One thing you can say about Rick Perry is that he sticks to his guns. If one of his policy proposals turns out to be dumb, by golly, he will double down on dumb.
For example, in his current re-run for the GOP presidential nomination, the “Oops” governor has repositioned himself as an expert on border security. As such, he milked a lot of political PR out of this summer’s surge of migrant children crossing our southern border illegally. Never mind that they were desperate to escape the abject poverty, rapes, murders and gang culture that confronted them every day in their Central American homelands; Perry used their plight as a chance to foment fear and pose as a superhero “seal the border” candidate.
Perry was on Fox News howling for federal troops, declaring that, “This is a natural disaster,” and putting himself in front of the tea party fear brigade that was screeching about the Ebola virus and the other pandemic diseases these wretched urchins might bring in.
But, darn it, the surge of young migrants was coming to an end – and so was Perry’s dumb rationale for slamming and locking our nation’s southwest door. No problem for Rick, though – he simply reached for dumber. Instead of children, his latest bugaboo is – believe it or not – Islamic terrorists.
In August, Perry warned that murderous militants from the ISIS “could be” penetrating into the U.S. from Mexico. Could be? Well, he conceded, there’s “no clear evidence” of it – but BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID! The “expert” said that people “from countries with terrorist ties” are crossing into our country. Really? Yes, he said, citing “three individuals from Ukraine” who were caught. Uh, Rick ... Ukraine is not a country “with terrorist ties.”
Never mind the facts; he went on to scold Obama for failure to put more border agents in place and using unmanned drones to bolster security there. Apparently no one told the newly minted border expert that Obama proposed those same measures last year, but Perry’s fellow Republicans killed the bill.
Perry is scary. And what’s worse, he thinks he is presidential material. But he is not the only bonehead on the loose, regurgitating their own paranoia and propaganda to advance their doleful agenda of fear.
Take Duncan Hunter – please! This self-promoting bozo of a Congress critter constantly goes off louder than a car alarm on the fritz, honking and squealing about some bugaboo he’s dreamed up. In a recent Fox News episode, the far-right California congressman was in full-panic mode, wailing that Islamic State terrorists were entering our country from Mexico. “ISIS is coming across the Southern border,” he panted. “I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,” he breathlessly asserted, adding sternly that while the 10 got caught, “you know there’s going to be dozens more that did not get caught.”
Really? How does he know that? Mr. Fearmonger won’t say, refusing to reveal his “sources.” Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security calls his claim of an ISIS intrusion from Mexico “Categorically false ... not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground.”
Of course, facts are not a shield against right-wing delusions, and Hunter is not about to believe anything said by Homeland officials working in the administration of the man he considers Satan incarnate, Barack Obama. But – oopsy-daisy – the Republican-led Department of Public Safety in Texas also looked into his foam-at-the-mouth warnings, reporting in an email to state legislators that “DPS does not have any information to confirm (Hunter’s) specific statements.”
It’s embarrassing to learn that boneheads like this are actually taking up space in the United States Congress. No wonder they never get anything done. Duncan shouldn’t be in Congress – he ought to be sitting in a dunking booth at a state fair. Next, the Perry-Duncan team will warn us that Ebola-infected Islamic terrorists are sneaking across the border carrying weapons of mass destruction!
Jim Hightower is national radio commentator, columnist and author.