Rick Perry—Still All Hat, No Cattle On America’s Immigration Disaster

Rick Perry is trying to climb out of his coffin. Less than three years after the Texas governor’s humiliating fall from grassroots GOP favorite to late night TV punchline, two new polls show he is again competitive among Republican presidential candidates [Rick Perry. So hot right now.By Aaron Blake, Washington Post, July 18, 2014]. Incredibly, Perry using Americans’ disgust at Barack Obama’s border dissolution to further his ambitions. It’s a scam.

Perry is sure acting like a candidate—he’s been conducting border tours with immigration squish Sean Hannity and posing with the talk show host in paramilitary garb alongside a machine gun.

[Rick Perry takes Sean Hannity on border tour, by Kendall Breitman, Politico, July 11, 2014]. Perry also grabbed headlines by slamming Obama for showing up at Texas fundraisers while refusing to visit the border. Perry volunteered to show the President around, quipping that if he “is really serious about securing that border, we can show him how to do that.” [Rick Perry to Obama: Come to border, Politico, by Kendall Breitman, July 2, 2014]

Good red meat for Red State voters. The panelists on the McLaughlin Group last weekend were near-unanimous in their praise of Rick Perry’s political skill during the crisis. Washington Times editor Guy Taylor said: “This is affecting Rick Perry more than it is Barack Obama – positively.” Eleanor Clift said: “Rick Perry outmaneuvered President Obama.” Mort Zuckerman added that Perry looked “presidential” in how he addressed the situation. Even Pat Buchanan noted: “I think Rick Perry is holding his own. He’s winning.” [McLaughlin Group: Rick Perry's Handling of Border Crisis Bolsters 2016 Chances, by Jeff Poor , Breitbart, July 13, 2014]

And praise of Perry was not limited to one Sunday talk show. The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers noted that Perry “has turned the flood of children crossing the border to escape circumstances in Central America into an opportunity to repair his national reputation.” [Perry capitalizing politically on border crisis, July 14, 2014] Bill O’Reilly, now opportunistically squishy on immigration, said that Perry is emerging as a top GOP contender for 2016 and that “the man taking the most advantage of the situation is Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has now become Mr. Obama’s primary adversary.” [O'Reilly: 3 GOP Presidential Candidates Emerging From Immigration Crisis, Fox News, July 10, 2014]

Perry even managed to largely escape mockery when he accidently coined a Bushism in an interview with Brit Hume—calling for Americans to “humanitarily take care of” illegals. [Brit Hume to Perry: If National Guard Can’t Arrest Immigrants, Then What’s the Point? Real Clear Politics, July 13, 2014]

But despite these successes, as Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Reportnoted, Perry’s current actions do not “necessarily mean that any past mistakes have been erased… once the campaign is fully engaged, his opponents… will start raising questions as to whether he’s up for the job.”

“Questions” is putting it mildly. Perry has a horrific record on immigration and border security and the fact that few within the Conservative Establishment are calling out his hypocrisy is shameful. Immigration patriots—Americans—can’t afford to be fooled again.

As I noted before Perry announced his 2012 campaign, he has had a long and consistent record of opposing border security, supporting Amnesty, and giving privileges to illegal aliens. These statements actions are undeniably partially complicit the current crisis.

Perry’s defense of granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens was particularly obnoxious. He claimed: “If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought their through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.” Of course, this allowed Romney to pivot to the right with the response“I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means you have a heart and a brain.”

  • After Romney’s defeat, Perry joined those who proposed Amnesty as an instant cure for Republican ills.

Perry created the usual false choice between blanket Amnesty and massive deportations, and sanctimoniously pronounced:

My hope is both extremes of the debate get left outside. Those that say, well let’s go round up those citizens and deport them, or those that say, well, let’s round them all up and make them citizens and give them amnesty. Both of those are the extremes. Somewhere in the middle is where we’re going to end up.

[Texas Gov. Rick Perry calls for thoughtful approach to immigration reform, by Gromer Jeffers, Dallas Morning News, April 10, 2013]

Needless to say, that “middle” is Amnesty without calling it Amnesty. In Perry’s words: “We have to bring them out of the shadow of illegality by identifying them and what have you.” He added, ludicrously: “And I’m sure that there are wise people in Washington, D.C. that can come up with a way to do that and do it in a way that does not impact the ability for people who have been in line for a long time to become citizens of the United States to not be bumped.” [Rick Perry Is A Man To Watch On Immigration. Seriously, by Benjy Sarlin, Talking Points Memo, April 4, 2013]

Perry did eventually oppose the Gang of 8 Amnesty/Immigration Surge, but only because of its lack of border security measures. And for all his recent chest pounding, he has made no concrete proposals on what to do with the invading illegals. Even his border security talk is limited to sending a few National Guard troops—who he acknowledged to Brit Hume (above) cannot even detain the illegals.

Perry is not without his critics in Washington. He picked a fight with Rand Paul recently, attacking the Senator’s “isolationist” foreign policy in the Washington Post. [Isolationist policies make the threat of terrorism even greater, Rick Perry, July 18, 2014]

Paul initially responded through his spokesman that “60,000 children just invaded Texas, and their Governor has time to write an op-ed in a Washington newspaper mischaracterizing Senator Paul’s foreign policy” [Rick Perry rips Rand Paul on foreign policy, by Jonathan Topaz, Politico, July 12, 2014. Emphasis added.]. Not surprisingly, however, when Paul gave a formal response in the form of an Op-Ed, he removed the “I” word, writing “with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Governor Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy.” [Rick Perry is Dead Wrong, Politico, July 14, 2014]

For immigration patriots, Paul and Perry are birds of a feather rather than political enemies. Both specialize in tough rhetoric on the issue, only to back down later. But while Paul has long since revealed his true colors on immigration, Perry is now trying to rebrand himself as a gun-toting Texas lawman ready to enforce the laws that Washington won’t.

However, Perry can only work this deception on the ignorant. Even a brief examination of his record shows Perry is not just a wimp on the issue—he’s on the side of the invaders.

When it comes to being the standard bearer for immigration patriots in the 2016 GOP primaries, Perry is just not up to the job.

As Texans say – all hat, no cattle.

Washington Watcher  [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway