In his most recent disastrous debate performance, Texas Gov. Rick Perry did say one thing that made sense. And of course, that one statement proved to be his most disastrous of the evening.
The topic was a Texas law signed by Perry that allows illegal immigrants brought to Texas as children by their parents to pay in-state tuition rates in Texas colleges and universities.
“If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said. “We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”
As a rule, you don’t win the Republican presidential nomination by accusing Republican voters of being heartless. In a new, videotaped interview with Newsmax — an outlet I don’t usually cite for accuracy reasons — Perry tried to soft-pedal if not back-paddle on that statement.
“I probably chose a poor word to explain that,” he said. “For people who don’t want their state to be giving tuition to illegal aliens, illegal immigrants in this country, that’s their call and I respect that. I was probably a bit overpassionate by using that word and it was inappropriate. But here’s what I do believe, that it is a state’s sovereign right to decide that issue for themselves.
“In Texas in 2001 we had 181 – 181 members of the Legislature — only four voted against this piece of legislation, because it wasn’t about immigration, it was about education. The bigger issue is that the federal government has failed in its constitutional duty to protect the borders.”
In politics, it can be dangerous to be right about the wrong things.