Rick Perry hates Texans.

(Austin is very nice though!)

Rick Perry doesn’t seem to like his fellow Texans (via Politico):

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.

Speaking at a luncheon for a Midland County Republican Women’s group, Perry said that “this is an administration hell-bent toward taking American towards a socialist country. And we all don’t need to be afraid to say that because that’s what it is.”

Perry praised the tea party movement to the Republican activists in attendance, crediting the grassroots groups with discouraging some Democrats in Washington from pushing for a public option in the health care bill.

Under Gov. Perry’s wise leadership, Texas has consistently won the coveted title of “nation’s least-insured state.”  Texas leads the nation in uninsured adults and children; a staggering 25 percent of Texans – or 6 million people – live and work without health insurance, and that includes nearly 1.4 million children.  What’s more, Texas is ranked near the bottom when it comes to health care utilization, especially among children: overall, Texas is ranked 43 in terms of prevention and treatment, and among children Texas is ranked 40, with only 67.3 percent of Texas children receiving a preventative medical and dental visit in the past year.

Those of us without a sociopathic disregard for our fellow citizens recognizes that absent some serious intervention in the health care system, this trend is sure to continue, with more and more Texans losing their health insurance, and more and more Texans dying because of it.  I’d like to think that Gov. Perry knows this and is working diligently to find a solution to his state’s health care catastrophe.  But judging from his comments and his steadfast opposition to health care reform, I think it’s safe to say that Rick Perry is mostly unconcerned with the growing humanitarian crisis in his state.  Which makes sense.  The large majority of the uninsured are located in the South and the West, which also happen to be the last remaining Republican strongholds.  And as such, Rick Perry’s casual disregard for the uninsured puts him in close company with most of his ideological fellow-travelers.

To jump on Matt Yglesias’ point from this past weekend, if we operated with a slightly less absurd set of political institutions, a minority of legislators from sparsely populated states – or even larger states – wouldn’t be able to obstruct efforts to provide millions of people with potentially life-saving insurance.  Moreover, if we had a more responsible media, obstructionist legislators and leaders would be treated with disdain and opprobrium, not regularly trotted out as respectable members of the political elite.

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Jamelle Bouie is a writer for Slate. He has also written for The Daily Beast, The American Prospect and The Nation. His work centers on politics, race, and the intersection of the two. You can find him on Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram as jbouie.

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