What to Read on Mitt Romney

Building a Better Mitt Romney-Bot — Robert Draper

Romney, a socially awkward Mormon with squishy conservative credentials and a reported worth in the range of $190 million to $250 million, is betting that in 2012, recession-weary voters want a fixer, not a B.F.F.

Romney has quietly courted key figures in the Tea Party movement since its inception two years ago: among his PAC’s first donations was one to the Congressional campaign of Michele Bachmann; he was the first major figure to endorse the current South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley; and he also gave to the losing campaigns of Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware.

…Iowa’s most prominent Tea Party activist, Ryan Rhodes…said, “You look at his health care plan, the fact that he hired people who lobbied for Solyndra — it takes those issues off the table that you could tie around Obama’s neck.” He went on: “I don’t think he has a major belief system. He’s Mitt Romney. He’’s a manager, O.K.?”

To his admiring subordinates, Romney is the man who, while waiting in an aide’s garage during an advertising shoot, took it upon himself to sweep it spick-and-span. He is the boss who hosted a 2008 post-mortem at his house in Belmont, Mass., and instead of demanding answers or fixing blame, passed out photo albums of the campaign for each staff member to keep. One longtime aide maintains that Romney is, no matter how much of a corporate barracuda the Democrats make him out to be, “more Richie Cunningham of ‘Happy Days’ than Gordon Gekko’” of “Wall Street.” And he possesses an almost otherworldly unflappability — seen, for example, on a public street in 2009, when a detractor who recognized Romney cursed at him.”Well!” remarked Romney to a companion. “I guess somebody’s having a bad day!”

Romney’s associates maintain that his genial and humble aspect masks a voracious intellect. A longtime friend of Romney’s explained to me that a desire to digest all available viewpoints was the thread that ran through the candidate’s entire professional life. At Bain Capital, said the friend, Romney “wanted hardworking people who would challenge him — he plays devil-s advocate, trying not only to understand what you think the answer is but what your depth of thinking is.” While turning around the troubled Winter Olympics in Utah, “he brought in a management team with divergent views.” As governor, Romney “wanted a cabinet that would argue different points of view.”

Asked what President Romney would have done during his first days in office, in lieu of a federal stimulus, to address the market meltdown, [the campaign’s policy director Lanhee] Chen rattled off a few likely options: “Lowering the corporate tax rate. Enacting a permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Immediately ratifying our pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. In the energy sector, freeing up the necessary land to enable greater domestic production.” He did not make clear how Romney would have steered these boilerplate conservative proposals through a Democrat-controlled Congress.

I asked Chen about Romney’s recent recommendation that the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment of the Arts be targeted for federal spending cuts. Was the candidate proposing that these two federal agencies, long opposed by conservative groups, be eliminated altogether? “We haven’t specifically discussed that,” Chen said.

These programs had a combined annual budget of less than $500 million. Meanwhile, Romney previously criticized President George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D prescription-drug program for its exorbitant cost — “the actual balance-sheet impact . . . [is] now estimated to be approximately $8 trillion,” he wrote. Had Romney discussed repealing the pricey entitlement? “It was not under consideration,” Chen replied

Romney’s policy director had thorough responses to about half of my inquiries. He didn’t know if the candidate’s heavy criticism of Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives meant that Romney was skeptical of a green-jobs industry on its face. He didn’t know what exemptions Romney would eliminate in pursuit of a flatter tax code. Asked if Romney agreed with Michele Bachmann’s sentiment that every adult American should pay taxes, Chen replied, “I don’t have anything for you there.”

Romney Protecting the Rich — Linda M. Beale

Romney reveals the way patrician wealth has affected his values, casting President Obama as a “European social democrat” and suggesting that contrasts with his own belief in a “merit-based opportunity society — where people earn their rewards based upon their education, their work, their willingness to take risks and their dreams.”

Even Romney admitted (obviously unintentionally) that wealth makes a real difference, since he noted that rewards depend in part on education. People with wealth receive the finest educations… The poor and middle class take on enormous loans and work loads… That makes study and grades and success much more difficult for them.

The poor…don’t usually have the kind of capital nest-egg to take a risk with in the way that Romney means it… And those with contacts and money are able (and willing) to hire the best lobbyists to ensure that they get all the tax-advantaged benefits and subsidies that they can finnangle (or buy) from local, state and federal legislators for their activities.  That includes favorable tax provisions that allow them to keep a significant percentage of their wealth (and to fight for even more favorable provisions), such as the carried interest provision that gave Romney a preferential rate on almost all of his compensation income…

That’s not a merit-based opportunity society: it’s an influence-based society, where the poor and even most of the middle class are working against long odds to make headway.

Romney’s plan…calls for extending the Bush tax cuts, cutting the statutory corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, and eliminating capital gains and dividends taxes only for those who make $200,000 or less. Romney won’t even say he supports a consumption tax til he’s studied it more, though he likes the purported “simplicity” of a flat tax.

So after a decade of cutting taxes on the wealthy and passing more and more provisions that benefit the wealthy in particular either directly or indirectly, Romney declares today’s status quo as the perfect state for things to be in — the current low taxes on the wealthy, in perpetuity, are his goal.

Romney, Gingrich Ignore Culprits in Financial Crisis Blame — David J. Lynch

The leading Republican candidates for president have embraced an explanation of the financial crisis that has been rejected by the chairman of the Federal Reserve, many economists and even three of the four Republicans on the government commission that investigated the meltdown.

Both…Newt Gingrich and…Mitt Romney lay much of the blame on U.S. government housing policies…

Unregulated private lenders who sought profits in risky subprime loans were bigger contributors to the crash than federal housing policy, critics of the Republican argument say. They also point to simultaneous housing bubbles in other countries beyond the reach of U.S laws and surges in the value of non-housing investments such as corporate bonds.

Wall Street’s Bad Romance with Wall Street — Ben Adler

He criticizes President Obama for “taking advice from the Harvard faculty lounge,” even though Romney himself holds law and business degrees from Harvard and counts Harvard professors among his economic and foreign policy advisers.

With the exception of Texas Governor Rick Perry, no other candidate has comparable corporate support. Through the second quarter of 2011, before Perry entered the race, Romney raised $17.6 million, more than all his GOP opponents combined. In the third quarter, ending on September 30, Romney piled on an additional $13.9 million.

Whereas President Obama raised 45 percent of his campaign funds through the third quarter from donors who gave less than $200, only 9 percent of Romney’s money came from small donors. While right-wing insurgents like Michele Bachmann rely on small donations coming in over the Internet, Romney collects checks from a small group of rich businessmen. And they are indeed overwhelmingly men: 70 percent of them, compared to 56 percent of Obama’s donors. More than 8,000 donors have given Romney the maximum of $2,500, compared to less than 6,000 maximum donors for Obama. As of the end of the third quarter, the two candidates now competing with Romney for primacy in the Iowa caucuses, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, had raised $12.6 million and $2.9 million for the entire cycle, respectively. Both were far more dependent on small donors than Romney.

Romney’s big individual donors hail from major financial institutions. His top five companies are all banks or financial service firms: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, HIG Capital and Barclay’s. Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers help round out his top ten. None of these firms — indeed, no financial companies at all — appear in Obama’s top ten.

Romney opposed raising the debt ceiling, which would have set the bond markets into a tailspin. His economic plan would freeze or reverse the recovery by cutting domestic spending. By refusing to let federal spending rise above 20 percent of GDP, he would prevent the government from digging us out of future recessions. At the same time, he would offset savings from his spending cuts by increasing our bloated defense budget, and he would not be able to balance the budget because he wants to cut taxes.

As governor of Massachusetts he presided over the forty-seventh-best rate of job growth in the nation, better than only Ohio, Michigan and Hurricane Katrina–devastated Louisiana. And he frequently put conservative ideology — or political ambition — ahead of his state’s economic interests. He restricted embryonic stem cell research and opposed renewable energy investment, despite the fact that scientific research is an important and growing sector of the Massachusetts economy. Betting that Romney doesn’t mean the silly things he says now is an awfully risky proposition.

Mitt Romney Goes Glenn Beck — Jonathan Chait

In eight sentences, Romney asserts over and over again that Obama wants to create “equal outcomes” and give everybody the “same rewards.” This is nuts, Glenn Beck–level insane. Restoring Clinton-era taxes is not a plan to equalize outcomes, or even close. It’s not even a plan to stop rising inequality. Obama’s America will continue to be the most unequal society in the advanced world — only slightly less so. The alternative proposals accelerate inequality even further.

Another Major Flip Flop: Romney Claims Government Support “Kills Solar Energy” — Stephen Lacey

…when he became governor of Massachusetts, [Romney] set up a Green Energy Fund in his state to “to provide equity capital, loans and management assistance to Massachusetts-based renewable energy businesses.”

But now,…Romney is claiming the federal loan guarantee program that helped leverage tens of billions in private capital will cause investments to “disappear.”

That must be why…General Electric is building a 400-MW thin film solar manufacturing facility in Colorado on its own. Or why companies like Google are throwing tens of millions of dollars behind solar projects throughout the U.S., helping accelerate the solar market into another record year.

Polling Data Contradicts Romney’s Assertion That Pakistanis Are ‘Comfortable’ with Drone Strikes — Eli Clifton

…Romney told the audience at [the] CBS News/National Journal debate that Pakistan is “comfortable” with U.S. drone strikes within their borders.

A Pew poll…from July, 2010, found that 93 percent of Pakistanis who are familiar with drone strikes think they are a bad idea, and 56 percent of Pakistanis who have heard of drone attacks say they are unnecessary to defend against extremist groups. Ninety percent thought the strikes kill too many innocent people.

Why Mitt Romney’s Entitlement-Privatization Plan Is Crazy — Matt Taibbi

Your typical Medicare/Social Security recipient might already have been ripped off three different ways…

He might have been sold a crappy mortgage or a refi by a Countrywide-type firm (which often targeted the elderly). He might then also have unwittingly become an investor in such mortgages and seen the value of his retirement holdings devastated (many of the banks sold their crappy mortgage-backed securities to state pension funds).

Lastly, if he paid taxes, he saw part of his tax money go to pay off the bets the banks made against these same mortgages.

So now that Wall Street has ripped off this segment of society three times,…Mitt Romney — a former Wall Street superstar who was a chief architect of the modern executive-compensation-driven corporation — is…telling us that we need to cut their Medicare and Social Security benefits in order to defray the cost of the previous three scams.

We’ve just witnessed an episode of industry-wide financial mismanagement that surely has no parallel in history. …virtually every single one of America’s leading financial institutions from the last decade is either already out of business or functionally insolvent and living off government life support and cheap cash from the Fed.

And these are the people we want managing the nation’s Social Security accounts?

Should Israel Be in Charge of U.S. Middle East Policy? — Stephen M. Walt

Romney said: “The actions that I will take will be actions recommended and supported by Israeli leaders. I don’t seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel’s leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that’s something I’ll be inclined to do.”

One can grasp the logic here by substituting the name of any other U.S. ally in Romney’s statement, even close allies like Great Britain or Japan or Germany. Would any presidential candidate tell a reporter “The actions I will take [in Asia] will be ones recommended and supported by Japanese [or Australian or South Korean] leaders”? Would any president declare that his policies toward Europe should be determined by Merkel, Cameron, Sarkozy, or (god forbid) Berlusconi?

So either Romney genuinely believes that Israel’s leaders always know what is best for their country and best for the United States…, or he simply doesn’t understand how international politics works. Either possibility is, to put it mildly, worrisome.

The Republican Candidates’ History on Mandates — Sarah Kliff

As Massachusetts governor, Romney signed the state’s 2006 health reform package that required Massachusetts residents to purchase insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The fine for not carrying health insurance has increased each year and, in 2011, will be as high as $1,200. In an interview with Sean Hannity in September, Romney described the mandate as a “conservative idea to say, you know what? People have a responsibility for caring for themselves if they can.” He has also criticized the federal mandate as “a government takeover of health care,” arguing that such decisions about health care mandates ought to be left to the states.

Clueless Republicans Demand More Militarism — Philip Giraldi

In spite of the fact that Washington spends as much as the rest of the world on what it refers to as defense, [Romney] wants to “…make long-overdue investments in our military. Modernize air and naval forces, weapons systems, and equipment. Grow the number of troops and ensure that funds go to their needs and care. Establish robust missile defense and repair and update our nuclear arsenal. Oppose efforts to cut our military budget.”

Romney Misrepresents Obama’s Iran Record, Calls for ‘Credible Military Threat’ That Already Exists — Ali Gharib

Romney…discussed what he would do about Iran: “…No. 1 was making sure that we put in place crippling sanctions. No. 2 was communicating on the ground in Iran what the cost means to them of becoming a nuclear nation. They would be in a circle of suspects if either nuclear device were being tested or to be applied anywhere in the world. […] No. 7 is you have to have a credible military threat. [Obama] hasn’t put together [that] kind of military credibility in terms of planning or communications…”

…the U.S. [already imposes] strict economic and human rights sanctions on [Iran]…

…as far as military “planning,” Obama has pledged to keep all options all the table.

And that doesn’t even begin to account for the covert actions taken by the U.S. to thwart the Iranian nuclear program. What we know — that the U.S. and Israel worked together to develop and deploy the Stuxnet computer virus that crippled Iran’s nuclear centrifuges — is likely only the tip of the iceberg.

The Obama administration, in other words, is doing exactly the things Romney says it is not. As for the public bluster about all of it, Iranian dissidents have praised Obama for setting that rhetoric aside, crediting the move with creating the political space that allowed for the rise of the Green opposition movement. One wonders what the Green Movement might think of Romney, whose foreign policy adviser has advocated for the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a group considered terrorists by the U.S. and hated by the the Greens.

What to Read on Newt Gingrich

Gingrich Urges War with Iran and Skyrocketing Oil Prices — Juan Cole

Gingrich: “We need a strategy of defeating and replacing the current Iranian regime with minimum use of force. We need a strategy…of being honest about radical Islam and designing a strategy to defeat it…

“We need a strategy in central Asia that recognizes that, frankly, if you’re Pashtun, you don’t care whether you’re in Pakistan or Afghanistan, because you have the same tribal relationships.

“But if we were serious, we could break the Iranian regime, I think, within a year, starting candidly with cutting off the gasoline supply to Iran, and then, frankly, sabotaging the only refinery they have.”

The new round of sanctions on Iran recently announced by the US, the UK and Canada have helped drive the price of Brent crude over $100 a barrel…

Oil supplies are tight, and if the US and Israel really could succeed in taking the 2.3 million barrels a day that Iran exports off the world market, on top of the Libyan reductions, it would likely put the price up to more like $200 a barrel (i.e. for Americans $6-$7 a gallon for gasoline).

The US…cannot hope to both replace Iranian production and meet increasing Asian demand with any known “all-energy” policy in the short to medium term. That is a science fiction scenario.

Iran has more than one refinery. The US doesn’t have the assets in Iran to conduct such extensive and massive “sabotage.” And, Iran could “sabotage” things right back. If he means bombing Iranian refineries from the air, that would be an act of war.

There are no [Pashtuns] in Iran or Central Asia, and Gingrich’s bizarre comments on Islam and Central Asia have nothing to do with Iran or its gasoline and petroleum production. Most post-Soviet Muslims in Central Asia are Tajiks or Turkic and are relatively secular.

As far as I can tell, Gingrich wants war with the whole Muslim world.

Newt’s War on Poor Children — Charles M. Blow

Nearly two weeks after claiming that child labor laws are “truly stupid” and implying that poor children should be put to work as janitors in their schools, he now claims…, “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.”

[But, the fact is,] three out of four poor working-aged adults — ages 18 to 64 — work.

[Most] poor children live in a household where at least one parent is employed. And even among children who live in extreme poverty…a third have at least one working parent. And even among extremely poor children who live in extremely poor areas…nearly a third live with at least one working parent.

[Even] as more Americans have fallen into poverty in recent years, the crime rate over all — and, specifically, among juveniles — has dropped.

Gingrich Culls War Hawks for His National Security Team — Ali Gharib

Gingrich announced his national security team…:

  • David Wurmser: In 2007, a U.N. official called Wurmser one of the “new crazies” who wanted to attack Iran. In 1996, Wurmser co-authored a paper…advocating the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.
  • Ilan Berman: Berman…has advocated U.S.-led regime change in Iran… [He’s] also attempted to minimize negative effects of [a military] attack and, in 2005…, said Iran is a “prime candidate” for Iraq-style pre-emption…
  • James Woolsey: Woolsey advocated for the Iraq war, supports illegal Israeli West Bank settlement construction, and now pushes a confrontational stance on Iran. In 1998, Woolsey signed onto a…letter urging the military removal of Saddam Hussein…
  • Robert “Bud” McFarlane: In 1988, McFarlane plead guilty to four counts of withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which he played a major role, even secretly travelling to Iran in the early arms-for-hostages part of the affair.

Fact Checking the Tea Party Debate: Republicans Stumble on Tax Issues — Citizens for Tax Justice

Gingrich [said] that he is “cheerfully opposed” to raising taxes by closing the sorts of corporate loopholes that benefit GE and other corporations, while also conveniently leaving out that he actually works as an advisor to GE.

Gingrich and the Destruction of Congressional Expertise — Bruce Bartlett

Gingrich said the [Congressional Budget Office] “is a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth, does not believe in innovation and does not believe in data that it has not internally generated.”

Most policy analysts from both sides of the aisle would say the C.B.O. is one of the very few analytical institutions left in government that one can trust implicitly.

Gingrich said, “If you are serious about real health reform, you must abolish the Congressional Budget Office because it lies.”

Gingrich did everything in his power to dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it. When he became speaker in 1995, Mr. Gingrich moved quickly to slash the budgets and staff of the House committees, which employed thousands of professionals with long and deep institutional memories.

In addition to decimating committee budgets, he also abolished two really useful Congressional agencies, the Office of Technology Assessment and the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The former brought high-level scientific expertise to bear on legislative issues and the latter gave state and local governments an important voice in Congressional deliberations.

The amount of money involved was trivial even in terms of Congress’s budget. Mr. Gingrich’s real purpose was to centralize power in the speaker’s office, which was staffed with young right-wing zealots who followed his orders without question.

Sorry, Newt. You Never Balanced the Budget — Robert S. McIntyre

In fact, the budget surpluses that we enjoyed from 1998 to 2001 had nothing to do with [Gingrich’s] balanced budget act. Instead, the surpluses stemmed from a dramatic surge in federal revenues, mainly personal income taxes.

In 1993, Bill Clinton undid some of the Reagan tax cuts for the wealthy, in a bill that every Republican in Congress opposed. In the years that followed, federal revenues shot up. By 1996, the deficit had fallen by more than half from its 1993 level.

In 1998 tax revenues continued to soar… That was enough to produce a $64 billion budget surplus. …this had nothing to do with the ’97 budget act, which, because of its tax cuts, actually reduced the 1998 surplus slightly.

How Newt Gingrich Added $16 Trillion to the National Debt — Bruce Bartlett

According to the latest Medicare trustees report, the unfunded liability of Medicare Part D is $16.1 trillion.

[Just before Congress voted on Medicare Part D], Newt Gingrich [wrote in the] Wall Street Journal: “Every conservative member of Congress should vote for this Medicare bill. […] If you are a fiscal conservative who cares about balancing the federal budget, there may be no more important vote in your career than one in support of this bill.”

The Republican Candidates’ History on Mandates — Sarah Kliff

Newt Gingrich has repeatedly supported the mandated purchase of health insurance… “I agree that all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care,” he told “Meet the Press” earlier this year.

Newt Gingrich’s Doctoral Dissertation — Robert Paul Wolff

“Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960 A Dissertation Submitted on the Sixth Day of May, 1971 to the Department of History of the Graduate School of Tulane University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Newton Leroy Gingrich.”

There is no evidence in the text that he traveled either to Belgium or to the Congo, and he seems not to have interviewed any of the principal actors, Belgian or Congolese, even though the dissertation was written only a handful of years after the departure of the Belgians from the Congo.

Colonization is seen almost entirely from the perspective of the colonial power, not from that of the indigenous population. The rule of King Leopold II, who literally owned the colony as his private property until, at his death, he willed it to Belgium, is widely understood to have been the most horrifyingly brutal colonial regime in Africa. Gingrich acknowledges this fact once in the dissertation.

What to Read on Rick Perry

In Texas, Perry Rides an Energy Boom — Clifford Krauss

[The] state’s economic health came at a steep price: a long-term hollowing out of its prospects because of deep cuts to education spending, low rates of investment in research and development, and a disparity in the job market that confines many blacks and Hispanics to minimum-wage jobs without health insurance.

When Mr. Perry succeeded Mr. Bush, a barrel of oil was $25. [During] his first term, global market forces began driving oil prices up. They peaked at $147 a barrel in 2008 and have largely remained above $80 over the last two years.

The oil and gas industry now delivers roughly $325 billion a year to the state, directly and indirectly. It brings in $13 billion in state tax receipts, or roughly 40 percent of the total, financing up to 20 percent of the state budget.

The federal government has also helped support Texas. Federal spending in the state, home of NASA and large Army bases, more than doubled over the last decade to over $200 billion a year.

[Before Perry entered office,] the Legislature enacted tight restrictions on mortgage lending, which helped Texas avoid the kind of real estate bubble that devastated states like Florida and Arizona.

The Ten Weirdest Ideas in Rick Perry’s “Fed Up” — Matthew Yglesias

10. Social Security is evil.
9. Private enterprise blossomed under conscription and wartime price controls.
8. Medicare is too expensive but must never be cut.
7. All bank regulation is unconstitutional.
6. Consumer financial protection is unconstitutional.
5. Almost everything is unconstitutional.
4. Federal education policy is unconstitutional.
3. Al Gore is part of a conspiracy to deny the existence of global cooling.
2. Not only is everything unconstitutional; activist judges are a problem.
1. The Civil War was caused by slaveowners trampling on Northern states’ rights.

Rick Perry’s Neocon Friends — Robert Dreyfuss

…Perry declares that “exceptional” America has to be prepared for war with China and India.

Perry is consorting with left-over neocons from the Bush administration,…such as Douglas Feith, the uber-hawk who oversaw the war in Iraq, and Bill Luti, Feith’s compatriot in the Bush White House, who joined with Vice President Cheney to persuade Bush that an unprovoked attack on Iraq was the right thing to do, and Dan Blumenthal, another Bush veteran…

Rick Perry’s Budget Sleight-of-Hand — Suzy Khimm

The Texas governor…used accounting sleights-of-hand that deferred payments and papered over enormous expenditures that will soon come due…though not until the 2012 election is over.

Perry’s budget assumes that the student population will remain constant, when more than 160,000 new students are projected to enroll in Texas public schools over the next two years.

Perry’s budget only covers Medicaid funding through the spring of 2013, coming up $4.8 billion short.

Finally, Perry’s budget ignores a $4.5 billion structural deficit that happens every year due to a 2006 tax reform that’s never generated as much revenue as expected.

Rick Perry’s Environmental Record — Dylan Matthews

[Unlike] Mitt Romney, [Perry] does not believe in the science behind climate change…

He filed a lawsuitagainst the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations on behalf of the state, a suit widely expected to fail. Perry has said that he prays daily for the EPA rules to be reversed. He has consistently defended oil and coal interests in Texas, notably dubbing the BP oil well blowout an “act of God” and opposing the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate offshore drilling in the wake of the disaster. He also fast-tracked environmental permits for a number of coal plants in 2005, cutting in half the normal review period. His transportation agenda similarly does not reflect any concern about emissions, as he did not compete for federal high speed rail funding and has kept state funds focused on roads rather than mass transit.

Rick Perry’s Medicaid Record — Sarah Kliff

Perry [said] that he’d “like to see the states be given the opportunity to opt out of the Medicaid program that we are looking at today.”

In 2008,…Texas applied for a waiver allowing it to limit the number of beneficiaries and create a comparatively sparse benefits plan, among other changes.

The Bush administration rejected Texas’s…waiver request. There was “no precedent,” an administration official said in explaining the decision, in approving an “annual benefit limit as low as” the Perry administration proposed.

Perry Threatens Bernanke — ThinkProgress

…Perry said, “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” Treason is a capital offense.