Midnight cowboy

Rick Perry is damn lucky the Republican primary for governor ended before the law in Arizona passed. He’s trying to keep the immigration issue on the DL since he knows that rounding up Latinos won’t be popular in a general election but that’s it’s also what his based wants him to do. Because the base has no obvious way of screwing up right now, this will probably fly, despite threats like this:

State Rep. Leo Berman told Capitol Inside that Perry had pledged to him personally last year to take a tougher stand on illegal immigration in a move that prompted the Tyler Republican to cancel a race for governor that he’d been planning and to endorse the incumbent instead.

Berman, an 11-year House veteran who decided to seek another term after dropping his plans to run statewide, said Perry had vowed before the legislator pitched his support to him to issue an executive order instructing all state agency heads to clear the rolls of all immigrants who were in the country illegally. Berman said that Perry had yet to live up to that specific promise while suggesting that the governor had gone back on his word in general by coming out against legislation to crack down on illegal immigration into the state.

“That really disappoints me because he made a pledge to me,” Berman said in a telephone interview from Switzerland where he’s vacationing when told about the governor’s opposition to legislation in Texas that would mirror the new Arizona law. “It’s hard for me to imagine that the governor would say something like that.”

Always remember, Karl Rove wanted to push a pretty reasonable immigration plan through Congress in Bush’s second term, because he (like any smart Texas Republican) knows which side of the issue you want to be on in a general election.

One side note on the immigration issue: despite what Ezra Klein says, it is not necessarily a done deal that the 2010 elections will be about immigration. Just because most voters have heard about the Arizona law and a slight majority favors it doesn’t mean that it will be the issue that most motivates voters, especially not supporters of the Arizona law. In the 2008 Republican primary, Tancredo, Giuliani, and Romney spent a huge amount time immigrant-bashing, then lost to the co-author of a liberal immigration reform bill. And that was in a Republican primary.

43 replies
  1. 1

    DougJ,

    Given the rumors that have surrounded my Governor Goodhair for years, your title is pure genius.

  2. 2
    Elisabeth says:

    Perry may be many things but it appears stupid isn’t one of them ~ at least in this case.

  3. 3
    Cat Lady says:

    The 2008 Republican primary was back in the sepia toned days before the economy crashed, and before the secret Muslim Kenyan usurper turned the booming Bush economy into the fascist sockulist health care hell it is now. Immigration talk then was a dog whistle to the nascent teatards, and now that all the masks have slipped and the Confederate Republican party has revealed their inner Wall Street bought and paid for Klansman, this issue is going to be more important than any national politician, especially Perry, now wants to admit. It will take courage from the Dems (OH NOES) to do the right thing, and if the jobs situation doesn’t improve, scapegoats will be sacrificed, and the Repubs will be happy to do the scapegoating.

    Shorter: it’s gonna get ugly.

  4. 4
    El Cid says:

    See, if Texas secedes, they’ll need a cheap labor force to help build all the fences to keep Texans in.

  5. 5
    BrklynLibrul says:

    What Cat Lady said. Love ya, DougJ, but I don’t think you’re reading the tea leaves correctly.

  6. 6
    eric says:

    I am stunned that everyone thinks the immigration issue will favor the dems in a BASE election. How will it help Dems in the midwest, where there is no large Hispanic contingent to rally? it matters in florida. it might matter in nevada. it wont matter in arizona, where there is no credible dem running. and in california, i do not see it mattering either.

    So, in the midwest where the fear of the “darker amoung us” can be used with near impunity to rally the base against “he who is darker than most of us” (see PA and Ohio and MINN and ILL (for the most part)), it likely helps the GOP in november.

    remember, we are talking about democrats here.

    eric

  7. 7
    DougJ says:

    @Cat Lady:

    It will get ugly all right, but this is probably something between a draw and a slight Democratic advantage this fall.

  8. 8
    Cat Lady says:

    @DougJ:

    This issue is so much about everyone’s fee-fees. No jobs = anger at other = scapegoating. Economic security allows one to consider space for others. I think this issue cuts against the Dems at this time. I really, really want to be completely and totally wrong. Sorry.

  9. 9
    Martin says:

    You and John are on different tracks today. You say that Perry should be thrilled that he doesn’t need to engage in the ‘show your papers’ debate, and John is wondering why the Dems are intentionally reintroducing the ‘show your papers’ debate, thinking they’re tone deaf.

    Why don’t you guys go get a coffee and talk this one out.

  10. 10
    Martin says:

    @eric: The debate doesn’t help them, but it doesn’t really hurt them either. The Dems aren’t taking a position on this so far other than ‘it’s wrong to discriminate’.

    What they’d like to do is introduce comprehensive reform, which the overwhelming majority of the public (in every state) wants. Invariable the Dems want to crack down on illegal immigration but not at the expense of legal immigration of civil rights. That message will play especially well in places where immigration isn’t a big issue.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    @Martin:

    John thinks Democrats are stupid to put in “show us your papers” lej and I think Rick Perry is smart to avoid “show us your papers” lej.

    Doesn’t that put us on the same track?

  12. 12
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Cat Lady: Except that we’re largely talking about immigrants who are already here. If we can make the debate “13 million immigrants exist, and they aren’t paying taxes” instead of “Millions of immigrants are spilling across the border to take your jobs”, the Democrats can make headway by tackling immigration as a budgetary consideration.

    Baby Boomers will listen if you can convince them that immigrants will pay their social security checks. Businesses will listen if you can convince them that immigrants will provide cheap labor and reliable customers. White collar workers will listen if you assure them that the immigrants are already here and their jobs aren’t threatened.

    Bring up the specter of job exportation. Roll out some prohibitions against businesses that send all the jobs to China and India. Make that a part of the immigration package.

    The Democrats can get out ahead on this and make it a very painful bill for Republicans while maintaining populist energy. It will require a certain degree of intelligence and aggression that’s been spotty.

  13. 13
    Martin says:

    @DougJ: Not if the Dems force the GOP to debate the issue nationally before November. Liberals haven’t punished the Dems when they’ve floated this idea in that past, and since it’ll get killed, they won’t lose in the long term. But it’s a debate the GOP especially does not want to have and wedges the nativists who might be willing to go along to keep the immigrants out against the militia types that think the government is already spying on them.

  14. 14
    eric says:

    @Martin: you mean the same way “death panels” played? I think you are taking a sensible position, but that is not where this is going.

    “The leaky borders that Obama has weakened since taking office has allowed illegals to come in and take jobs from Americans while the economy is really hurting people right now. When the illegals are not taking jobs from citizens, they are engaged in violent illegal enterprises. To make matters worse, the illegals have caused health care costs to spiral out of control since emergency rooms have to treat them. These are people that have hurt America and Americans. We need to stop illegal immigration now. What the democrats want to do is create democrat voters as a cynical and political play for power. They do nothing to stop illegals, just to make the current ones legal.”

    It wont be hard to demagogue this one.

  15. 15
    Brachiator says:

    One side note on the immigration issue: despite what Ezra Klein says, it is not necessarily a done deal that the 2010 elections will be about immigration.

    What the Republicans have found, in the recent legislation relating to immigration and abortion, is a way to use a state’s rights wedge against the Democrats. This is fitting in quite nicely with the tea bagger/fringe wingnut notion that the Obama presidency is illegitimate.

    During the Bush Administration, cries that the feds weren’t doing enough about immigration were not as fierce as recent overblown claims. Increasingly, you will see right wing pundits strike the theme that the states must act independently of the federal government because the Democrat soc i alist government simply cannot be trusted to execute the will of the people about anything. This will then allow the GOP congress critters to rationalize their obstructionist tactics.

    Even when the Republicans privately agree with the Democrats, they will still play to the tea bagger Galt fantasy for the political PR.

  16. 16
    DougJ says:

    @Martin:

    That’s an interesting point.

    I still say Perry is smart to stay away from the immigration issue, though.

  17. 17
    PanAmerican says:

    There are now 1,605,844 voting age naturalized citizens and U.S. born children of immigrants in Illinois, 19% of the entire citizen voting age population.

  18. 18
    Martin says:

    @Zifnab25: The really big hurdle for the Dems is that amnesty is only going to be popular if unemployment drops significantly. Dems can address that in a pragmatic way by phasing in amnesty and requiring various things be done that will drag out the process, but the jobs MUST show up for this to work.

    The timing isn’t great for them. By comparison, the timing is awesome for energy. My guess is they’re mostly just floating trial balloons on immigration to force the GOP to take sides before November, but nothing really will come of it except possibly a clearer national opinion on Arizona.

  19. 19
    t jasper parnell says:

    @DougJ: Why on earth would it be necessary to be on the same track. Might it not be possible that on this issue, as on nearly any other one, debate is better than echo? Or did I miss the melding of DougJ and JC into one Borg like entity, which looks — I assume — likie Tunch.

  20. 20
    Brandon says:

    Vacationing in Switzerland? What would Cokie Roberts say? But I guess it’s nit “foreign”, like Hawaii. You’d think that in the middle of a recession, red meat politicians like this would spend their vacation dollars in dollars. I guess this is one of those thing Republicans can get away with, but Dems cannot.

    And why am I the first to snark on this? Serious, the guy is complaining about immigration while vacationing in Old Yurrup with the ultimate cheese eating surrender monkies (Raclette is yummy) that are so godless, they wouldn’t even take a stand against tyranny in their own back yard and instead decided to finance it (with Prescott Bush). My bet us that he is probably visiting all of the money he stole.

  21. 21
    joe from Lowell says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to accept the initial snap polls about the public’s reaction to the Arizona bill. They were taken just as the debate was beginning, and are phrased as “From what you know about…”

    Anti-immigrant activists used to waive around poll numbers about immigration in 2005 and 2006, and were all keyed up about their impending electoral victory in the mid-term elections. As it turned out, they had badly misread the public, and imagined a great deal more support, and a great deal less opposition, than actually existed.

    The wingnuts are charging headlong into another Terry Schiavo situation – which, I will remind everyone, also polled well for them in the early days.

  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    @Zifnab25:

    Except that we’re largely talking about immigrants who are already here. If we can make the debate “13 million immigrants exist, and they aren’t paying taxes” instead of “Millions of immigrants are spilling across the border to take your jobs”, the Democrats can make headway by tackling immigration as a budgetary consideration.

    Appealing to the budget won’t help much. Illegal immigrants pay taxes, especially state and local sales taxes. Some even have federal and state income taxes withheld from their wages, but don’t end up getting credited for them.

    Baby Boomers will listen if you can convince them that immigrants will pay their social security checks. Businesses will listen if you can convince them that immigrants will provide cheap labor and reliable customers.

    Businesses have no problem exploiting illegal immigrants now. The system actually works in their favor. If illegal immigrant workers can get legal status, costs to employers will rise because they won’t be able to exploit these workers as easily as before. They’ll be tempted to look for a new batch of illegal immigrant workers.

    White collar workers will listen if you assure them that the immigrants are already here and their jobs aren’t threatened.

    But their jobs will be threatened. The newly legalized workers will be able to compete in an expanded job market.

    It is easier to make a moral argument for legalization than it is to make an economic argument for it.

  23. 23
    burnspbesq says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Or did I miss the melding of DougJ and JC into one Borg like entity, which looks—I assume—likie Tunch.

    Actually looks like Tunch’s feces – he ate them both, and they were melded in his digestive tract.

  24. 24
    Josie says:

    I have no clue how all this will play out nationally, but I must admit to anticipation over the vision of Perry and Berman in a knock down drag out over immigration. Berman is the original anti-illegal man. Talk about your popcorn futures.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Ew.

  26. 26
    joe from Lowell says:

    @eric.

    I am stunned that everyone thinks the immigration issue will favor the dems in a BASE election.

    2006 was a base election. It was also supposed to be the election that the xenophobes dominated. How’d that work out?

    How will it help Dems in the midwest, where there is no large Hispanic contingent to rally?

    Republicans saying horrifying things about Mexicans = new enthusiasm among the Democratic base. The Republican base is already riled up, ours lacks passion. We’re going to spend the late spring and summer watching a procession of Macaca moments.

    In addition, the Republican leadership is genuinely divided over this, and support for immigration reform by some of them will cool off some enthusiasm among the Republican voting base.

  27. 27
    Picked A Bad Day to Quit Sniffing Glue says:

    Just saw a Drudgereport headline calling the oil spill Obama’s Katrina. Get ready for that meme.

  28. 28
    EconWatcher says:

    Does anyone really think that immigration will be the main issue in the midterms? It’s the economy, stupid.

  29. 29
    Michael says:

    OT – To me, this story is huge, and makes me want to shove a “Proud to be ‘Murkan” CD down Lee Greenwood’s throat.

    Here is a fine example of the sort of “liberty” envisioned by White Christian Confederate Conservatives.

    http://www.readthehook.com/blo.....ate-salvo/

    No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

    In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

    If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

    In other words, any data supplied will be handed to wingnut educated ideologues for interpretation, and anything which they deem could be subject to a varying interpretation will become a subject for the wingnut wurlitzer, public trashing, civil suits and probably prosecutions.

    It is really a shame that Obama isn’t the sort of radical they’ve pretended he is.

  30. 30
    Bobby Thomson says:

    AP is reporting today that immigration reform is dead until the next Congress and that the president gave it the kiss of death.

    That may be true today, but we’ll see how dead it is after tomorrow.

  31. 31
    wrb says:

    Baby Boomers will listen if you can convince them that immigrants will pay their social security checks.

    I find a lot of probably justified skepticism when this argument is made in relation to to low-skilled immigrants from Mexico. The argument that they will consume more in services than they pay in seems intuitively obvious to many.

    If we were instead talking of harvesting the world’s best and brightest, opening the doors to Ph.Ds MDs and engineers, sure. But for reasons that escape me we aren’t.

  32. 32
    Pug says:

    Some wingers thought the scapegoating of illegal aliens was going to be their silver bullet in 2008. Didn’t happen.

    This year it may work to Arizona and Texas Republicans’ adavantage to go after the ‘Messicans. In the long run it will lead to the slow, painful death of Republicans even in those states.

    Demographics are a bitch. Ask B-1 Bob Dornan.

  33. 33
    colby says:

    @eric:

    Well, the nameless Dem in AZ is already closing the gap, and I don’t know why an energized Latino population wouldn’t matter to Brown and Boxer- indeed, I’m pretty sure they’ve both benefitted from such a thing in previous elections.

    As for the midwest, it may not help Dems (Except in IL- we’ve actually got a pretty large Hispanic population, and expect Mark Kirk to be gutless enough on the issue to piss off both sides), but it probably won’t hurt, either. The “fear of the darker among us” hasn’t translated into votes in those states before. If the midwest turns against Dems (a distinct possibility!) it’s going to be because they’re all out of work.

  34. 34
    Bohammer says:

    “Fear of the darker among us” is the exact reason so many people in North Carolina switched to the Confederate Party during the 70’s and 80’s. Now, throw in 12% unemployment, voters will not be looking to the Dems to get them out of the economic hole they are in. The darker ones are being catered to, and the possible swing voters noticed. Obama cannot win NC again. No one I know trusts him, even after I point out all the Confeds lies. He has not run off the Messicans , or brought 500,000 high paying jobs. It’s no win here.

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @wrb:

    I find a lot of probably justified skepticism when this argument is made in relation to to low-skilled immigrants from Mexico. The argument that they will consume more in services than they pay in seems intuitively obvious to many.

    It’s not “intuitively obvious” because it is just flat out wrong.

    It gets extra tiresome to see people, including some liberals, who act as though they believe that all illegal immigrants are hapless, unskilled, ignorant peasants who need the loving condescension of good-hearted progressives.

    Quite a few illegal immigrants are more skilled than the average American. But their illegal status keeps them mired in low-skilled jobs. It’s much easier to get a job where you are paid under the table than it is to move up to a job where legal documents are required.

    If we were instead talking of harvesting the world’s best and brightest, opening the doors to Ph.Ds MDs and engineers, sure. But for reasons that escape me we aren’t.

    I would take an “unskilled” laborer over a hyper-educated banker any day of the week.

    And the “best and the brightest” crowd always seem to have developed historical amnesia. The United States didn’t by any means draw the world’s best. They drew the people who were looking for a fair deal and an opportunity to improve themselves and the lives of their families.

    What was true since the earliest days of this country is still true now.

    There are many illegal immigrants who come here exactly because they can’t get a break in their home countries. Or they have to navigate through a maze of bribery and corruption just to be able to push a food cart down the street.

  36. 36
    Brandon says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Democrats seem preternaturally intent on turning every glass of lemonade they get into a bag of lemons. Maybe Democrats truly are the nattering nabobs of negativity. They’re surely morons in any event.

    And I appreciate how all the “progressives” who claimed that Obama and the Dems were not ruthless enough on HCR stood up in unison to decry the political ruthlessness of moving on immigration ahead of climate change. Typical Democrats.

  37. 37
    toujoursdan says:

    BTW, evidently illegal immigrants aren’t enough. Arizona has outlawed ethnic studies and wants to fire teachers who speak with accents.

    + Wall Street Journal: Arizona Grades Teachers on Fluency
    State Pushes School Districts to Reassign Instructors With Heavy Accents or Other Shortcomings in Their English

    + Yahoo News: Arizona legislature bans ethnic-studies programs

    Teh Crazy continues…

  38. 38
    KG says:

    The teabaggers are turning on Marco fucking Rubio because he does not like the Arizona law. If the teabagger’s “immigration reform” package is “round ’em all up and drop them off at the border, and don’t allow anyone else in” the GOP is toast. Nativism doesn’t really sell in American politics (it gets a bit of traction but not much) because everyone grew up on the “a nation of immigrants” ideal.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eric:

    How will it help Dems in the midwest, where there is no large Hispanic contingent to rally?

    The city of Chicago has the second-largest Polish population in the world. Only Warsaw has more Poles.

    You may hear “Hispanic” whenever you hear discussion of immigration, but that’s not what people hear in the whole country, and people do get pretty worried that an immigration crackdown means that Cousin Stanislaw will get shipped back to Eastern Europe.

  40. 40
    sfbevster says:

    On a somewhat related topic – just heard someone say that outside money sent to candidates who oppose the immigration legislation will just result in matching amounts going to the knuckle-draggers from Arizona’s public election fund. Anybody out there know now this would play out?

  41. 41
    Brachiator says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Yahoo News: Arizona legislature bans ethnic-studies programs

    They are on a roll. Resentment politics in full play.

    Next up. They’ll ban biology classes and prohibit any discussion of evolution.

    A mind is a terrible thing to use.

  42. 42
    c u n d gulag says:


    You’re all MISSING THE POINT! This Republican called in from HIS VACATION IN SWITZERLAND! SWITZERLAND?
    Not his vacation in Fort Worth, or El Paso, or Dallas, or Houston, or even those socialist strongholds like LA, Chicago, or NY City.
    He’s vacationing, not doing research, in the ULTIMATE SOCIALIST STATE: SWITZERLAND! Why is he spending hard-earned American dollars (not that HE worked hard for them) there? What, China was too crowded? He doesn’t like MSG in his food (which they don’t serve over there, from I’ve I’ve heard)?
    WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  43. 43
    pattonbt says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I’m generally in the camp that does not think immigration reform is a winner, short term, for the Dems politically. No rational debate will be allowed to be held so that Dem positions will not be “OH MY GOD DEATH PANELS” and “They’re takin’ our jobs!!”. We do not have rational debate in the US and immigration is an issue that does not fit nicely into Dem v Rep.

    However…….

    One thing that always favors Dems in the immigration debate is to get the race baiting Rep’s to show their true colors. That is the only way Dems win. So if Rep’s can keep the dog whistle components down (which for some of them will be a herculean task I admit) they can do their usual demagogue song and dance and the Dems will pay.

    I just really do not like this idea as a “winning” political “tactic” for Dems. Now, I do think immigration reform’s time has come and needs to be done and I’d like the Dems to take a hard principled stand and do the right thing, be politically tough and push through the inevitable BS machine of the media and Reps and make some headway. I can hope. But being a cynic I am doubtful.

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