Rick Perry's Immigration Problem vs. Mitt Romney's Healthcare Problem

I don’t speak for all conservatives, but most every single conservative I know will gladly settle for Mitt Romney and support him over Barack Obama. Even the conservatives I know who right now are saying they could never support Mitt Romney will . . . when push comes to shove . . . support Mitt Romney.


The issue is that most conservatives, myself included, don’t want to settle for Mitt Romney. I don’t have a problem with him personally. He, his wife, and family are super nice people. But I think he is just wrong for this election and his positioning this year as a centrist when he positioned himself four years ago as a conservative is disturbing.

But at the top of the race we are confronted with two men who have two problems. Both are 10th Amendment issues and both are states right issues. And I think whether we like it or not, we should, as conservatives who believe the states should be engines of experiment, respect their right to solve problems in their states as they and their legislatures see fit.

You and I may not like Romneycare, but it was Mitt Romney and Massachusetts’ decision.

You and I may not like Texas giving illegal aliens in-state tuition rates, but it was Rick Perry and Texas’ decision.

Digging deeper though, there is a real and serious problem that distinguishes the two issues and gives me greater concern about Romneycare. And I’m afraid with so much pile on over the Texas immigration decision, it has distracted us from a core issue of Romneycare about which we should be more focused.

Texas did what Texas did because Washington failed to do anything. The difference between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry is that Perry never said that what Texas did on immigration is the right fit for every state.

Given Texas’ history and long standing ties to Mexico (a lot of its now major cities were founded back when Texas was part of Mexico and it continues to maintain historic ties to Mexico) and the failure of the federal government to deal with illegal immigration, Texas did what was right for Texas in a near unanimous vote of the legislature (only 4 no votes out of 181 members in the Texas legislature). Neither the administrations of Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush nor, for that matter, Barack Obama would let Texas deport all these people, so Texas decided that the kids should at least be given an education and made contributing members of society instead of sucking up tax dollars in jail or on government assistance for which federal law would not have allowed Texas to deny them.


At the same time, Perry supported Arizona’s right to handle the problem as Arizona saw fit. There’s never been a claim that the Texas solution is a one size fits all solution that Washington should impose.

Mitt Romney, however, came up with a healthcare plan that may be the only political position in modern American history on which he hasn’t stood on both sides, continues to defend it despite Massachusetts now being weighed down by a costly, dysfunctional healthcare system bankrupting the state, and had the audacity to say it was a model for the nation until after Obamacare passed. Then he got rid of that claim from his book.

And that is a key part. Rick Perry never said the Texas way should be the American way and has a history of supporting other states’ rights to deal with immigration in the way those states want while Mitt Romney wrote in his book that the Massachusetts plan could be a model for the nation. Then, when the paperback version came out after Obamacare came into being modeled on Romneycare, Mitt Romhey deleted those lines from the paperback version of his book.

You may not like Rick Perry’s immigration position, but he’s never said, nor would he ever say that it should be national policy. It just happened to be the right fix for Texas. You may not like Mitt Romney’s healthcare position, but he put it in his book that it was a model for the nation and it just so happens to be the model Barack Obama used.

That is a significant and profound difference in my mind and one that is overshadowed by the present Perry pile on in the debates.


Rick Perry should apologize for saying those of us who disagree don’t have a heart. I hope he will. That was baseless demagoguery against his own base of supporters. Mitt Romney has made it clear he will not apologize for what factually was the foundation of Obamacare.


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