MSNBC's Harris-Perry: Tea Partiers 'Don't Care If It Hurts People'

Appearing as a guest on Friday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry asserted that Tea Party Republicans "don't care if it hurts people" when they oppose government programs like ObamaCare.

As she discussed with host Al Sharpton whether Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz could be considered a "populist," Harris-Perry brought up opposition to Medicaid expansion by some Republicans:

So what we do see is not so much populism, but a kind of ideological rigidity that says we don't care if it hurts people. We are just going to have a very strong and consistent stance that we want government to be so ineffective, so incapable of doing anything that it can't even help people who need the most help.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, October 25, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: Melissa, you know, what is interesting is we found out yesterday that even though Senator Cruz has been railing against the Affordable Care Act every chance he get, he also has been trying to pretend he's a populist. Listen to this.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX): Millionaires and billionaires are doing just great. I think one of the, in fact, the biggest lie in politics is the lie the Republicans are the party of the rich. The American people are hurting. This is a difficult time. Look, the very rich, they're doing fine.

SHARPTON: So he likes to pretend he's this populist. But yesterday we learned he gets his own personal health care from his wife's Goldman Sachs plan. It's a Cadillac plan at that. It's worth $20,000. Now, to put that in perspective, a Texan working a full-time minimum wage job just makes $15,080.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, look, I think part of what's going on here, I think, for me, is a surprise about what this Republican Party is. So I think Ted Cruz is not completely wrong when he makes that point that they are not necessarily the party of the wealthy. And all that I mean by that is that the Tea Party arm of the Republican Party now is actually making policies. And it is behaving in a way that is, in fact, not good for the economic engines of Wall Street, of health insurance plans, and kind of all of these sort of big economic interests that we normally would have seen a Republican Party bowing to.

So let's just take, for example, the Medicaid expansion in the states. Look, many private hospitals, many doctors and physicians, and much of sort of the economy of many of these states would prefer for those Republican governors to take the Medicaid expansion because they want to be able to serve those additional people. So what we do see is not so much populism, but a kind of ideological rigidity that says we don't care if it hurts people. We are just going to have a very strong and consistent stance that we want government to be so ineffective, so incapable of doing anything that it can't even help people who need the most help.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.