On CNN's "Crossfire" earlier this week, Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Texas' Rick Perry debated highly contested issues such as job creation and health care to see which state does better. This comes during Perry's most recent pit-stop in Maryland to gain name ID as while spreading the word of the "Texas Miracle."
With moderating assistance from Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the debate was an attempt to give a glimpse into what 2016 might look like.
In the debate, Governor O'Malley held a steady critique of Texas, citing well-known facts about Texas' low-rankings in high school graduation rates and high populations of uninsured people. While there were no "oops" moments, Rick Perry only seemed comfortable rattling off statistics to validate his statements throughout the segment. Overall, it showed the inflexibility of Perry's messaging while highlighting his narrow scope of the hard realities many people face in our state. You can watch the entire debate here.
Read more on the debate below the jump.
|When discussing job growth, Perry reiterated several times throughout the debate that high-tech companies like Facebook, eBay, and Apple coming to Texas was proof of our economic success. However, he had little to say when O'Malley and Cutter brought up Texas having the highest share of minimum-wage workers in the US. Perry attempted to argue that there is mobility for minimum-wage workers, and instead confirmed the wage disparity in our state by mentioning Texas having a significant portion of highest-paid jobs at the same time. O'Malley countered by discussing Maryland's opportunities for the middle class in the state. O'Malley referred specifically to a Pew study that ranked Maryland as one of the top three in upward economic mobility, while Texas was ranked among the worst. He also cited Maryland's number one ranking in innovation and entrepreneurship, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as further evidence.
In that discussion, Perry failed to mention that thanks to primarily progressive leadership in cities like Austin, companies like Apple agreed to institute a $12 per hour wage floor for workers- proving that the big tech names touted in Texas will give beyond the minimum wage if they have leadership that will push for the interests of their workers in mind.
The debate about wages then went into a discussion on health care- where Perry was asked how he expected the one in four Texans that are uninsured to have access to health insurance if they cannot afford it. Perry attempted to argue that despite Texans not being "forced to buy insurance," they still had access to "some of the finest health care in the world." Which we know is completely contradictory, since this access comes from being able to afford insurance or expanding health care coverage, which has not been made available for all Texans.
CUTTER: I also want to talk about opportunity. So for the uninsured -- one out of four Texans are uninsured -- where is their opportunity to be able to afford health insurance if you're not providing them the opportunity to get health insurance?
PERRY: Well, I think the real issue is here give people the freedom of whether or not they want to have the -- a good job to be able to take care of their family first. If you don't have that first, then their only alternative is some government assistance program.
CUTTER: But those people on minimum wage can't afford health insurance.
And the other piece of the argument...
PERRY: Again, I don't have to -- I can't believe when you focus on...
CUTTER: ... if you don't have insurance, you can't afford insurance, the only way you can get health care is to show up at the emergency room, which increases premiums for people like us, who have insurance. So what about the freedom of people who are paying their premiums every month? They're paying for the uncompensated care to people showing up at emergency rooms.
PERRY: I want to go back to this issue about the minimum-wage jobs that you all talk about and you want to focus on. And it sounds to me like you'd rather have no job than a minimum-wage job.
Governor Perry went on to compare the Affordable Care Act to the Titanic, while O'Malley argued that the flexibility of the Obamacare healthcare exchanges that will begin next month-- despite any difficulties-- will provide people in Maryland a competitive advantage by allowing them to move through jobs without worrying about losing their health insurance. At the end of the debate, O'Malley invited Perry to learn from other governors around the state to understand the practical benefit of expanding health care:
"You should come to the National Governors Association meetings again," he said. "I know Texas seceded from the National Governors Association, but if you came, you might be able to learn from the other governors that are actually implementing [Obamacare], doing it well, and actually doing a better job of supporting an innovation economy and their workers' well being."
It's hard to determine the reach of Perry's messaging, due to its lack of flexibility and significant efforts from within Texas and around the country to debunk the "Texas Miracle." The facts about Texas' low ranking in vital services and quality of life seem to become even more well known the more Rick Perry speaks to other states. As he continues to shop around Texas' reputation throughout the US, it's likely that the efforts like those seen in Maryland to push back against Perry's hypocrisy will only strengthen.