This reference to secession by Texas Gov. Rick Perry has actually flipped the light switch on for some people as to the extreme nature of the rhetoric coming from the hard right. Let's be clear - for eight years, George Bush broke the economy, rang up massive debt, started unnecessary wars, wiretapped American citizens and committed torture in our name, and crickets from these folks. In under 100 days, Obama has inspired cries of secession. I guess the tax cut wasn't big enough.
PERRY: Oh, I think there’s a lot of different scenarios. Texas is a unique place. When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. My hope is that America, and Washington in particular, pays attention. We’ve got a great Union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what might come out of that.
Earlier, I remarked, tongue partially in cheek, that Texas ought to secede for the good of the nation. But let me acknowledge the fine Texas Democrats down there who pushed back on this today. Sen. Rodney Ellis slammed Perry pretty hard, and Rep. Jim Dunnam went further:
I love Texas.
I am fortunate that my great-grandparents moved to Texas over 100 years ago, and I am deeply proud of our state.
Every 2 years, my colleagues in the Legislature and I spend time away from our families trying to make Texas a better place. I am honored and privileged to do so.
However, I am also an American. And I am proud to be an American. There is even a song I like that says that - you probably know it.
Every Texas elected official takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I take oaths seriously, and that one most of all. And every day during the legislative session we pledge "allegiance" to the flag of the United States.
We even require every public school child to recite the pledge -- every day. That is "one nation, under God, indivisible."
Yesterday, our Governor had the opportunity to disavow anti-American rhetoric of secession. He chose not to, and instead he chose affirm those who believe and actually contemplate that our nation is divisible.
What do I say to my youngest daughter when she asks "why do I recite the pledge every day at school, if our Governor doesn't believe it?"
Perry has since tried to walk this back, but not many people are buying it. But if a Republican said it and it's divisive, you can be sure there are enough party leaders willing to defend him. Rush Limbaugh dug it. And Tom DeLay made up a bunch of gobbledygook to try and defend this.
Q: You can’t secede from the Union!
DeLAY: Texas was a republic. It joined the Union by treaty. There’s a process in the treaty by which Texas could divide into five states. If we invoke that, and the last time it was voted on was 1985, the United States Senate would kick us out and nullify the treaty because they’re not going to allow 10 new Texas senators into the Senate. That’s how you secede.
Chris Matthews kept asking DeLay, who's under indictment, what the hell Perry was doing inflaming the public with this kind of rhetoric, the kind that killed 600,000 people in the Civil War, and DeLay fell back on a bunch of talk about the 10th Amendment (which is not germane), and he really couldn't wriggle out of it.
By the way, this is spreading. The Georgia State Senate has threatened to secede as well.
Republicans have seriously gone around the bend. John Aravosis has this right:
The Republican party has a serious problem with extremists, not just in its midst, but among its leadership and its key allies in the faux media (FOX News) and its grassroots (Limbaugh, the blogs, and the religious right). The GOP is quite literally pushing their most extreme followers to violence. And now that they're calling on the government to ignore known terrorist threats, it's only a matter of time before something violent happens, and then the Republican party will find itself out of power permanently.