Texas, as everyone knows, was once a part of Mexico. Mexicans have always lived there. They juice up the culture and the cuisine. There are many more of them now then there used to be. Many came there illegally. Can one always know the difference? No - it's the negative that works both in Spanish and English.
What should our policy be regarding illegals? Build a fence along the Rio Grande, says Michelle Bachmann. Would that solve the problem? Probably not. What would? Mass arrests? Sure, if you want to start a civil war, with business -- which depends heavily on Hispanic labor -- opposing the cops and the deputies.
Rick Perry's offense, besides imputing heartlessness to assailants of his policy of in-state-tuition-for-some (hardly-all) illegals, was to suggest that the illegal immigration problem, fed by so many streams of policy and private action, is unreachable through Gordian Knot solutions.
That's not what a great many want to hear, of course, about illegal immigration. "Is he fer' it or agin' it?" is what they want to know, and so do those elements of the media that feast on big-time controversy. Here we are then, tearing Perry apart, asking whether we should stick a fork in him, maybe send him back to plugging coyotes.
Very dispiriting. There's a major case waiting to be made concerning the America we think we want in 2012. If only we could listen long enough to reflect, to weigh, to consider. Not enough time, it seems. Campaigning -- that's all we have time for. It's 14 months out and there is more convincing proof than ever that big and constantly getting bigger government may be the greatest of modern blights.