homebuilding company Perry Homes, and grocery chain owner Charles Butt. Both helped kill the bill that would end sanctuary cities in Texas. Bob Perry was Rick Perry’s biggest donor in 2010. When you include Big Agribusiness, there are plenty of wealthy donors who want their steady supply of cheap, illegal labor, and could care less about the costs to the social fabric and to the taxpayer.
AR readers oppose illegal immigration, not just because it’s illegal, but because of the long-term demographic threat it poses to this nation. Ninety percent of both legal and illegal immigrants come from the Third World, and this will eventually make whites and their descendants a hated minority in their own country.
A mostly Third-World population will turn us into a Third-World country, but such an elementary insight is beyond the grasp of Rick Perry. He hisses that people like former Rep. Tom Tancredo are “racist” for supporting immigration control.
Most Republican presidential contenders will probably be too cowardly to attack Gov. Perry directly on immigration, or if they do, they will not press him for fear of being called “racist.” So it will be up to us to get the word out to friends and family, and to link up with organizations that don’t want an open-borders fanatic as the Republican nominee.
Gov. Perry’s record on immigration should keep him from getting any Republican votes. Rep. Bachmann and even Gov. Romney are better, so immigration reform activists need to make stopping Gov. Perry their number-one priority. If they succeed, it will be a strong message to other Republicans that it’s not enough to tout the conservative line on social and economic issues alone. Nationalist questions are important, too.
Right now, we don’t even get lip service on national issues. In the past, Republican voters have given the nomination to candidates who were bad on immigration, such as George W. Bush and John McCain, and this is one of the reasons nationalist interests are not taken seriously within the party. This needs to change, and it would send a sharp message if Rick Perry were to be stopped.
Mr. Halstead is an attorney in Washington, D.C.