Tag Archives: 2012 primaries

Mitt takes New Hampshire; Paul, Huntsman trail

As soon as the polls closed, major outlets such as Fox News wasted no time in calling the election for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Holding 35%+ of the vote throughout the first hour of vote counting, Romney has undoubtedly taken the top spot while Ron Paul has shown well at just under 25% of the vote and Jon Huntsman holding steady around 16%.

The real race is for fourth place between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum where the two have stayed within .2% of each other for most of the evening.

Having spent no resources or time in New Hampshire, Rick Perry has spent the entire evening with less than 1% of the total granite state vote in dead last.

2012 New Hampshire republican presidential primary results and information

At 12:00am on Tuesday January 10th, the first votes were cast in Dixville Notch, NH in keeping with a tradition that’s been around since 1960.

While Iowa holds the first GOP caucus, New Hampshire holds the first winner-take-all primary of the election season.

The primary is not a closed primary, but doesn’t meet the full definition of an open primary which places it in the odd middle-ground of being a semi-closed primary. While New Hampshire does allow undeclared voters to participate in either parties primary, those affiliated with a certain party cannot vote in the other parties primary.

New Hampshire holds 12 delegates in the quest for the GOP nomination where 1,144 delegate votes will be required to win.

The New Hampshire Secretary of State is expecting as many as 250,000 votes to be cast in the Republican primary.

Results

CDN will be updating this post with up-to-the minute data from local polling, entrance polls, precinct data and finalized results.

With  100.0% of the vote counted:

  • Mitt Romney 39.3% (97,532)
  • Ron Paul 22.9% (56,848)
  • Jon Huntsman 16.9% (41,945)
  • Newt Gingrich 9.4% (23,411)
  • Rick Santorum 9.4% (23,362)
  • Rick Perry 0.7% (1,766)

For more information on other state’s primaries/caucuses go to CDN’s 2012 Election Center

Live Blog

07:00 (1-11) Stillll counting The order hasn’t changed nor has much of the share of votes. We aren’t expecting anything to change from this point on.

23:25 Santorum’s hold on 4th place slips as Gingrich puts .2% distance between them

22:02 Newt Gingrich speaks: “I’m asking each of you not to slow down.” “I believe we can create a majority that can shock the country.”

21:53 – Rick Santorum at the podium: “We are going to go on to South Carolina. We can win this race.”

21:29 – Huntsman takes the mic: “I’d say third place is a ticket to ride. Hello South Carolina!” he began “We had conversations about putting this country first”. “Everybody knows Congress needs term limits.”

21:10 –  Santorum catches up; ties Gingrich with 10% of vote. Fourth place is the race.

21:00 – Ron Paul at the podium to speak. “[Romney] certainly had a clear-cut victory, but we are nibbling at his heels.” “We remain a danger to the federal reserve system!”

20:46 – 50 votes separate Ginrich and Romney with Gingrich holding on to fourth place by a slim margin

20:26 – Romney takes the stage to speak at victory rally to crowd chanting “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt”. “Tonight, we made history” Romney began, “Today we are faced with the disappointing record of a failed president.” “The president has run out of ideas, has been running out of excuses .. and now, he has run out of time”

20:00 – Polls closed, Fox News immediately calls Romney 1st and Paul second in the race for New Hampshire’s delegates

18:45 – Exit polling is showing Romney holding on to the top spot in New Hampshire

00:07 – As no surprise, Obama took the entire Democrat primary with 3 votes. 6 votes for Republicans, 3 votes for Dems.

00:06 -Nine voters showed up for the early morning primary in the small New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch, NH. 2 registered democrats, 3 registered republicans and 4 independents voted and the results of the first poll to close give Dixville’s precinct to a tie between Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney with two votes a piece. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each received 1 vote.

Which Rick Is More Conservative?


Rick Santorum said the following in a radio interview (VIDEO):

“One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a Libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I’m aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.”

We’ve “never had a society” where low taxes, low regulation, broad personal liberty, and minimal government intrusion “succeeds as a culture”?

Let’s see how “traditional conservatives view the world”:

Barry Goldwater:

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

Walter Williams:

… liberty refers to the sovereignty of the individual.

Government is necessary, but the only rights we can delegate to government are the ones we possess.

Calvin Coolidge:

Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.

Ronald Reagan:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. (…) The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now compare this quote from Rick Perry’s book:

Our citizens are tired of big government raising their taxes and cooking up new ways to micromanage their lives, our citizens are tired of big government killing jobs with their do-gooder policies. In short the people are Fed Up!

Ask yourself this: Which candidate is most likely to leave you alone, get out of the way of business, lower your taxes and “make government as inconsequential as possible”? Which man represents “traditional conservatives” best?

This is yet another on my list of reasons to love Rick Perry.

(Photo credit Pool/Getty Images North America)

Latest national poll shows dim prospects for Ron Paul

In a national survey of 1,000 likely GOP primary voters taken yesterday, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman received the highest two “unfavorable” ratings among the remaining GOP hopefuls.

Rep. Paul had the highest unfavorable rating as 30% of respondents ranked him very unfavorable and another 29% said that he was somewhat unfavorable. A total unfavorable rating of 59%  was by far the worst of the group. Front-runners Romney and Santorum had unfavorables of only 26%.

Where things get really bleak for the Representative from Texas is when Rasmussen asked the respondents “Which Republican presidential candidate would be the weakest opponent against Barack Obama in the general election…. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich or Rick Perry?” – the results:

    •   5% Romney
    •   5% Santorum
    • 11% Perry
    • 12% Gingrich
    • 19% Huntsman
    •  36% Paul

Paul actually polled as a weaker candidate than Jon Huntsman when stood up against the current President and in an election where the mantra is “anybody but Obama” it will be difficult to get the nomination if no one believes you can beat the current resident of the White House.

First Poll after Iowa shows Santorum as serious candidate

Rasmussen Reports released the first national poll after the Iowa caucuses in which Rick Santorum managed to basically tie front-runner Mitt Romney while  on a seriously limited budget.

Mitt Romney held on to the top spot in the poll with 29% while Santorum jumped significantly to 21% of survey respondents. Newt Gingrich pulled in third with just 16% and Ron Paul rounded out the top four with only 12% . Perry and Huntsman both came in with just 4%.

Santorum could have gotten some of his lift from Michele Bachmann supporters needing a new candidate to back. Some support may also be coming from those starting to think that Perry won’t last much longer – but neither of those explain the incredible lift by themselves. Perhaps  Santorum has become the candidate for the “anyone but Romney” crowd. Among “very conservative” voters, Santorum out-polled Romney 33% to 18% and he topped Romney by 5% among those who self-identify as TEA Party members.

Romney’s strong support seems to be coming from somewhat-to-less conservative voters of all ages with incomes of over $100k.

As candidates start their attack runs on the leader, Romney, a national poll showing him failing to get much more than 1-in-4 voters into his camp is a cautionary note.

One important piece of information that came out of this poll is that almost one-third of respondents that chose Romney said they could still change their mind – the highest percentage of any candidate in the poll.

 

Can Rick Perry Still Win?

Tuesday night, Governor Rick Perry announced, after a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses, that he was returning to Texas to reevaluate his campaign. Wednesday morning, he tweeted that he was on his way to South Carolina.

The question of the moment for Perry supporters is this: Can Perry still win?

If the behavior of the Romney and Gingrich campaigns is any indication, he certainly can.

Pro-Romney PACs ran a littany of attack ads against Gingrich in Iowa, and it’s likely these ads are partially responsible for Newt’s poor performance there. Gingrich will likely retaliate in kind in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

This gives us the prospect of a mutually-assured-destruction scenario: Romney’s been successful at assailing Gingrich, and Gingrich’s ego demands he respond with an even harsher assault. Gingrich’s legendary ability to draw proverbial blood with his comments will force Romney to escalate in turn (remember, this is the same Romney who tried to physically intimidate Rick Perry [PIC], and often tells other candidates “It’s my turn now” in debates). I predict this escalation will go back-and-forth between Mitt and Newt for quite some time.

Attack ads from both camps could have two effects: 1) Souring primary voters with the negativity of both campaigns; 2) Souring voters on both of their records.

This leaves the door open for a candidate who can distance himself from the schoolyard fighting and, by comparison, ‘look Presidential’. Who could be that candidate?

I think it’s safe to say Jon Huntsman won’t be the nominee at this point. Michele Bachmann has dropped out. Rick Santorum, despite his win in Iowa, doesn’t appear to have the organization or fundraising to last beyond Iowa. And once the closed-primary states start voting, Ron Paul is finished.

By default, it would be Rick Perry.

In order to succeed, Perry needs to rework his campaign. As Erick Erickson pointed out in this post at RedState, Rick’s reboot must include removing the under-performing people in his staff who are handicapping him.

This also means Perry’s people need to be better at disseminating information to pro-Perry bloggers, who make up the backbone of his messaging. This ties in to fundraising, too: the more the Perry message is spread, the more money comes into the campaign. It’s a simple numbers game.

If Rick Perry is the candidate we believe him to be, we’ll soon see a big turnaround in his campaign.

Where Do We Stand In Iowa?

Folks, it’s time to break out the crystal ball and predict what will happen in Iowa tomorrow.

(Just kidding.)

While there’s no clear leader in Iowa, Mitt Romney might be considered such, since he has led the polls the most consistently. However, the horse-trading nature of Iowa’s process means that Romney has no guarantee of success. In addition, the politically-attuned Iowa caucusers may reconsider support for him, since Romney recently expressed support for a national VAT tax.

Then there’s Ron Paul. The nature of the Iowa caucuses gives Paul an advantage: 17-year-olds can participate, independents can register Republican the day of the caucus, and active-duty military personnel registered to vote in Iowa but stationed elsewhere can’t participate as absentees. These demographic ‘slivers’ taken together could make a big difference for Paul. On the other hand, Paul’s racist, bigoted, and generally loony newsletters may make him too toxic for good-natured midwesterners.

Rick Santorum has seen a recent surge in polling. Whether this is an aberration or a genuine swing of support to him is anyone’s guess; personally, I’ve stopped giving serious weight to polling, since the frequency with which the results change leads me to believe recent polls are unreliable.

Newt Gingrich has fallen slightly in polling, now in fourth place according to some polls behind Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum. If one is to believe the polling (see above), this would indicate that caucusgoers are growing wiser about Mr. Gingrich’s poor Second Amendment record, long history of supporting socialized medicine, admiration of big-government historical figures, and his track record of poor leadership, and have decided to favor a more stable candidate.

And then there’s Rick Perry, ostensibly in fifth place. Rick could have an excellent showing tomorrow, given the nature of the Iowa process: Iowa is a state where second choices count almost as much as first choices. Once a candidate is disqualified in the caucus process, that candidate’s supporters can re-negotiate to back another candidate. Michele Bachmann is likely to be disqualified first; and if the “Santorum surge” is an aberration, and Santorum doesn’t perform well, his supporters and Bachmann’s supporters will most likely end up backing Perry as a second choice, which could push Perry above Gingrich.

As I noted a few days ago, things are changing among Republicans in Iowa, even the generally-accepted support for ethanol subsidies.

Whatever happens tomorrow, one thing is certain: It’s going to be a nail-biter for political junkies.

(Image via Wikipedia.org)

Virginia AG does about face, won't push to change GOP ballot

photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Roanoke, Virginia’s WSLS reported on Sunday night that the state’s Attorney General was reversing course from his Saturday statement in which he pledged to work to get the other GOP candidates onto the Virginia ballot.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced Sunday night that he has reconsidered and no longer backs emergency legislation that would seek to get additional candidates on the ballot for Virginia’s March 6 Republican primary.

“I obviously feel very strongly that Virginia needs to change its ballot-access requirements for our statewide elections,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.

“However, after working through different scenarios with Republican and Democratic leaders to attempt to make changes in time for the 2012 presidential election, my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia’s burdensome system.

“A further critical factor that I must consider is that changing the rules midstream is inconsistent with respecting and preserving the rule of law — something I am particularly sensitive to as Virginia’s attorney general.”

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul had passed the stiff requirements to appear on Virginia’s primary ballot. The other five candidates have joined together in a suit initiated by Rick Perry in hopes that a legal challenge will allow them to compete for Virginia’s 49 delegate votes.

Without the backing of the Attorney General to perhaps speed the process along, any hopes to see more than two GOP candidates on Virginia’s ballot are fading fast.

Iowa GOP Losing Interest In Subsidies

The long-standing “sacred cow” of Iowa politics may not be sacred anymore.

From The Iowa Republican:

A recent survey of likely Republican caucus goers shows that support of federal subsidies for the ethanol industry has waned significantly in recent years. The poll, which was commissioned by TheIowaRepublican.com, finds that Iowa Republicans view a candidate who supports ending federal ethanol subsidies more favorably than a candidate who doesn’t.

The survey asked, “Some of the candidates have proposed to end federal subsidies for ethanol. Do you have a very positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, or very negative reaction to candidates taking this position?” Forty-seven percent responded by answering very or somewhat positive. Only 24 percent of respondents said that they had a negative reaction to a candidate who is campaigning against ethanol subsidies.

This is quite a change from previous Presidential election years.

Paul Abrams at The Huffington Post doesn’t appear to have gotten the memo:

In the circus masquerading as the Republican Iowa caucus, there has been nary a word about ethanol subsidies, a major issue for Iowans.

But, where do these budget-cutting, waste-fraud-abuse claiming, shrinking-government demanding, laissez-faire extolling candidates stand on ethanol subsidies? The subsidies have been around a long, long time.

Consider the implication of this change in Iowa: The biggest obstacle to cutting government spending has been the “public trough” effect- the notion that voters would resist cutting excessive spending immediately beneficial to themselves. This effect has been particularly strong in Iowa, where ethanol subsidies were considered so sacred that every Presidential candidate had to publicly favor them or throw away any chance of success in that state.

We all know the left counts on this lack of self-deprivation as a safeguard against serious budget cuts. If Abrams’ comments are any indication, the prospect of Iowans adopting some measure of self-discipline with regard to federal taxpayer dollars terrifies the left.

Virginia officials recommended 15,000+ signatures .. in July

Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have both failed to reach the number and distribution of signatures needed to make the Virginia primary while many other candidates have decided to not even try.

While other states’ primaries and caucuses are open to any GOP candidate, Virginia has strict rules over how many signatures are required. A candidate must have 10,000 valid signatures including at least 400 from every single district in the state in order to make the ballot.

The rules certainly limit the ability of candidates to enter the race if they don’t have a significant, in-state army of signature takers – which costs a lot of money and requires serious manpower.

So the question remains – is Virginia’s unfair or does it create a super power in the preliminary elections?

The Old Dominion’s model for running a primary has some strengths and some flaws. While it may weed out the  week, disorganized efforts, it might also place emphasis on the campaigns with financial strength.

The campaigns were given more than 5 months to collect signatures so it is curious that the candidates with smaller organizations did not even bother trying to enter the Virginia race.

Virginia does represent more than 10% of the total delegates required to obtain the nomination giving it powerful status in the race. The state is also the home state of Newt Gingrich which creates a tough image for the former House Speaker – he can’t win his own home state. But Newt has a plan:

Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot.  Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates.  We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Virginia state code does not specifically allow for write-ins in primary elections, but the wording in Virginia code  24.2-644(C) doesn’t specifically forbid it either:

At all elections except primary elections it shall be lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person’s name..

If one takes the position that anything not made specifically illegal is therefor legal, then there is no restriction on write-ins for primary candidates.  Intent vs. explicit instructions could come into play in Virginia, but there is very little time for a legal challenge from either point-of-view.

What makes a court challenge more likely is that, according to Richard Winger at Ballot Access News, the Virginia GOP may have changed the rules very recently:

But what has not been reported is that in the only other presidential primaries in which Virginia required 10,000 signatures (2000, 2004, and 2008) the signatures were not checked. Any candidate who submitted at least 10,000 raw signatures was put on the ballot. In 2000, five Republicans qualified: George Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes. In 2004 there was no Republican primary in Virginia. In 2008, seven Republicans qualified: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Alan Keyes.

Was the 10,000 signature deeming rule what both Perry and Gingrich had set as a goal fully expecting that 10,000 signatures was a guaranteed entrance into the race? A quick run through the Virginia State Board of Elections website finds a bulletin dated July 1st that includes an important recommendation (emphasis mine):

Must be signed by not less than 10,000 qualified voters in Virginia, including at least 400 qualified voters from each of Virginia=s eleven congressional districts, who attest that they intend to participate in the primary of the same political party as the candidate named on the petition. Because many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition, it is recommended that 15,000 – 20,000 signatures be obtained with at least 700 signatures from each congressional district.

Virginia is not a winner-take-all state so even the less-popular candidates stood to gain some delegates in the old dominion state. Now, due to rules that might have changed very recently, only the campaigns with the best organizations  have any shot at those 49 delegates at all.

The so what of it all is that court battles aside, Virginia has set itself up to be a discriminatory super-primary state. Although late in the primary cycle, it may play a larger part than the early primary states.

If Paul and Romney have collected a good portion of the delegates in Iowa and New Hampshire, Virginia’s 10% will be  huge and only Romney and Paul will be on the ballot. Super Tuesday may well contain a super primary – fair or not.

 

Come On, GOP!

Let’s pause for a moment and assess the GOP frontrunners:

It’s come to light this week that Ron Paul’s newsletter didn’t publish just one possibly racist article, it printed several definitely racist articles. From Mark Mayberry at The Truth About Bills:

The comments below seem to be the most notable:

• “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
• “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”
• After the Los Angeles riots, one article in a newsletter claimed, “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”
• One referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”

Ron Paul’s response to this revelation is, well, irrelevant. The statements were published, and they’re clearly racially-charged. That should be the last nail in the coffin of Paul’s campaign, but it probably won’t be.

Then there’s Newt Gingrich, whose history of government medicine, gun control, poor leadership, and unabashed admiration for FDR should disqualify him from consideration. Unfortunately, they haven’t.

 

Thomas Sowell’s “endorsement” of Gingrich this week is pretty standard fodder as far as Newt endorsements go. It can be summarized thus: ‘Newt isn’t a very good guy, but Obama is much worse… and yadda yadda Mitt Romney’. To me, common sense dictates that any candidate who must be endorsed with a disclaimer- such as “I know he’s not a nice guy…” shouldn’t be endorsed at all.

And the endorsements- just like Sowell’s- follow the same unspoken inevitability assumption: There is no candidate other than Newt (well, OK, there’s Mitt), Newt is the inevitable choice, suck it up and vote for him in the primary, and he’ll look good debating Obama. I see no enthusiasm amongst Gingrich supporters, merely acquiescence.

Speaking of Mitt: I think it’s safe to say few of us on the right really want to vote for him. The thrust of the Presidential race so far as been to find the un-Romney, after all. I don’t think I need to say much more than that about him.

Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum are barely worth mentioning. Their poll numbers are so consistently low, they’re guaranteed to never earn the nomination.

And then there’s Rick Perry. It is maddening to me that more people aren’t getting behind him! Unlike Gingrich, he’s extremely personable, has no plans to socialize medicine, and has a clean gun rights record. He’s also the ideal ‘not-Romney’. He has an impeccable record of governance in Texas and a sensible immigration plan.

In fact, I don’t think anyone even disputes any of these points.

So what exactly is the barrier to getting behind Perry? If it’s the one dumb video referencing ‘gays in the military, let’s point something out: Although it wasn’t well-stated, the basic point of the ad was to illustrate that not all groups are gaining equality in the law. While one group- the gay community- are gaining legal equality, another group- Christians- are rapidly losing it. Compare this to Gingrich flatly telling the gay community to vote for Obama, and tell me who is less LGBT-friendly.

So again I ask: What is it about Perry- a solid small-government conservative with an impressive record as Governor of Texas (as well-illustrated by “Ace Of Spades” here)-  that makes him less appealling than Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul? Anyone?

Come on, GOP! Do we really want a poor candidate like Gingrich or Romney? Or do we want a great candidate with a proven track record of success?

Rick Perry's Immigration Plan Is Tough But Realistic

One constant criticism I see of Rick Perry’s policy positions is his stance on immigration. I’ve seen commentary on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere on the ‘net that he’s “soft” on the subject; that he favors ‘amnesty’ or something like it; these criticisms are absurd.

Let’s detail Perry’s position on illegal immigration:

He favors deporting illegal aliens who are arrested while committing crimes:

“The Obama administration has a ‘catch-and-release’ policy where nonviolent illegal aliens are released into the general public today,” Perry told patrons at a New Hampshire diner Tuesday morning. “My policy will be to detain and to deport every illegal alien that we apprehend. That is how we stop that issue.”

He proposed a law to prohibit ‘sanctuary cities’ in Texas, and allow law enforcement officers to ask questions about immigration status, while avoiding the problems of an Arizona-style immigration law:

“Texas owes it to the brave law enforcement officials, who put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and communities, to give them the discretion they need to adequately do their jobs”

He promises to secure the border within 12 months of becoming President:

“So putting that secure border in place with strategic fencing, with the boots on the ground, with the aviation assets, and then working with Mexico in particular, whether it’s putting sanctions against the banks, whether it’s working with them on security with Mexico, all of those together can make that country substantially more secure and our borders secure.”

He also realizes a vast border fence would be ineffective and cost-prohibitive, and recommends using “strategic fencing” (closing off certain areas to reduce the length of border to be patrolled), aerial surveillance using drone aircraft, and “boots on the ground”- National Guard troops and/or law enforcement officers to patrol the border.

Perry also came up with another idea- and a pretty creative one at that: Positioning webcams on the border, and live-feeding the video to the internet. People could watch, anytime, 24/7, and if the viewer spotted an illegal border crossing, they could phone in the sighting. I like this free-market approach as a supplement to border security, although (as the author points out at the link) it could be much better if a reward were offered for sightings.

Now, once greater security is in place on the border, sanctuary cities are eliminated, and deportation of illegals caught committing crimes is a fact, we still have a problem: What do we do about the millions of illegal immigrants already here? Pursuing as many as 15 million people, arresting, and deporting all of them is clearly impossible, from both a logistical and a budgetary standpoint.

This is where the “soft on illegal immigration” criticisms come into play:

Perry signed the Texas DREAM Act to allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay the in-state tuition rate at state colleges. Let’s be clear about this: It’s not “free education”, it’s not “education for illegals”, it’s a program for children who had no say in the decision to enter the country. As a condition of the program, the student must have attended high school in Texas for three years, and must apply for United States citizenship.

This represents a rational solution to a real problem: Illegal immigration is a drain on, among other things, our public welfare system. This program encourages the children of illegal immigrants to get an education (or a trade certificate, which is even more valuable these days), become citizens, and pay taxes, which is vastly superior to being a life-long drain on the welfare system.

Part of the border security issue is stemming the flow of people across the border. Perry’s answer to this is to distinguish between people who want to enter the country to work, and those who don’t, by issuing work visas. Perry is adamant that this is not a ‘path to citizenship’, which George W. Bush supported.

It’s amazing to me that some conservatives can ignore the opinions of a long-time border state governor. If a paramedic tells you to go to the hospital, you’d be wise to do so; if the ten-year governor of Texas has a solution to the problem of illegal immigration, we’d be wise to listen.

It should also be noted that the other long-time border state governor in the race, Governor Gary Johnson, has a similar plan with regard to illegal immigration- although Johnson’s plan doesn’t involve as much weaponry on the border (I’m a big fan of weapons).

And incidentally: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose stance on illegal immigration borders the extreme, endorses Rick Perry. For the ultra-hardcore among us, this should be all the endorsement Perry’s plan requires.

I think we can safely dispense with the hype about Perry’s plan being “soft on illegal immigration”. It’s a reasonable, workable plan, based on his extensive experience with border issues.

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