Third, Gov. Perry requested 1,000 National Guard troops to be temporarily deployed to the southern border to send a strong message to Central American countries and help the border patrol with the influx of illegal immigrants pouring into the country. President Obama has not explicitly agreed to this request. He appears to want to trade this for his supplemental appropriations request, which Congress is currently considering.
Gov. Perry got tired of waiting and on Monday he order up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the southern border, to serve as a force multiplier and help ease pressure on the border patrol, who are scrambling to deal with the unaccompanied children.
Good policy makes good politics, and Gov. Perry is not letting this opportunity go to waste. He is using this national story to collect data and engage the grassroots - an online petition on border security that he created now has over 100,000 signatures in the first week. The political benefit to Gov. Perry will likely last.
He has successfully re-positioned himself as the leading GOP voice on border security - valuable political real estate in the Republican Party. Border security issues will remain on the front burner through the 2014 election and likely through the 2016 election. Gov. Perry has aligned his national leadership on an issue for which he has expertise and knowledge, with his own executive record that he can reference. While Senators may talk about votes on immigration and border security, Gov. Perry can detail what he has actually done.
He is on the front lines in this crisis, at a time when few Republicans in Washington have stepped up to propose their own solution.
Perhaps most importantly, Gov. Perry re-positioned himself on an issue where he had been crosswise with the Republican base in the 2012 primary. Now, instead of focusing on thorny issues like in-state tuition, Gov. Perry can redirect the focus to border security.
Gov. Perry continues to prepare for a potential presidential bid, with more international travel planned, public policy issue briefings and political travel. In fact, Gov. Perry made his fourth trip ton Iowa this past weekend. He was received in Iowa far bigger star in Republican politics this week than he was three weeks ago, with a burst of new momentum, a national platform and a second look from the national media.