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.