Rick Perry on immigration

Been reading a lot about Rick Perry’s immigration “gaffe.”  I think Yglesias gets it pretty much right:

What I think they’re missing is exactly what Perry said, namely that people who disagree with him about this are heartless.

As it happens, I agree that the conservative view on this is kind of heartless. Still, it was a crazy thing for him to say.

To win an election of any kind, you need the votes of people who disagree with you about some stuff. Sometimes it’s going to be the case that most voters disagree with you on something in particular. When that happens, what you want to do is suggest that your disagreement with the majority is about something boring and technical and that on fundamental issues of values you’re all on the same page. What Perry did was the exact reverse of that. He took an issue that’s simply not that important in the scheme of things and elevated it to a deep moral issue about compassion. I think Perry thought he was saying thatMitt Romney is heartless, but what he actually said is that most American conservatives are heartless…

Yep.  It’s one thing to simply disagree on a particular issue with some of your ostensible supporters.  It is another thing entirely to insult them in precisely the way their political opponents insult them on the issue.  (Of course, I think conservatives take special umbrage at characterizations like this because they hit so close to home).  This really is amazingly tone-deaf.  I still think the nomination is Perry’s to lose, but he’s sure as hell not doing himself any favors.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Rick Perry on immigration

  1. Surprisingly we agree on this.
    John Wilder

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