The problem with letting politics dictate public policy is that eventually the reality forces the political rhetoric aside. Last week Rick Perry traveled to Europe in an attempt to foster his foreign policy credentials for an upcoming attempt to run for president in 2016. What he got instead was a dose of political reality. Rick Perry had planned to visit Germany, Poland, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom. What happened, instead is that he was forced to cut his trip short to deal with the Ebola crisis in his state. That’s right, Perry had to return home to deal with a security issue in Texas, not caused by the southern border but instead because his health officials couldn’t deal with one Ebola patient properly.
It is no secret that Rick Perry is attempting to mount a presidential bid for 2016 after his disastrous attempt in 2012. In his latest attempt, Perry has been trying to woe the ultra-conservatives to support him through political rhetoric. Of course, political rhetoric goes hand-in-hand with hypocrisy.
Notwithstanding that, Texas benefits the most from any other state in the United States because of Mexican trade; Rick Perry nonetheless deployed weekend warriors to the US-Mexico border in a political show for the benefit of the ultra-conservatives. Mexico is Texas’ number one trading partner. As a matter of fact, the governor’s own office acknowledges this fact.
According to the governor’s economic development office, Mexico “was the top country of origin for Texas imports with over $94.6 billion”. [emphasizes are mine] China was ranked number two. However, it doesn’t end there; Mexico is also Texas’ number one importer of Texas goods. Mexico imported $100.9 billion from Texas in 2013.
The governor’s economic development office goes on to point out that, Texas benefits from Mexican-owned businesses doing business in Texas. According to the governor’s report, in 2007, “Texas had 356,785 Mexican-owned firms (34.4 percent), with receipts of $48.98 billion”. [emphasizes are mine] The fact sheet adds the “Lone Star State ranked second nationally for the number and receipts of Mexican-owned firms”. 
Furthermore, Mexico, under the new Mexican administration has embarked on reforming its energy sector. Guess how much Texas stands to benefit from these reforms? According to report created by BBVA Compass Bank for a Texas Senate subcommittee, Texas stands to add more than 200,000 jobs starting next year through 2018. Additionally, the Texas economy will grow by about $40 billion because of the Mexican energy reforms.
Tech firms in Texas stand to the benefit the most from Mexico’s energy sector and trade.
Rick Perry responds to Texas benefitting from Mexico with hypocrisy by launching numerous “border security” operations since 2005 that do nothing for the border but create animosity between Mexico and Perry’s state. First, it was drug cartels, then it was illness-laden children invading Texas and then it was ISIS massing at the US-Mexico border. Other than spending taxpayer monies the weekend warriors did nothing more than pose for pictures to benefit Perry with the ultra-conservative crowd.
Against this backdrop, it was only a matter before Ebola became the next boogey-man that needed Perry’s foreign policy expertise. Unfortunately, for Rick Perry, Ebola had plans of its own.
Here is an inconvenient fact for Rick Perry’s astute foreign policy and security issues politics.
The only state in the United States that Ebola has materialized in is Texas. This, under Rick Perry’s watch. So much for Perry’s much vaunted expertise in securing his state from the dangers of the world. I fully expect Rick Perry’s supporters to argue that Ebola was introduced via an international traveler to Texas. Agreed, however the loss of control through the spread of Ebola to at least two Texas residents falls squarely under Rick Perry’s watch. Furthermore and most important, Ebola did not enter the State of Texas through the US-Mexico border, or from Mexico.
While Rick Perry pontificates about border security and deploys weekend warriors to the border the actual security problem for Texas comes in behind his back. That there is the problem, pontificating about border security through rhetoric in an attempt to mount a presidential bid actually endangered his state. All because Rick Perry wanted some photo opportunities for his presidential run.
1. “Overview of the Texas Economy”; Updated September 2014; Office of the Governor Economic Development & Tourism.