Rick Perry, Debates and Immigration
By Russell D. Longcore
In Thursday night’s political theater presentation, aka “debate,” Texas Governor Rick Perry got buttonholed by Senator Rick Santorum about the Texas law that allows children of illegal immigrants to attend Texas colleges for the in-state tuition fees. He made a somewhat impassioned defense of it, and said that opponents have “no heart.”
The Governor was handed an opportunity to hammer his opponents, and it appears that he was entirely unaware that the hammer was at his disposal.
More is the pity.
Here is what the Guvna could have said in a stern, lecturing voice that would have set the rest of the field…and the audience…back on their heels:
“Texas is a state. Texas is not America, and it is not Washington. Under that old tattered, ignored Constitution, states could do pretty much what they damn well pleased. It was the Washington government, the creation of the states, that had all the restrictions. The legislation to provide college tuition aid to the children of illegal immigrants that live in Texas was passed by the Texas legislature, men and women duly elected by the people of Texas, and I signed it into law in 2001. If the sovereign citizens of Texas did not want this legislation to pass, their elected representatives would not have passed it. If Texans also wanted to buy those students an Ipod, a Slushie and a red balloon, they could do it. You know why? BECAUSE TEXAS IS A STATE. We Texans are paying for that tuition subsidy out of our own pockets. About 1 percent of college students at Texas’ public schools are illegal immigrants who qualify for in-state tuition under the law I signed.”
“And to the charge by former Governor Romney that we are creating a “magnet” for illegals and not offering such a discount to out-of-state students, I say this: MIND YOUR OWN DAMNED BUSINESS, GOVERNOR. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion about this issue, but the only opinions I care about regarding this issue are the opinions of the voters in Texas.”
“And to you in the audience who booed me about this issue, I say this: Get a copy of the US Constitution and read it. The states are made up of what Jefferson called WE THE PEOPLE in the Preamble to the Constitution. It is the People who hold ultimate authority in America, not Washington. The states were meant to be the greatest laboratories of liberty ever devised by human minds. If you and your fellow state citizens decide to build a bridge of steel or of Lego blocks, and you pay for it, it’s nobody’s business but YOURS unless you ask some other state to pay for it. So rather than showing your ignorance of civics with your booing, shut up and start reading.”
Rick’s poll numbers would have jumped by 20%. But maybe that's a side of Rick Perry that doesn't exist at all. Perhaps in his quest to have America love him, he's cashed in his loyalty to his state and to Federalism. Maybe he never had either.
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© Copyright 2011, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.