Rick Perry's bizarre babysitters club: A new "solution" even too daft for him

The Texas governor is back and thinking about running for president. And wait 'til you hear about his hot new idea

By Heather Digby Parton


Published July 22, 2014 3:50PM (EDT)

Rick Perry                                (AP/Tony Gutierrez)
Rick Perry (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

Everyone has undoubtedly noticed that Texas Governor Rick Perry is suddenly sporting a pair of hipster glasses which his advisers clearly think make him look so much smarter than he was in 2012, when he could barely remember his name in the Republican primary debates.  (In fairness, he has since admitted to being high on drugs at the time.) Much like his fellow Texan George W. Bush, Perry is is a guy who does love to sport a costume. For instance, this fetching Halloween get-up in the character of Doug Neidermeyer from Animal House. (Again, in fairness, this was his actual uniform in the corps of cadets at Texas A&M.)

Now that he's off drugs and wearing some sharp Warby Parkers, Perry is making another run at the presidency. And as the Texas governor (for what seems like the last century) he's milking the refugee crisis at the border by remembering the Alamo and standing his ground against the hordes of "illegal" children and nursing mothers who are invading his state. He said yesterday that he "will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor."

It looks like the geek specs haven't improved his verbal clarity. One can't be sure who it is he thinks is assaulting the American people but by process of elimination one can only assume it must be the little children. From their squalid detention areas apparently. Suffice to say that whatever this assault is, this must be stopped and the best way to do that in Perry's estimation is to send in troops. (He's a Republican -- if cutting taxes won't solve it, starting a war is the only thing left to do.)

Here he was on Fox News last week demanding that President Obama order the National Guard to the border:

Perry: "They need to be right on the river. They need to be there as a show of force because that’s the message that gets sent back very quickly to Central America."

Brit Hume: "They’re not, under the law, allowed to apprehend any of these children that are crossing, are they?"

Perry: "The issue is with being able to send that message because it’s the visual of it, I think, that is the most important. If you don’t stop the bleeding. If you don’t staunch this flow of individuals that are coming up here, this is only going to get worse."

Hume: "But the question I’m trying to get at with you is this: If these children, who have undergone these harrowing journeys to escape from the most desperate conditions in their home countries, have gotten this far, are they really going to be deterred by the presence of troops along the border who won’t shoot them and can’t arrest them?"

Perry replied that they were talking about two different things and that this was regarding the humanitarian need for troops who are trained to take care of children and also stand at the border and deter them. Or "staunch" their bleeding. Or something. (You can watch the YouTube clip here. Caution: You might want to enlist a translator...)

That demand was undoubtedly met with confusion at the White House, which had no idea that we had National Guard troops trained in child care, but eventually they must have figured out what Perry was babbling about and told him that the move was unnecessary since the little children are all turning themselves in peacefully to the authorities.

Perry lost patience with the President's wimpy reliance on logic and reason and decided to order the Texas National Guard to the border himself. Evidently these Washington bureaucrats just don't understand that what's necessary is to have a lot of men with guns standing around the river to "send a message." We aren't sure who the message is for, but it damn well better be sent.

His order was met by more confusion from Texans themselves. The border patrol doesn't understand what these troops are supposed to do, although I'm sure they'll be happy to know the soldiers can change diapers and help the kids with their homework. And law enforcement in the area is skeptical as well. One sheriff seemed bewildered by the decision:

“The National Guard — they’re trained in warfare; they’re not trained in law enforcement,” he said. “I need to find out what their actual role is going to be, but I think the money would be better spent giving local law enforcement more funds.”

And it's a lot of money. It's going to cost the Texas taxpayers 12 million dollars a month. That's some mighty expensive babysitting. But Governor Perry says they needn't be concerned.

 "Once we show this works I will insist we send a bill to the [Obama] administration."

And then they said they'd sue him if he refused to pay.

Oh, and by the way, as we watch the Republicans get more and more worked up about this alleged horde of diseased child invaders, here's a little something to keep in mind:

While the number of unaccompanied youth crossing the border has doubled to nearly 60,000 in the past year, the total number of undocumented immigrants has mostly declined. About 1 million people have been caught crossing the border nearly every year between 1983 until 2006, but that number has dropped to about 400,000 in 2013.

That's your immigration "crisis" for you. It's right up there with fluoridation in the water and Cliven Bundy's unpaid cattle fees on a list of important national concerns. Why, you'd almost think these conservative politicians and media celebrities are looking for something to gin up their gullible base for completely cynical political reasons.

By Heather Digby Parton

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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