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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

How pro-life is Rick Perry?

He’s so pro-life that he made sure all 250 prisoners he’s executed had an ultrasound before he put them to death – just to be sure.

Okay, the governor of Texas isn’t that pro-life, but he might as well be. And as he faces the end of his fourth term, Perry is looking ahead to his legacy.

Rick Perry’s record-breaking tenure as the Lone Star State’s chief executive will go down in history for its remarkable economic growth – much of it fueled by the federal government Perry loathes – and its even more remarkable assault on the well-being of women and children.

Though he went down like a dopey combination of the Titanic and the Hindenburg in the presidential primary, the governor is still trying to sell — outside of Texas — his vision of a government unburdened by concern for the poor.

Last week Rick Perry spent $24,000 of his state’s money to advertise in California about how great it is to start a business in his state. California governor Jerry Brown called that amount “barely a fart,” but the editorial board of the Sacramento Bee took the attack even more personally and decided to sell its readers on Texas:

Check out a state that ranks dead last in the percent of its population with high school diplomas. Come check out a state that is last in mental health expenditures and workers’ compensation coverage. Come check out a state that ranks first in the number of executions, first in the number of uninsured, first in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted and first in the amount of toxic chemicals released into water.

The truth is that Texas is a wonderful place for rich polluters. The rich pay some of the lowest state and local taxes in the country and the poor pay the sixth highest.

And the joy for Texas’ poor doesn’t stop there.

Though the state ranks 47th out of 50 in physicians per people, Perry turned down hundred’s of millions from the federal government because he wants to exclude his state’s Planned Parenthood, which performs no — seriously, not one — abortions, just  because it has the name “Planned Parenthood.”

When Perry isn’t busy punishing the poor, he also takes time to weigh in on the crucial issues of the day.

Just days before he released his ad bashing California, Perry commented on whether the Boy Scouts, an organization that has received millions in federal funds, should allow openly gay members.

“I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I,” Perry, a former Eagle Scout, said.

LOL.

Of course, Rick Perry is factually wrong — 55 percent support admitting gays into the Boy Scouts.

But even the idea that civil rights should be subjected to public opinion is a relic of Perry’s archaic worldview. The truth is that about double the percentage of Americans support same-sex marriage now than supported interracial marriage when the Supreme Court deemed bans on such marriages unconstitutional in 1967.

(Though I can imagine there are gay kids all over America who hope the Scouts will keep their ban in place, perserving the one good excuse they have for not joining a troop.)

Rick Perry is one of those Christians who read the Gospels and discovered that all the silly stuff that Jesus says about the rich helping the poor just isn’t any of the government’s damned business. Nope. The government’s only job is to ban gays and abortion – neither of which Jesus ever mentioned.

So Perry’s next step is to take a tour of California’s big cities to spread his Gospel:

Texas. Where it’s easier to for you to start a business than it is for a poor woman to find a doctor.

Meanwhile he’s building a time bomb of future expenses for future Texans, as National Memo’s Andrea Saul notes: “[Texas] ranks second highest nationally in overall birth rates, third highest in teen birth rates, has the sixth highest percentage of women living in poverty, and ranks dead last in the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in their first trimester.”

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Perry has vowed to turn down Medicaid expansion that would cover more than a million uninsured Texans and help slow the increasing cost of insurance for all residents.

California, which is eagerly expanding health insurance to the uninsured as it balances its budget for the first time in more than a decade, isn’t a utopia, of course.

In 2008, influenced by millions flowing in from out-of-state, Californians voted for Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage after the state’s Supreme Court ruled such bans were unconstitutional. Taxes and barriers for starting a business are high, often driving television and film production out of the state.

Despite this, nearly every tech and entertainment company you’ve ever heard of was founded or has its headquarters in California. Companies from all over the world locate their research and development in Silicon Valley. In 2011, 167,000 entrepreneurs started new businesses in the state – and no one had to go find these “job creators” and bring them to California.

People come to the Golden State for the weather, the opportunity and often just because there, gay Americans are treated like… Americans, and women are free to make their own decisions about when to have a family, with a doctor who will able to see them within the first trimester.

Rick Perry did the U.S. a favor when he bumbled through the 2012 presidential primary. He helped us all to see that what people are buying in Texas does not pass the smell test in places where making life easier for rich, straight white men isn’t the government’s only goal.

Unlike Texas, we’ve moved on from Rick Perry.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

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