Friday, April 30, 2010

Rick Perry's not bad, pretty good week

Shoots a coyote, the TeaBaggers scream with glee. Throws a sop to the Tejanos, they all scream in agony.

Arizona's tough new illegal immigration enforcement law would not be right for Texas, Gov. Rick Perry said on Thursday, upholding the state's long-held tradition of rejecting harsh anti-immigrant policies. ...

“I fully recognize and support a state's right and obligation to protect its citizens, but I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas,” Perry said in a written statement.

“For example, some aspects of the law turn law enforcement officers into immigration officials by requiring them to determine immigration status during any lawful contact with a suspected alien, taking them away from their existing law enforcement duties, which are critical to keeping citizens safe.”

If the comments at ever mean anything in the grand scheme -- certainly a debatable proposition -- then Rick Perry has just lost the election.

Though Texas is ruled by conservative Republicans, top GOP leaders from former Texas Gov. George W. Bush to Perry have rejected harsh and punitive immigration policies.

Both Leo Berman and Debbie Riddle (watch the video here and note that almost a third of the Texas House is Latino, thus any bill like this faces far more difficult odds) plan to introduce Arizona-like legislation when the Texas Lege next convenes in January 2011. The governor is signaling a more moderate direction ... which riles the TeaBaggers to no end.

“We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals,” Bush said in his 2007 State of the Union address. “We need to resolve the status of the immigrants that are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty.”

Perry took heat during this year's Republican primary for backing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, saying in a debate that the students are on a path to citizenship.

“Texas has a rich history with Mexico, our largest trading partner, and we share more than 1,200 miles of border, more than any other state,” Perry said Thursday. “As the debate on immigration reform intensifies, the focus must remain on border security and the federal government's failure to adequately protect our borders.

“Securing our border is a federal responsibility, but it is a Texas problem, and it must be addressed before comprehensive immigration reform is discussed.”

This stance is truly much more about homebuilder Bob Perry's campaign contributions to the governor than anything else. Perry Homes needs a large supply of cheap workers to keep building those crappy suburban tract houses, no matter what he says publicly (note that linked op-ed calling for immigration reform by Dallas business leaders is almost four years old).

Let's begin and end with this: no matter how much they squall, the TeaBaggers will never desert Rick Perry, even if there were a reasonable (by their standards, not mine) Libertarian option on the ballot. And that's why this is such an effective strategy by the governor: he undercuts a much-needed base of support Bill White must have to defeat him, at no actual political risk to himself.

Governor MoFo has had a good week playing his futures options. Meanwhile, has anybody seen a response from the White campaign yet? Me neither. Update: Stace has and blogged his response, with which I completely agree. More updates: I simply missed the White campaign's responses, which the Texas Tribune noted here and here.

Kuffner has more of the angles regarding the coyote affair. And Rachel was deliciously mean in her aggre-posting.

Last update: This is a good one ...

"I go over to Memorial Park and I have seen coyotes," the Democratic nominee for governor said during a campaign stop in Grand Prairie. "As soon as they see me, they run away."

Perry, of course, had a different experience. In February a coyote made the mistake of eyeballing Perry and his dog. The governor sent him to coyote heaven. So should Perry have been afraid of a scrawny little coyote?

"To me, I don't tend to be afraid of coyotes," White said.

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