Gov. Perry's Off-The-Rails Defense of Sheriff Arpaio

December 15, 2011 6:12 pm ET — Brian Powell

Gov. Rick Perry

In an appearance on Fox News earlier this month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) talked up an endorsement he received from anti-immigrant Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This week, a three-year Justice Department investigation into Arpaio's office wrapped up by claiming Arpaio engaged in unconstitutional profiling and that his office maintained a "pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos." On another Fox appearance this afternoon, Perry defended his endorser, claiming the Obama administration was "out to get" Arpaio.

After explaining his conspiracy theory about Arpaio, Perry's response spiraled into a nearly incoherent rant about border security and foreign policy. Perry ran through a list of potential security threats that included Bolivian Marxists, Iranians, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Zeta drug cartel and others before calling for a new "Monroe Doctrine" for the Western Hemisphere, to be applied against "all these countries that are coming in trying to use bases of operation, just like we did with Cuba back in the 60s."

PERRY: Well I don't know what all the details are, but I do know this — that nothing surprises me out of this administration. This administration, that oversaw —

NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): So you think that this crackdown against the sheriff is politically motivated?

PERRY: Absolutely. I would suggest to you that these people are out after Sheriff Joe. He is tough — and again, when I am the President of the United States, you're not gonna see me going after states like Arizona or Alabama — suing sovereign states for making decisions, particularly because the federal government has been an abject failure at securing the border.

I mean the president had the nerve to go to El Paso this last year and declare that it was the safest, that the border is the safest it's ever been. You've got Hezbollah, you've got Hamas that are organizing, you have the Iranians working with the Zeta cartels. We've got the largest Iranian embassy in the world in Venezuela. You've got a Marxist as the president of Bolivia. I mean, I think it's time for us to have a Monroe Doctrine for the Western Hemisphere again to protect ourselves against all of these countries that are coming in trying to use bases of operation, just like we did with Cuba back in the '60s.


For the record, the Monroe Doctrine was a foreign policy initiative developed by President James Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in 1823 that "sought to bar European interference in hemispheric affairs, while asserting U.S. neutrality toward any future European conflicts." How it relates to a Justice Department investigation of a county sheriff in Arizona only Governor Perry knows.