PERRY ‘HELL BENT’ ON PLEASING RIGHT-WING BASE…. It’s funny to think about now, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) used to be a Democrat. In 1988, he even endorsed Al Gore’s presidential candidacy. It was just two decades ago.

Now, however, Perry isn’t just a right-wing Republican, he’s proving to the state party’s base just how radical he can be. In the midst of a gubernatorial primary, Perry feels the need to say truly insane things, which this year has included talk of secession and crypto-confederate notions of “nullification” of federal laws.

Yesterday, the governor went even further, going full-on crazy to impress the Tea Party crowd.

Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of “punishing” Texas and being “hell-bent” on turning the United States into a socialist country. […]

Perry … accused the Obama administration of intentionally dumping illegal immigrants from other western states in Texas, recalling a conversation he had with local officials notifying him that illegal aliens that were caught in Nogales, Arizona were being dropped off by federal authorities in Presidio, Texas.

“Friday a week ago, I got not a phone call from Washington, not a letter from Washington and as a matter of fact, I don’t think any member of our congressional delegation was even notified. The first time we were contacted was by the superintendent of the school and the county judge of Presidio County,” Perry said.

“They said, ‘do you all know what’s fixin’ to happen?’ I said, ‘well, no. What’s going on?’ They said ‘the government has just called us and said for us to get ready for an influx of illegal aliens who were captured illegally crossing the border.’”

“It’s called the alien transfer-and-exit program,” Perry told the crowd, “trucking them from Nogales, past El Paso down to our western border in Presidio.”

First, the notion that the president is “hell-bent” on socialism is idiotic.

Second, the notion that the Obama administration is dumping undocumented immigrants rounded up in the region directly in Texas appears to be completely wrong. Greg Sargent reports that an official in Presidio County explained that immigrants who entered the United States illegally are being dropped off — on the Mexico side of the border.

When Perry told the right-wing activists that the immigrants were brought “to our western border,” he conveniently neglected to mention which side of the border.

It’s tempting to think being in a Republican primary is forcing Perry to be even nuttier than he’d ordinarily be, but given the scope of his clownish behavior this year, there seems to be more going on here than just primary pressure.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.