Both as governor of Texas and as the leading Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry has established himself as a critic of federal programs – and in particular as a “state’s rights” advocate who accuses Washington of gross ineptitude and waste in providing services such as health care for the poor and elderly. In his 2010 book Fed Up and his campaign speeches, Perry has often asserted that the states could perform far better if they were simply left to do the job without federal interference.
“It is through states that the American people get the job done every day,” he wrote in Fed Up, “often in spite of a deeply flawed bureaucratic federal government.” Late last year, when he was urging Texas to drop out of Medicaid altogether, he said, “We know how to deliver healthcare to more people in a less expensive way than what the federal government doe [sic]. I need more states need to stand up and say we don’t want your strings attached. We don’t want you down here telling us how to run our business.” If only Texas could operate wholly independently of federal rules, he insisted, “you will see more people in the state of Texas who will have more coverage and frankly we’ll save money at the end of the day, as will the federal government.”