Secession and "Insurance Opportunities": No Place But Texas

If you haven't had a chance to read Newsweek's cover story on Rick Perry, don't worry. You don't have to immediately drop whatever you're doing, out of the misplaced hope that the pages will yield anything you haven't already heard Perry say. But it may be a good primer for people who live outside of Texas, all of whom are apparently unemployed hostages of a socialist tyrant bent on taking your money and handing it out to undocumented workers as soon as they cross the border. See, Perry's for less government, best illustrated by his weird passion for the government to mandate that all 12-year-old girls are immunized to keep them HPV-free -- HPV being something that's acquired during the act of sex. Nothing says "rugged individualism" like coming up with new compulsory immunizations -- and one that screams SEX no less.

Former Texas Monthly editor and current Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith asks some decent questions, but our favorite part was the sort of throwaway mention of Bill White, who's hilariously described as "kind of like President Obama without the good looks." (Well, it's hilarious if you aren't Bill White. Or his wife.)

But we also dug the part where Smith reminds Perry that Texas has "the highest percentage of its citizens without insurance." Perry responds by saying "For over two years, we've had a waiver request in front of the [federal government]" that would allow the state to create "insurance opportunities" for the uninsured. [Here's a fun party trick: go to MD Anderson and tell them you were just diagnosed with throat cancer and you have no insurance, but it's totally cool, because Texas has a waiver request for an insurance opportunity. Count how many minutes before your cancer is compounded by a big bruise on your ass from when they throw you out on the street!]

The rest, you've heard before: Texas's shitty unemployment rate is substantially less shitty than some other states; Perry's seeming flirtation with secession, a startling bit of Kabuki from someone who we think secretly shudders at the thought of being cut off from the Federal Teat; and how his biggest supporters are probably crotchety old white people.

The Perry piece is supplemented by articles on Texas's economic swagger and Smith's wry, personal take on the textbook debate.

"I want the states to become the laboratories of innovation and experimentation," Perry says in the main story. And economically, the Texas Lab is doing comparatively well. We're just not sure if putting creationism in public schools that still haven't recovered from the "Texas Miracle" is exactly innovative. But we must admit -- putting an Aggie in charge of a state for ten years is a pretty interesting experiment.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow