I am a longtime reader and subscriber to the NATIONAL REVIEW. I have remained a faithful reader and subscriber these many years because NR does have a wonderful stable of conservative thinkers and writers. As faithful readers of this blog know well, I have a great admiration for Mark Steyn who is the author of the final article in every issue of NR in his column Happy Warrior.
However, I have always had a problem liking the individuals NR has had as its Editor. Its first and most famous was its Founder, William F. Buckley. While I admired his intellect and wit, I found Buckley almost insufferable because of his snobbishness. His very manner of speaking literally oozed east coast, ivy league snobbishness.
Sad to say, NR’s present Editor, Rich Lowry, seems consciously, or sub-consciously, to manifest some of the same east coast, ivy league snobbishness.
When Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the presidency I assumed that he would be given the full Buckley (now Lowry) treatment, and I have not been disappointed. In this article reproduced below, Lowry seems to be expressing some sympathy for Perry in his predicting the kind of attack the left-liberal east coast establishment is going to inflict on Perry. But do not be fooled. Behind the seemingly sympathetic words of advice Lowry is giving Perry one can detect a trace of the very snobbishness and prejudice Lowry is decrying.
- Leo Rugiens
LET THE PERRY HATRED BEGIN
Perry Should Work to Belie the Image of Texas
by Rich Lowry
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
16 August 11
Texas governor Rick Perry is about to stride purposefully through every cultural tripwire in the country.
He may not become as despised as Sarah Palin, but that’s because he’ll never be a pro-life woman — the accelerant for the conflagration of Palin-hatred. The disdain for Perry won’t burn as hot, but it’ll burn just as true. He’ll become a byword for Red State simplemindedness in the New York Times and an object of derision for self-appointed cultural sophisticates everywhere.
You could be mistaken for thinking that Perry set out from his infancy to trample on certain eastern sensibilities. Born in nowheresville Texas to a family of cotton farmers. An Eagle Scout. Attendance at Texas A&M, where he was a “yell leader” — basically a male cheerleader — and in ROTC. After earning a degree in animal science and serving in the Air Force, he entered politics and eventually ascended to the governorship in the wake of another hated Texan — George W. Bush.
Perry makes Bush look like a sniveling elitist, what with his patrician, highly credentialed family. Perry went to Paint Creek Rural School in Haskell, Texas; Bush went to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and then on to Yale and Harvard.
Perry is a great partisan of Texas and has mused about its leaving the union. He’s an evangelical Christian who unembarrassedly prays in public and for his state. He’s a tea partier who extols the Constitution and seeks a drastically limited federal government. He’s a law-and-order conservative in a state that still executes people.
It’d be almost impossible to come up with a background and cluster of affiliations so provocative. Texas has all the negative charge for liberals that Massachusetts does for conservatives. Perry will be branded as a backward, dimwitted, heartless neo-Confederate. A walking, talking threat to the separation of church and state who doesn’t realize people like him were supposed to slink away after the Scopes trial nearly 90 years ago.
Surely there can’t be anything wrong with being an Eagle Scout? Such is the culture war that even the Scouts are controversial. In some quarters, they are considered notoriously anti-gay. A few years ago, Perry wrote a polemical book-length defense of the institution, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.
The title speaks of an author who is an incorrigible square, another Perry offense. In a photo of him at Texas A&M, wearing white sneakers and his Yell Leader sweater, he looks like the guy we’re always supposed to root against in movies about college life. Perry apparently lacks all ironic detachment, the quality that so endears liberals to Pres. Barack Obama even though they constantly exhort him to become a fighter.
Obama officials have already signaled they will attack Mitt Romney as weird if he’s the Republican nominee. If it’s Perry instead, they will surely pursue a similar line against him as bizarrely retrograde and altogether too Texas — George W. Bush, only more so.
The cultural static around Perry could well distract from his core economic message. He’d do well, as he began to do in his announcement speech, to cast his personal story and his state in terms of aspiration. Rural life, the Scouts, the military, and his faith inculcated in him the virtues necessary for success, and he lived in a state wide open and free enough for him to rise.
No matter how big his belt buckle and his boots, Perry should work to belie the image of Texas. It’s not the TV show Dallas of 30 years ago. It’s a dynamic state that has created jobs to absorb a population growth of 20 percent during the past ten years. It has thriving big cities and a diverse economy no longer exclusively dependent on the oil-and-gas industry. It has close ties to Mexico and a large Latino population.
Perry can say all that and more, but it won’t matter. He’ll still be hated.
— Rich Lowry is editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2011 by King Features Syndicate.
Lee, Just to inject a little perspective and a few facts, Perry does not and has never favored amnesty. Nor does he favor the national "Dream Act" or its "path to citizenship." He did sign a state bill into law in 2001 that passed with bipartisan support which allows students to pay in-state tutition rates, if they have been living in Texas and have already obtained either a GED or have graduated from the state's public or accredited private schools.
That measure simply recognizes reality. Texas is already forced to foot the bill for their public education because of the federal government's failure to either enforce existing law or to cover the additional costs. Some of those kids have been here from infancy and are as Americanized as Emily, so you might as well maximize their economic potential.
Nor does Perry oppose stronger border enforcement; in fact, he has been in a dog fight with the Obama administration over that issue from Day 1 and did not exactly endear himself to the Bush administration either. Napolitano only dispatched 20-percent of additional agents sent to watch the U.S. Mexican border to Texas, even though our 1,200-plus mile long border represents 60-plus percent of its total length and includes four Mexican states. Perry specifically cited drug violence along the border in his request and was still refused. He responded by sending additional state helicopters and Texas Rangers to at least partially deal with the fed's failure to act. As long as we're at it, he did not favor an AZ-type law in Texas but he fully supported AZ's right to pass its own.
Texas, like most states, has its own unique history and unique set of challenges and problems. When the first Anglos arrived in Texas there were already long-time Mexican settlements in Nacogdoches (east) and San Antonio (southwest), among others. All Texans, including Anglos, were Mexican nationals before the revolution, and Mexican patriots like Juan Seguin played critical roles in the Texas revolution. Anglos and Hispanics have lived here side-by-side for more than 170-years and share much of this state's heritage. Hispanics represent about 38-percent of the population, so it is easy to see why there is some legitimate concern among the native, resident, legal Hispanic population that they would be unfairly targeted in any immigration crackdown. I am not saying those concerns are either entirely valid or even legitimate, but they are real and it would be silly to claim they are not.
Texas also enjoys and has always enjoyed trade and commerce with Mexico, which factors into the equation as well. Finally, let me simply add that those who have not actually spent time along the Texas-Mexico border have no idea what they are talking about when they suggest you can seal it like a mayonnaise jar. I have hunted and rafted and traipsed along that border from the brush country to Big Bend, and until you have climbed the cliffs, navigated the river and fought your way through cat-claw brambles and burning, iron-hard desert you simply cannot comprehend what it would mean to stop everyone trying to cross it. Many times, while hunting the desert near Big Bend, I have come across the camps of illegals who had left evidence of their passage through the hundreds of miles of barren waste. I have seen the old sandals they discarded and the leftover materials from the new ones they had built out of old tires and bailing wire. In other words, they were walking through mile after mile of thorny, desert country wearing nothing more on their feet than homemade open sandals; country which I found difficult walking through in specialty boots that costs more than a $100 a pair. It is amazing what people will do for a chance to improve their lives and circumstances.
That is all simply a way of saying that completely sealing the border is a fantasy. If you want to stop illegal immigration you are going to have to empower employers to seek valid IDs and punish those who hire illegals. Moreover, you are going to have to bring every pressure to bear to reform on a Mexican government that has been historically corrupt and views the U.S. border as a safety valve to keep pressure from building toward revolution. I know you can't fit all that on a bumper sticker, but sloganeering is cheap and actually getting things done is hard. I don't think most voters have immigration very high up on their list of concerns in the present economy, but those who are devoted to that single issue will probably never be placated. I would simply note that any Republican running compares pretty well on the issue to Obama, whose policy appears to be "come on over so I can work on getting you registered to vote." At least that seemed to be the message in his speech at El Paso, and it sure looks like the Democrats' ultimate goal.