Why Immigration Is Hurting Rick Perry

He is on the wrong side of a defining ideological issue of the modern conservative movement, blogs Adam Serwer at Mother Jones.

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GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry (Getty Images)

Adam Serwer, in a blog entry at Mother Jones, traces Texas Gov. Rick Perry's GOP presidential nomination woes to his un-Tea Party-like stance on immigration. As an example, he cites Perry's support for in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, which is seen as giving the undeserving an advantage over the deserving.

My colleague Kevin Drum speculates that what's hurting Texas Governor Rick Perry is not so much his positions on immigration as his resemblance to a certain half-term governor of Alaska who couldn't [be] bothered to learn her stuff ...

I really think Palin has nothing to do with this. According to a forthcoming study from Harvard's Theda Skocpol and two of her graduate students, Vanessa Williamson and John Coggin, immigration is among the most important issues for self-identified "Tea Party" Republicans. Why? Because it crystallizes their attitude towards "big government," namely that government assistance is entirely appropriate for those who've "earned it," and less so for those who haven't.

"This impassioned opposition to illegal immigrants is often equated with racism, but Ms. Skocpol and her colleagues take great pains to point out that the Massachusetts Tea Partiers, whom they studied most closely, are vocally and actively opposed to overt racism. A racist poster to their Web site was publicly reprimanded and a plan was made to take down racist signs at a rally (though, in the event, the researchers didn’t spot any that needed removing). For the Tea Partiers, the major intellectual distinction isn't between black and white -- although that is the color of most of them -- it is between deserving, hard-working citizen and unauthorized, foreign freeloader."

Read Adam Serwer's entire blog entry at Mother Jones.

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