Everything's big in Texas. That truism applies to PR stunts. By dispatching 1,000 National Guard troops to the Mexico border, Governor Rick Perry is committing a whopper of a PR stunt.
The national spotlight is shining brightly these days on the Lone Star State. The focus is on the human tragedy that is playing out in Texas as thousands of desperate children flee gang violence, poverty and homelessness in Honduras and Guatemala.
That national attention is why Prime-Time Rick, who still considers himself a viable Presidential candidate, is capitalizing on that human misery via his oddly named "Operation Strong Safety," which must be a tip of the Stetson to football, the state's religion.
Now General Perry hasn't ordered his statewide army to corral the kids and ship `em back home. That's against the law. Perry's brigade is to serve as a "visual deterrent," which is worse than a meaningless gesture.
There have been widespread reports that the desperate migrants are throwing themselves into the arms of anyone in uniform north of the border due to the incorrect belief that US authorities will grant amnesty to them.
The Texas National Guard might wind up serving as "official greeters" to the US. That would be a PR blow to Perry, though Wal-Mart would be proud and may hire some of the Guard as greeters in its mega-stores.
And then there is the cost of the deployment. The McAllen Monitor reported that the Guard will cost Texas $12M a month. Perry says the state will dip into budgets for "non-critical" areas such as healthcare and transportation. Poor Texans may dispute Perry's notion of healthcare spending "non-critical."
But the Governor, who cares little for the poor and elderly, is true to form. While Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people (25 percent) among states, Perry fought Obamacare tooth and nail. He also rejected expanded Medicare payments under the Affordable Care Act, thus foregoing about $10B of US matching grants in 2022.
Perry, of course, believes Uncle Sam should pick up the tab of his army's occupation of the Mexican border. Think of it as a contribution to the Perry in 2016 campaign for the White House.