Texans like Rick Perry, Chuck Norris, and Ron Paul are talking to the media about secession possibilities—and folks apparently take the bluster seriously. How serious are they? Joaquin Phoenix serious? Stephen Colbert serious? Or Jefferson Davis serious?
Norris already has his sights on the presidency of Texas, having played a Texas Ranger for eight years on TV.
Paul seems even to be under the impression that the United States of America “seceded” from Great Britain. Is Texas a colony, and nobody told me? Weren’t Texans allowed to vote in 2008? Weren’t their votes counted? Didn’t their 34 electoral votes go to McCain?
In 2000 and 2004 several high-profile lefties and serious liberals threatened to move out of the country if Bush won the Presidency. I’m not sure what happened. Did they? I don’t recall any follow-up in the press, though I’m aware that Johnny Depp lived in France for a good part of the last decade, for whatever reasons beyond the obvious one: Vanessa Paradis.
And how many anti-Bush expatriates gave up their U.S. citizenship, or even threatened to do so? Any?
But I don’t recall any state, however left-leaning, threatening to secede from the union during the eight years of Bush’s Presidency. Correct me if I’m wrong.
So why is it that liberals—supposedly the collectivists in the pack—get pissed off and threaten to move away on their lonesome; but conservatives—supposedly the rugged individualists—insist on everybody else in their state having to vamoose with them? (It follows, though, in a way, since a good many conservatives believe that if they personally do not want to have an abortion, nobody should be allowed to have an abortion.)
And didn’t 44 percent of Texas voters vote for Obama? What would happen to them? Would they, like the Loyalists of 1776, be tarred and feathered? Would they, like 20 percent of the Loyalists in 1783 —including thousands of black Loyalists—at least those who were freed from slavery by the British and not recaptured by their Patriot masters, move to Canada, the Bahamas, and elsewhere? (Iowa?)
And, besides, during the Revolutionary War, Patriots outnumbered Loyalists 4 to 1, whereas in Texas the ratio is somewhat closer to even. It might be difficult to tar and feather 44 percent of the population, even if they are Democrats.
I’m inclined to think the secession talk is bullplop, and I’m a bit shocked that anyone would invest any emotion—outrage or hell-yeah—in it. Coming from the mouths of Republicans, it sounds like a threat to take all their toys up and go home. Texas doesn’t want to play anymore.
So far, my favorite response has been actor Steven Weber’s: “Hey, Gov. Perry: don't let Democracy hit you on the ass on your way out!”
Nate Silver projects that, without Texas, Democrats could have a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate. Good news for hardshell partisans, perhaps, but I prefer a divided government for, ideally, the invaluable dialogue on important issues, not at all for the real-world impasse of political games-playing.
All of this bluster has some serious repercussions, to be sure. They are hard to see, though, for all the comic relief bubbling up from Republican leadership—as denuded now, post Bush, as the Wizard after Toto pulled back the curtain.
Except perhaps for Christian theocracy, some form of libertarianism looks like the only viable move for the G.O.P. right now. And if all libertarian-minded Republicans from the 49 other states flocked to an independent Federal Republic of Texas, we could end up with two one-party governments lobbing missiles (or, more likely, only IOUs) over the Red River.