The Filth and the Fury

October 26, 2010

It was only a matter of time before the contentious issue of border security made its way into the public debate between two contenders for the governorship of one of this nation’s largest border states. And as The Dallas Morning News reports, it’s gotten rather ugly between Governor Rick Perry and Houston mayor Bill White. Now, when asserting that your opponent’s negligence in office led indirectly to another person’s death-as the ad in question implies-the burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of the accuser, which in this case is Governor Perry. What has to be taken into consideration, of course, is whether Houston-at the time of Mr. White’s mayoralty-was indeed a “sanctuary city,” a designation that has indeed led to the deaths of innocent Americans in other cities, such as San Francisco.

On this matter, the evidence is, at best, mixed. While Houston was publicly chided for its sanctuary city policy by one of the members of the September 11th Commission, this chastisement occurred during the first few months of Mayor White’s administration, which presumably means that the policy had been in place well before he was sworn into office. That being said, White didn’t exactly crown himself with valor on this issue while in office. After first embracing the most effective immigration enforcement tool used by local authorities, i.e. 287 (g), he quickly backed off, as this article in the Houston Chronicle explains. Plus, during his gubernatorial campaign, he’s issued all of the standard platitudes of status quo politicians, including a pro forma denunciation of SB 1070.

Then again, so has Governor Perry, which makes his hysterical attacks on Mayor White’s record-which, as I’ve pointed out, is far from exemplary-all the more hypocritical. In fact, Rick Perry’s chief accomplishment with regard to border security and immigration matters as governor of the state has been to demagogue the issue at every opportunity, as pointed out in this clever Bill White ad-while doing virtually nothing to ensure that the flow of illegal aliens into Texas decreases. That is because Rick Perry is, in every sense of the phrase, a George Bush Republican. This edifying post at 24Ahead from several years ago gives us some clues as to how Perry gets away with his immigration double speak.

Unfortunately, his opponent-as I’ve outlined in the post above-isn’t all that much better. So what should Texas voters concerned about the horrific violence spilling over their border do when confronted with this unpalatable choice between the evil of two lessers? I don’t have any good recommendations, other than to maintain your vigilance on this issue, and hold politicians-of both parties-to account for their abysmal leadership on immigration and border security matters. Perhaps next time Texans of all political stripes will have a real choice.

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