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Tilting at Windmills

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April 17, 2009

LOOKING AT THE SECESSION GLASS AS HALF-FULL.... This week's secession talk from, among others, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), has been a little jarring. Even Fox News' Geraldo Rivera said "you have to be a lunatic" to advocate secession.

True, but while the governor of Texas appears to have suffered some kind of head trauma, what about the people of Texas? Rasmussen put a poll in the Lone Star State field.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of Texas voters say that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country.

However, the latest Rasmussen Reports poll in the state finds that if the matter was put to a vote, it wouldn't even be close. Three-fourths (75%) of Lone Star State voters would opt to remain in the United States. Only 18% would vote to secede, and seven percent (7%) are not sure what they'd choose.

Let's put aside the strange believe that Texas can simply walk away from the United States if it wants to, and focus on that second part. Three-fourths of Texans want to remain Americans; nearly one in five don't.

I'm not quite sure whether this is encouraging or not. Sure, I'm delighted that a clear majority of Americans in Texas aren't prepared to give up on the United States. But then there's that nagging realization that nearly one in five Texans supports secession.

The word "fringe" is, I suppose, subjective. In a political context, it implies extremists at the periphery, who hold radical beliefs far from the mainstream. 21st century secession should, by most measures, be considered a "fringe" idea.

But in Texas, can an idea be both "fringe" and embraced by 18% of the state?

Here's hoping the Rasmussen poll is exaggerating the number.

Steve Benen 11:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

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Comments

I'd like to see a poll of Americans outside of Texas as to what percent would like to see Texas leave the U.S.A. Considering they gave us Phil Gramm, Tom Delay and Dubya, I bet we'd beat the 18% figure by a nice margin!

Posted by: ExFL on April 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

So who gets to keep the Army?
.
You know how ugly divorces can get!

Posted by: Paul Dirks on April 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Rick Perry and the rest of the Texas Secessionists can be aptly described as:
Little Boys in Big Boy Pants

Posted by: Former Dan on April 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Texas and its inhabitants - at least the many I've known - have always "felt" they lived in a semi-autonomous "country." After all, the place was a separate country for a while. Take a look at the nation's electric grid, for example ... Texas is not directly connected to the rest of the country, it maintains its own time base (60 Hz) but can fluctuate a bit since its only connections are by DC tielies, not direct AC connections. And ERCOT, its grid operator, is the only state or regional system NOT REGULATED by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). So, utility and energy-wise, it's a separate country today.

And - as far as we Coloradans are concerned, they're free to leave anytime :-)

Posted by: Will Flood on April 17, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, I'm delighted that a clear majority of Americans in Texas aren't prepared to give up on the United States.

Why? let the SOBs go and let them take their their arrogance, right wing billionaires, and faux cowboy independence (propped up by the federal largesse that it suits them to accept) with them. Oh, they can also, at mimimum, take with them Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Loiisiana, Soputh Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida. Adios, wingnuts.

Posted by: Marlowe on April 17, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Contrast the 18% who support secession with the number of Americans who believe in ghosts and the 18% becomes less shocking.

I think it's safe to call these guys fringe anyway.

Posted by: Herb on April 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, 18% might be low.

Look at the figures for hard-right (and I mean hard right, like Le Pen, or Strauss, or Japan-did-no-wrong) beliefs in developed countries. The percentage that holds them is remarkably consistent -- basically in the 20s.

More than 1 in 5 Americans still think Bush did a good job! It's more like 1 in 3 or 4!

And the "right to secede" is part of the "Republic of Texas" mythology that afflicts vast swathes of the state.

Posted by: bleh on April 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Look, with all due respect to non-Texans, this is what you might call common wisdom in Texas. It kind of goes along with their anti-litter campaign slogan: "Don't Mess With Texas".

The only thing interesting in this story is that the governor is saying it. But everyone living in Texas has heard this on probably a weekly basis, if not more.

I grew up there and didn't hang out with any republicans, well, maybe one...but this is just something that people say all the time down there. Not everyone, obviously. The poll is probably correct. Maybe 30% of the people at least think that it is possible. Everyone else is polite enough to never argue the subject if anyone brings it up. I mean it is literally about as useful as arguing about gun control with someone who drive around with a shotgun mounted in the cab of their truck.

But leave it to the uninitiated to make a big deal about it.

If this ever dies down, as a Texan about Oklahoma or Louisiana. You might be similarly bewildered at what they think and will say.

Posted by: tomj on April 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Since there's always been that weird myth that there's a clause in Texas's charter that allows them to withdraw from the union at any time, I'm not surprised that some people believe it. If otherwise sensible people can believe that Bill Gates is e-mailing random people so he can give them $1 million, it doesn't seem that strange to me that some people will believe the urban legend about Texas being a republic.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 17, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I am kind of surprised you are still revisiting this subject. It is kind of a non-story, even if a poll was taken. We would not be lucky enough to get rid of them.

Posted by: Andrew on April 17, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a native Texan, it is helpful to think of my fellow Texans as fourteen year olds: immature kids posturing and pretending they are adults.

On behalf those of us here who do not fit the stereotype, I apologize.

Posted by: monoglot on April 17, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

But then there's that nagging realization that nearly one in five Texans supports secession.

What? A lot of big talk from Texans?

I declare.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 17, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Secessionist dreams are not merely the province of the right. For example, Ernest Callenbach's novel, "Ecotopia," is still popular among the left-coast greens.

Back in the 1970s I had a professor who argued that the U.S. had become too big to be governable. This view wasn't grounded in a strong ideological stance, but rather from frustration with political gridlock. This professor had spent considerable time in Europe and returned to the U.S. with the view that smaller-scale governments can be both more responsive to the electorate and efficiently operated.

No, I'm not signaling support for the Republicans' escapist tantrums. Rather, I'd suggest that there is a reasonable debate to be had about the most effective scale of government. This is not a discussion which will go away; the best we can hope for is better facts and logic.

Posted by: Dr Lemming on April 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

But then there's that nagging realization that nearly one in five Texans supports secession.

These figures are not so hard to believe. Those one in five Texans would probably like to form their own independent country regardless of current political debate. Texas has a very proud independent culture that you will find in no other state. Gov Perry is using that for his own politcal grand standing.

A friend of mine who was in the Army told me once that most of the guys in boot from different parts of the country kept a picture of the girlfriend or something sentimental in their front pocket. All the guys from texas kept a small Texas flag. Can you see a Connecticut recruit carrying a Connecticut flag as the one thing they value most??

Posted by: Mick on April 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

It's worth noting that the secessionists are mostly members of the "Party of Lincoln."

Posted by: Okie on April 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

But leave it to the uninitiated to make a big deal about it.

That's because we're not judging Texas by the standards of Texas as you are. We're judging it by the standards of the entire rest of the country and world.

But hey, here in Illinois our governors keep going to jail. I don't see why the rest of the country keeps making such a big deal out of it. For the "uninitiated," look, it's just Illinois tradition, okay?

Posted by: shortstop on April 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

If it came to it, would 18% of Texans vote to secede? That's a different question I think.

Posted by: Halfdan on April 17, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I think this is one of those misleading polls in which people are willing to answer in a different way than they'd actually vote. I think a majority of that 18% loves the idea of independence as much as it loves bluster.

It's funny that Texans are calling for secession because of high taxes, when their very own George W. Bush spent at least a trillion dollars on an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Posted by: Bob B. on April 17, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Can you see a Connecticut recruit carrying a Connecticut flag as the one thing they value most??

Hee. I bet most of them wouldn't even recognize one.

I'm always amused at the ubiquitousness of the Texas flag when I go down there. They have the Lone Star on toilets in ladies' rooms, FCS. Cracks me up.

Posted by: shortstop on April 17, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

OT, but kinda related -- When I read stuff like this, I think of our Founding Fathers. Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, etc. were a bunch of hotheads. These guys really wanted independence, but I wonder how many of their fellow countrymen really supported a revolution? And -- as far as I know, none of the aforementioned fought in the Revolutionary War.

Posted by: pol on April 17, 2009 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time people thought the idea of homosexual marriage was "fringe" too.

My how time changes one's perceptions.

Secession is a legitimate right and has been accepted as such around the world. If secession is good enough for Slovakia, East Timor or Kosovo (illegal or not) then why not inside the U.S.?

American shouldn't lecture the rest of the world on "democracy" and human rights and not practice it within its own territory.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on April 17, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the email I sent to Gov. Goodhair this morning. Sill waiting his response.

Dear Governor Perry,

As a child growing up in Texas I was always proud of our state's singular right to secede from the union and I am SOOO excited to hear you are actually considering it. We live in North Carolina now but want to return to Texas some day soon. How will Texas secession affect our residency status? Should we move there before the act to protect our Texas citizenship? Will our son who was born in Texas but lived most of his life in the United States be granted dual citizenship?

Will you require that everyone speak Texan and say "fixin' to"? Exactly how many guns will be required to be a citizen of Texas? How are you going to protect the borders? I mean, you don't exactly have the best neighbors--Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico. Will you give commie liberal Austin to the U.S. and wall it off--kinda like Berlin? Do you plan to nationalize NASA? Cuz that would be COOL! And finally, what will you do with Sheila Jackson Lee? I imagine you'll declare her an enemy combatant and send her to Galveston, which is clearly the best choice to replicate Gitmo.

Please respond as quickly as possible because I'm fixin' to go to the gun shop right after I finish off this last tall boy.

Posted by: Sandy on April 17, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I thought I was being slightly hysterical in previous posts when I said that the unhinged reaction of conservatives to Obama's election reminded me of Southerners after Lincoln's election and that if we were living 160 years ago the South would have split away again. But I suppose all this secession talk is nothing more than the common tendency of separatism that inevitably accompanies right wing mindsets.

The political scientist Ted Lowi in his 1994 book The End of the Republican Era notes that every ideology has a "fatal flaw," and the fatal flaw for right wing conservatism is that it can only govern, or participate, in a political environment that is homogeneous. Thus, it is totally unsuited for a diverse and pluralistic democracy like ours. So long as conservatives were in control they thought of themselves as loyal Americans. But now that they are on the outs they literally feel like aliens in their own land, and they are mad as hell about it. This explains the hysterical and pointless "tea party" protests this week which, as many pointed out, really did not have a coherent message. They were nothing more than a primal scream by the frustrated hardline right who can't stand the idea that they must live in a culture that has rejected their values and which they no longer control.

Posted by: Ted Frier on April 17, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

"American shouldn't lecture the rest of the world on "democracy" and human rights and not practice it within its own territory."

Yes, and how is it exactly that the US isn't practicing democracy in its own territory ? Are you advocating that we go ahead and hold a vote on secession ?

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on April 17, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think this is a big deal. I've lived in Texas briefly and known a lot of "Ex-Texans" and still have relatives there. That state is more full of itself than just about any other state in the union. Almost every Texan I have ever met, including the liberals and even anarchists believe in a sort of Texas exceptionalism myth and most think the US needs Texas more than Texas needs the US. Most have somehow convinced themselves that Texas is the largest state in the union, somehow dismissing Alaska (a state that also has a strong independent and exceptionalist myth)as mostly ice or their area is a trick of some sort of commie map-projectionist plot, because, you know, Greenland isn't as big as it looks on a map either.

18%of Texans want to secede? For Texas, that's refreshingly humble.

Posted by: adolphus on April 17, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

So dead on, let's read it again:

This explains the hysterical and pointless "tea party" protests this week which, as many pointed out, really did not have a coherent message. They were nothing more than a primal scream by the frustrated hardline right who can't stand the idea that they must live in a culture that has rejected their values and which they no longer control.

Posted by: shortstop on April 17, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Lunatic fringe
I know you're out there
You're in hiding
And you hold your meetings
We can hear you coming
We know what you're after
We're wise to you this time
We won't let you kill the laughter.

Lunatic fringe
In the twilight's last gleaming
This is open season
But you won't get too far
We know you've got to blame someone
For your own confusion
But we're on guard this time
Against your final solution

We can hear you coming
(We can hear you coming)
No you're not going to win this time
We can hear the footsteps
(We can hear the footsteps)
Way out along the walkway
Lunatic fringe
We know you're out there
But in these new dark ages
There will still be light

An eye for an eye;
Well before you go under...
Can you feel the resistance?
Can you feel the thunder?

--Lunatic Fringe from the Red Rider LP "As Far As Siam"

Posted by: Jimbo on April 17, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

A few times now, I think to show just how dismally low was the 20 something percent G.W. Bush managed to eke out in approval polls, I've gathered some polls that demonstrate the range of absurd propositions you can get 15-20% to support (racism, astrology, that sort of thing). Might make for a good blog post - and it's a pretty easy googling exercise.

But I agree, it's not heartening to know that one out of every five people holds ubelievably ridiculous views of the world.

Posted by: christor on April 17, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan's and Bush the Elder's continual demonizing of government as the problem has come home to roost, especially as we see the infusion of multitudes of home-schooled adults fumbling themselves through our institutions, and casting doubt on the very fabric of our democratic society. A generation of home-schooled children is now perpetuating misery upon our public square as they have been let to develop through a childhood spent more in private than in public!

Voices from the current conservative "movement" take our long established institutional framework to task if it doesn't accommodate their very whim and desire. These voices seemingly care not for the rule of law, the rule of the majority, or the rule of civil discourse.

They have yet to realize how Reagan and Bush's rhetoric worked for short political gain in the 1980s, but damaged our bodypolitik for generations to come! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 17, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

What? A lot of big talk from Texans?

Quaker nailed it.

This is nothing but puffery for most of that 18%.

They're the same people that when publicly offended in a honky tonk loudly bray "somebody is gonna get their ass kicked" while simultaneously devising the quickest way to make a plausibly manly exit.

Posted by: lobbygow on April 17, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a native, multi-generational Texan, so I can speak from experience. Texans are about half nuts. Nice folks, mostly, but nuts.

Posted by: Coop on April 17, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Any chance they'll take Alabama with them?

Posted by: Morbo on April 17, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

As noted upthread, Texan secessionism is rooted in the state's culture and is not anything to get worked up about. As for how the process would work, who better to explain it than Tom DeLay?

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 17, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, The Civil War ended before General Sherman got an opportunity to visit Austin. The good general burned several state capitals, (Jackson, MS, Milledgeville, GA (also burned the future capital, Atlanta) and Columbia SC). General Sherman was on the doorstep of Raleigh, NC when the remaining Confederate Army surrendered. This was an object lesson to the politicians. Texas politicians could have benefitted from better lessons about the downside of secession. The ill-fated attempt of Texas to invade NM and Colorado is the most lesson they got.

Posted by: bakho on April 17, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

I say let them go. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. And, sorry Texas -- you won't be a U.S. ally. You will be part of the Axis of Evil. We will build a really high wall between you and the rest of us. And if Mexico decides to take you back, you're on your own. Good luck with that. Oh yeah, and no dual citizenship.

It would be interesting to see how many presidential elections the Republicans can win without Texas.

Posted by: Hit the road jack on April 17, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

If you got rid of the wing nut part of the US, then Canada would join with America for sure. Win-win.

Posted by: Bob M on April 17, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

If the Texans were smart they would take the opportunity to break up into five separate states, then they would have quite the hold on the US Senate.

But that would mean they would no longer be BIG.

Posted by: Kurt on April 17, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

When Jacques Chirac went up against an openly racist (not to mention other aspects of his personality) opponent in the runoff a few years back, Jacques got 80% of the vote. That was supposedly a landslide, but I see it the same way Steve does.

One in five, I'm not sure what that means. I can't agree with the 26% Bush Approval rating hypothesis, because that goes both ways leaving the majority of Americans being crazy. Who knows.

Posted by: Louis Umerlik on April 17, 2009 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Geezzz.. f'r crhissakes, it's frakkin' Texas!!! As a native Texan, I can assure you, Texas is far more the "land o' loons" than Minnesota will ever be.

"Texas: It's A Whole Other Country" - the official visitor's bureau slogan.

Posted by: TCinLA on April 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

As a Texan (one, I plead, of the sane ones) let me 'splain.

Every kid takes Texas History in school (multiple grades worth) and is indoctrinated with the whole "We were Under Six Flags, we were a Republic, we fought 'em all and won" rhetoric.

Back then, Texas, as a part of the agreement to enter the Union, retained the right to split itself into as many as five states. It did NOT retain a right of secession.

But... it remains a popular myth. Mostly what you're seeing here is the fruit of the worst public education system in the nation.

Rick Perry still has great hair. He's still the principal goober in the state. And the legislature, which meets every two years for five months down here, is still riddled with the results of Tom Delay's gerrymandering of the early '00's.

We're working to fix this, but it'll take awhile. Just ignore all of this nonsense while we clean up after "Goodhair McDubya and the Tom Delay Clown Car," and try not to despise *all* of us, okay? :)

Posted by: Churchyard on April 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me for interrupting the serious discussion over crazy talk but did we get our knickers all in a wad like this when Vermont talked secession back in 2007 due to Bush getting us into the Iraq war? I mean I'm enjoying piling on like everyone else but I'm just sayin'

Ronald

Posted by: Ronald on April 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Polls don't measure what people think, they measure what people say. If you asked every Texan whether they support secession 18% would say yes, but that doesn't mean 18% actively desire it. How many people even gave the matter a second's thought before the pollster asked them that question?

Posted by: will on April 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think you'd find a similar percentage of people in Vermont favoring seccession. In fact, Vermont does have it's own seccessionist movement.

In the late 1980's a book illustrated by political cartoonist Jeff Danzinger talked about an independence movement (with tongue in cheek). The book was called "Out!" Maybe the title was misinterpreted and thus we now have marriage equality laws.

Posted by: tomb on April 17, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

This point has already been made above by other posters but I'd like to add my two cents:
Texans are a quirky people. Growing up, we get several _years_ of Texas history in elementary school. We take feild trips to things like Goliad, The Alamo, Washington on the Brazos, etc. Deep down, we really do think we can secede. Scandalous? Preposterous? Meh, don't overreact; it's part of that crazy Texas culture, of which we are proud. We're all a little nuts, and usually, it's harmless fun. Think of the Texan from the Simpsons...it's kinda like that.
Don't be too hard on us, just because we're different and a little silly. We are adolescent, in a way. Lighten up a bit. When your teenager throws a tantrum and tells you she doesn't love you any more, do you believe her? Just take what we say with a grain of salt and ignore Rick Perry, who is the king of the douche bags.
To appeal to the LCD, there's a lot of tough cowboy posturing done by soft politicians in cheap suits.
Right-wingers will always be wingers. Secession is a non-issue. Y'all need to take a breath and move on to more important issues.
Every state has a sterotype... Next let's talk about Florida, America's wang!

Posted by: cha on April 17, 2009 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

As a Texan, let me say this is just a normal part of being a Texan. I have had discussions with people (mostly democrats) about secession. Texas is about the 15th largest economy in the world with both energy and agricultural resources and a fairly diverse economy, along with constant tension with the greater U.S. and a geographic location that would allow us to leave more easily (unlike Kansas).

I'm liberal and gay, so my life would not improve with secession and I would vote against it, but when traveling internationally I still say I'm from Texas. It's just what Texans do.

One thing to remember is that people under 35 have grown up in a world where larger countries regularly break-up into smaller constituencies. It just doesn't seem as weird to us.

Posted by: Kineslaw on April 17, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

18% is 2/3 of the crazification factor, so I think that is probably about right. Add in the 7% who aren't sure, and the numbers are well within the margin of error. So, no - %18 believing something crazy no longer surprises me.

Posted by: Shawn on April 17, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think in the Bush years- and Reagan years - more than 18% of New York City dwellers may have told a pollster they would be in favor of Secession - As another Will points out, it is just a polling question.
It's silly but it comes up a lot, since NYC pays more to the Feds than it gets back, etc. etc.

There is less hear than meets the eye ...

Posted by: will h on April 17, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Secession is a legitimate right and has been accepted as such around the world. If secession is good enough for Slovakia, East Timor or Kosovo (illegal or not) then why not inside the U.S.?

Yes, let's have a bloody civil war right here at home with thousands dying in ethnic strife like in (former) Yugoslavia and East Timor! That sounds like a great idea!

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon you non-Texans all just wish you could have a lunatic fringe, little boy governor in big boy pants. He likes to wear a big boy hat, too.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on April 17, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Texas has given us Dubya, DeLay, Cornyn, and a whole slew of creeps, but it's also given us Molly Ivins, Anne Richards, Sarah Weddington, Kinky Friedman, and a whole slew of wonderful, larger than life people.

Posted by: citizenjane on April 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Back then, Texas, as a part of the agreement to enter the Union, retained the right to split itself into as many as five states.

That's covered by DeLay in the earlier linked video. In it, he says something like "If we split into five states, we wouldn't have to secede - they'd throw us out, because they don't want ten Texan senators in Washington!"

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 17, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes, let's have a bloody civil war right here at home with thousands dying in ethnic strife"

Slovakia peacfully seceeded from the old Czechslovakia as did many of the nations from the old Soviet Union. There is no need violence if you just it happen. Where the violence comes from is from the centralizers who wish to maintain their grasp on power.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on April 17, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

The survey I'd like to see is what national and international businesses based in Texas think about the idea of secession.

Posted by: Steve Smith on April 17, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

This professor had spent considerable time in Europe and returned to the U.S. with the view that smaller-scale governments can be both more responsive to the electorate and efficiently operated.

Well, apparently California still still wouldn't be small enough by itself, because its legislature seems to be in a perpetual state of gridlock.
As for Texas, I don't think a single person there has seriously considered the consequences of secession, probably because none of them are actually serious about it. I mean really, most Texans live in urban/suburban areas, work and live like everyone else in the rest of the country. They don't ride horses and the beds of their trucks don't hold anything but groceries. They're no more rugged independent ranchers than George W. Bush was.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 17, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Where the violence comes from is from the centralizers who wish to maintain their grasp on power.

Well, most Texans are still with the "centralizers"--so you can dispense with the condescending tone. Obama isn't some repressive dictator, we just overwhelmingly elected him in a free and fair election, and this isn't the old Soviet Union. Although if you're getting your information from Foxnews, you might actually believe that.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 17, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

From the online dictionary --
se·di·tion (s-dshn)
n.
1. Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state.
2. Insurrection; rebellion.

Posted by: Greg Worley on April 17, 2009 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

1. It's Rasmussen.

2. Anyone in favor of secession is an idiot, and I'd bet money they don't actually know what it even means, in either literal terms or at least practical terms.

3. As the tea parties have most recently shown, people are upset. They're blowing steam. I'd bet everything I own that if it really came down to it, especially once any effects were felt, a majority of that 18% would do nothing or actively change their mind.

It's a dumb poll. Treat it accordingly.

Posted by: Roq on April 17, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

From the first Texas Ordinance of Secession, 1861:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/secesson.htm

Courtesy of Lone Star Junction, a Texas history resource.

Posted by: JayDenver on April 17, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Perry is a few cows short of a herd.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 17, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Marlowe, I'll trade Florida for Utah.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on April 17, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

While secession may seem like something that CAN be on the table, we have to remember that the LAST time a state tried to secede from the Union, more Americans died than in any other war. I am, of course, speaking of the Civil War, which was anything but civil.

THERE IS NO MECHANISM FOR SECESSION FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FOLKS.

Do those 18% of Texans want to test out the resolve of the U.S. Government like they did 148 years ago?

I can tell you right now, the U.S. government will, in fact, fight them - AGAIN.

And Texas will lose.

And we will have an army of occupation for a LONG time. Texas and Texans will become personna non grata for probably 100 years, just like the South was.

POSSIBLE OUTGROWTHS OF SUCH AN UNSUCCESSFUL MOVE:

1. The flag of independent Texas will be treated like the Stars and Bars are.
2. They will NOT be treated as equals in the U.S. for a very long time.
3. They will have carpetbaggers from the North, as those loyal to independent Texas will be fobidden to serve in the U.S. government, and others will need to take their places, ones the U.S. government feels it can trust.
4. TEXANS WILL BE SEEN AND LABELED "TERRORISTS."
5. Texans will have to earn their way back into polite society and the good graces of the other 49 states - and that may take 4-5 generations.
6. The oil wells in Texas - and yes they do still have functioning ones, mostly out in the Gulf of Mexico, I think) - might be confiscated. (Without the income from those, what effect might that have on Texans' economy? And their hubris?)
7. Rick Perry will go down in history next to Jefferson Davis and Benedict Arnold.
8. Texas will - more or less - lose all those military bases, which are a huge part of their economy. (Those bases, of course, will be the focal point of the occupation.)
9. Will Texans be treated like Iraqis?
10. Texas will become a conduit for drugs into the U.S., bringing much of the violence that is occurring in Mexico right now into Texas.
11. A good question is this: What will happen to the status of Mexican-Americans living in Texas?

Those are just the ones that come to mind. . .

People, we all really know what such an attitude is: Texans think that their shit don't stink, that they are somehow more exceptional than even normal American exceptionalism. They act is if they could have become an independent country without the aid of the U.S. government and thousands of UNITED STATES CITIZENS, such as Davy Crockett, who was from Tennessee (but whom Texans righteously treat/claim as their own).

Texans believe they did it all on their own - you know, rugged individualism, the wrong-headed mindset that bankrupted the entire globe.

Rick Perry is such a stupid f***, right out of the mold of another dumb ass.

.

Posted by: SteveGinIL on April 17, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.thresheronline.com/archives/1031

I hail, originally, from Texas. The notion that 1/3rd of Texans believe that they have the right to form their own country isn't as odd as you might think. As I stated in my post on this topic from yesterday (available at the link above):

"I wonder, though, about the stance that Perry is claiming. There is a myth common to Texans: that, as part of the 1845 Annexation of Texas Joint Resolution of Congress, the Republic of Texas retained the right to secede at its own will. This is not true; but Texas History classes, required study for all Texas 7th Graders, are often taught by folk-story, and many, many, Texas children grow up believing this as fact. Odds are that Perry knows better, but was banking on the fact that the audience does not. Certainly this is better than the alternative."

The whole post was kind of cute, if I do say so myself. You should check it out.

Posted by: Stephen Smith on April 17, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

This whole secession thing may not actually be a bad idea. In one swoop, the national IQ will rise about 10 points, I reckon. Add Kansas and Utah - 20 point rise, minimum!

Posted by: numi on April 17, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

If Texas were not a state between 2000 and 2008, who would have been elected president?

As a Texan, I find this thread hilarious (and a bit sad). But look on the bright side; at least Texas pride is not a holdover of a time of bigotry (as was the case with the Confederate flag issue).

Posted by: Robert Nagle on April 17, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Can you see a Connecticut recruit carrying a Connecticut flag as the one thing they value most??

Actually, I kept a little pendant of the Charter Oak on my dog tags and claimed it was a religious medallion of the Tree of Life. But then, I'm a card-carrying member of Daughters of the American Revolution, with ancestors who fought in the Continental Army.

The "we have a secession clause" is pure wishful thinking on the part of ignorant Texans. It's a fairy tale. The terms of Annexation include the right to split into several smaller states, but there is no right-to-secede-at-any-time clause. To say otherwise walks a line close to unlawful sedition, and where I'm from we take that shit seriously.

Posted by: Keori on April 17, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

If Texas seceded maybe this Californian could give up on her secessionist dreams.

Not seriously, but if you asked me in a poll if I thought we should, in most of my adult life I would have answered yes.

Posted by: CalKate on April 17, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sean Scallon

Slovakia peacefully seceeded from the old Czechslovakia as did many of the nations from the old Soviet Union. There is no need violence if you just it happen. Where the violence comes from is from the centralizers who wish to maintain their grasp on power.

If I recall correctly, the USSR had a MECHANISM, built into their Constitution, by which those soviets/republics COULD secede. The Baltic states were actually in the process of secession at the time the USSR collapsed, so they never had to finish the process.

But the U.S. simply does not have such a mechanism - which I actually think is something we SHOULD have. While I think Texans would be totally jaggoffs if they seceded (or tried to), that is more because of their attitude than the overall principle.

Does anyone here remember the days when getting divorced was a non-no? When it was difficult? People thought they HAD to stay together. States that join should also have the right to divorce amicably.

Also, you're a bit off on your characterization of Slovakia "seceding" from Czechoslovakia. From Wikipedia,

In July 1992 Slovakia, led by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar, declared itself a sovereign state, meaning that its laws took precedence over those of the federal government. Throughout the Autumn of 1992, Mečiar and Czech Prime Minister Václav Klaus negotiated the details for disbanding the federation. In November the federal parliament voted to dissolve the country officially on December 31, 1992. Slovakia and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after January 1, 1993, an event sometimes called the Velvet Divorce.

It was a dissolution, not a secession. BOTH new nations decided to disband Czechoslovakia.

And one more thing:

The situation in Chechnya has come about because not ALL of the former states of the USSR were allowed to create their own nations. Once out, the new republics have allowed other ones to split off. And they are fighting over this, as we speak.

Do we want Texas to be our Chechnya?

Posted by: SteveGinIL on April 17, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes Steve,
Those very liberal USSR constitutional clauses that allowed Hungary to secede in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968

Posted by: Botecelli on April 17, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think bleh is right, for some reason, 20% seems to be a reliable percentage of the lunatic fringe in most countries.

I've always maintained that if Adolf Hitler came along today, wrapped in an American flag and carrying a cross, one-fifth of our countrymen would vote for him in a heartbeat.

Posted by: mikeypal on April 17, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Soooo...can we just force that 18% to secede? Give 'em a nice island somewhere, call it West Texas or New Texas. Chuck Norris can even be President, for all I care.

And can we also force secede anyone who thinks 'because we was raised that way' or 'that's what dey dun teached us in skoo' is a valid excuse for maintaining apocryphal or jingoist views?

Sounds like the same tripe that I've heard used to justify racism.

Posted by: doubtful on April 17, 2009 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, Steve, nationwide a solid 20% of USAmericans are consistently jugheaded idiots, as demonstrated by their unwavering support for GWB. That a mere 18% of TXans are jugheaded idiots should be seen as a good sign.

Posted by: Disputo on April 17, 2009 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

All you have to read is the comment
Posted by: tomj on April 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM

The rest of you, calm down and go read the comics. Governor Hair is not taken seriously by more than 20%-- even if they voted for him. Number 2-- all this PRESS.. we love it.

BTW: Texans take the state flag and the US flag real seriously. Don't challenge our loyalty.

Posted by: Satch III on April 18, 2009 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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