As the rest of the 2012 Republican presidential field ganged up on Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Thursday night’s GOP debate, illegal immigration was the evening’s hottest-button issue — particularly the granting of in-state tuition rates to children of illegal immigrants in Texas. Now Perry’s defense seems to have struck nerve with National Review columnist Mark Steyn.
Filling in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio program Friday, Steyn, the author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” took issue with Perry’s response to those attacks.
Rick Perry “has basically adopted the Democratic line now on the whole illegal immigration issue,” Steyn said. “He says that you know, if you want to demonize him for providing education to the children of illegal immigrants at in-state tuition rates, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a Democrat talking point. When he says, if you’re opposed to what he did with immigration, it’s because you’re not comfortable. You’re some uptight WASP-y type with a name like, I don’t know — ‘Gary Johnson.’ You’re some uptight WASP-y type with a name like ‘Gary Johnson’ who can’t handle that we now have fellows called ‘José’ in this country. That’s a Democrat talking point. That kind of cheap kind of cheap racism is a Democrat talking point.” (RELATED: Santorum: Perry supported bi-national health insurance with Mexico)
Steyn believes Perry’s position on illegal immigration blurs the line betwee the Republican and Democratic parties.
“In a two-party system,” he continued, “we’re covered on that. The Democrats will do the kind of cheap racism demagoguery that you don’t like people called ‘José,’ you don’t have any heart. We should have an alternative to that in a two-party system.”
Steyn kept the theme alive throughout much of the Friday afternoon broadcast:
“[I]’m sick of this cheap, glib demonization on the basis of Democrat talking points,” Steyn said. “If you want to give in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants, find your own lousy talking points for it instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s about the heart. It’s all about the heart and if you object to that it’s because you don’t like people called ‘José.’ I’m sick of that.”