How Anti-Obama Republicans In Congress Have Effectively Poisoned The Country—In Two Sentences

There it was right there in a Reuters story about how 24% of Americans—24 bleeping percent—“strongly supported or tended to support” their particular states leaving the union. There it was right there for all of us who have followed politics since the age of Obama to see. Right there in two sad sentences from the story:

I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done.

That was said by a confused man named Roy Gustafson, from Camden, South Carolina. Roy, the story goes, is “on disability payments” and is quoted as saying, “The state would be better off handling things on its own.”

I will try to ignore the utter ignorance behind the idea that any state in this union would be better off “on its own.” And I will try to ignore the sad misapprehension of reality that a man on federal “disability payments” possesses when he says things would be better if there were no federal government to which his state owed its allegiance, a state, by the way, dominated by Tea Party Republicans who would most surely cut off his disability payments faster than old Roy could say “secession.”

Just look at those first two sentences: It doesn’t matter “which political party is running things. Nothing gets done.” That, my friends, is the product of years of Republican obstruction and obfuscation (despite the recent legislative endorsement of part of President Obama’s ISIL strategy).

And you have to hand it to Republicans. For all their tactics in Congress, for all their vacations and filibusters and wasted time on doomed-to-fail legislation regarding ObamaCare and abortion, too many people still don’t recognize whose fault it is that “nothing gets done.” In fact, a large number of folks will run, not walk, to the nearest polling place in November and attempt to put even more Republicans in Congress.



Joplin’s Ron Richard And Why Missouri Is Headed “South”

All you need to know about the state of politics here in Missouri is found in this lede today from the Associated Press:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Federal agents would be sent to jail for enforcing some federal gun control laws under legislation endorsed by a Missouri House panel.

The ridiculous and unconstitutional quasi-secessionist legislation passed the state senate last month. In the mean time, Joplin’s Ron Richard, who is the Senate Majority Leader and who helped craft this revised version of a bill that he voted against last year, said this recently:

We’re the poster child for the second amendment in the country. 

No, we’re the poster child for stupidity, legislative malfeasance, and wasting government resources, since many millions will be needed to defend this nutty idea in court, if it ever becomes law.

In the mean time, to give you a further idea of what it is like here in regressive Missouri, made so with a lot of help from Joplin’s most important state legislator since Moses was floating on the Nile, try this:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said Thursday he support using a rarely used Senate procedure to force a vote on legislation that would triple the current 24-hour waiting period for abortions.

Richard’s response to those who thought that Democrats, what few there are, in the state senate might not like his use of this procedural tactic—which hasn’t been used since 2007, and then, too, on an anti-choice bill—was a classic authoritarian impulse:

We’ve gotten along very well. We’re just in the majority, and I want to do what I want to do.

Some day, God or Allah or demographics willing, the reactionaries won’t be in the majority here in Missouri. But they are in the process of winning the race to the bottom and help better arrive real soon.

Civil War? What Civil War?

Ron Paul, hero to a lot of middle school-minded Americans, said on Sunday:

If a people cannot secede from an oppressive government, they cannot truly be considered free.

Paul was commenting on “all the recent talk of secession” going on in the reddest hearts in the reddest parts of the country.

Of course there really isn’t any serious talk of secession going on, but Ron Paul, who is mercifully retiring from Congress, doesn’t want to miss a chance to demonstrate just why libertarian Republicanism isn’t a grown-up political philosophy.

Paul asked:

Is it treasonous to want to secede from the United States? 

Why, yes, it is, Ronny Reb. We have been there, done that, remember? Yep, he does remember:

Many think the question of secession was settled by our Civil War.  On the contrary; the principles of self-governance and voluntary association are at the core of our founding.

In the Paulian mind, in the mind of a man with a kid’s view of politics, the Civil War didn’t mean squat. Nothing, apparently, was settled by the often-ugly death of 600,000+ Americans in our War of Northern/Southern Aggression, the name dependent on what side your ancestors were on.  All states are free to dissociate themselves from the Founders’ creation at the drop of a hat, or at the drop of a black man’s hat, he says.

Paul continued:

There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents.

Nope. That’s right. There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about “wanting” such a thing, but there is something treasonous and unpatriotic about actually fighting—with real guns, for God’s sake—for such a thing. And if we are not talking about real guns here, then what the bleep are we talking about? Does anyone think President Obama is going to say to the Ron Pauls of Texas: Go ahead, go your own way? Secession talk means nothing if it doesn’t mean fighting for it with guns.

But what is it that has Ron Paul’s rebellious spirit all aglow? What is it that has him writing such nugatory nonsense?

Stupidly, he seems to be, above all, upset about the Affordable Care Act:

It remains to be seen what will happen in states that are refusing to comply with the deeply unpopular mandates of Obamacare by not setting up healthcare exchanges.  It appears the Federal government will not respect those decisions either.

Respect what decisions? If a state is unable or unwilling to comply with the law, the law—apparently a foreign concept to Paulmandates that the federal government set up those exchanges. The federal government will respect any state’s decision not to set up the health insurance exchanges by setting them up itself. As John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, said, his state “will not run an ObamaCare health exchange, but will instead leave that to the federal government to do.”

Got that Ronny Reb? If states don’t want to do it, The Scary Negro In The White’s House will take up the slack.

Finally, Ron Paul wrote:

In a free country, governments derive their power from the consent of the governed. When the people have very clearly withdrawn their consent for a law, the discussion should be over. 

The “discussion should be over” if people in a state “have very clearly withdrawn their consent for a law“? Huh? Is that all it takes to dissolve our Union? A state simply has to declare that, say, it will not abide any more meat inspectors and, voilà,  a new Republic of Texas is born?

If Ron Paul had been a big shot politician in the 1960s, when landmark civil rights legislation was passed, he would surely have said that states had the right to secede over whether blacks could piss in white toilets or whether blacks could sit in the front of white buses or whether blacks could vote in white elections.

But, thankfully, this isn’t the 1960s, or, more to the point, the 1860s, and Ron Paul is in a very tiny minority, a minority that looks more childish every day, a minority that will soon be without Ron Paul as its intellectually callow leader.

One Nation, But Only Under A Republican God

There are two stories in the news today that I think are related, even though at first glance they don’t appear to be.

Here’s the first story from Reuters:

CHICAGO, Nov 12 – Political watchdog and secularist groups are asking the U.S. government to investigate whether Catholic bishops and a Christian evangelical group headed by preacher Billy Graham should lose tax breaks for telling followers how to vote in this year’s election.

Those tax breaks are reportedly “worth $145 billion in the past decade.” There was no comment from a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, but a spokesman for Billy Graham, who actually signed his ad, said that it did not mention any candidate or political party. Hmm.

On Sunday, November 4—two days before the election—this very expensive full-page ad appeared in the Joplin Globe:

In the corner it says, “Paid Advertisement By The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,” and it is obvious the ad, which appeared in numerous publications, was a call to vote for Romney-Ryan and the Republican Party.

But the first thing I thought about when I saw that ad was how much money my late mother donated to Billy Graham and how disappointed she, as a life-long Democrat, would be to see what Graham had done.

I also thought about something else. When I was a kid, several of Billy Graham’s books were in the house, including a book that scared me to death, “World Aflame.” If nothing else, it was the cover that frightened me:

I was seven years old when that book came out. The earth engulfed in flames, and the threat of eternal damnation awaiting those who didn’t surrender to Jesus, tends to make a kid a little fearful, the kind of fear that never quite disappears, no matter how old one gets or how far one gets from the source.

In any case, the basis of Graham’s pro-Romney, pro-Republican political ad, and his ministry in general, is the kind of fear I felt profoundly as a kid, when I understood what that book was about. The line in the political ad about it being “vitally important” that “we” vote for “candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel” is telling.

In “World Aflame,” Graham wrote:

The Bible teaches that God is indeed a God of judgment, wrath, and anger.

And he speculated in the book that God will ultimately use “the elemental and creative form of fire” to destroy this earth and “bring into being” a new one, “a fire of judgment upon the wicked world.” He continued:

I believe the earth will be consumed by fire, not only because God said it, but because science has created weapons that can do it.

Consumed by fire. That’s the price to be paid for not following biblical principles, for not supporting the nation of Israel, which folks like Graham believe is the key to the End Times.

Consumed by fire. Presumably, that’s the price to be paid for not supporting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and the Republicans. What else can “vitally important” mean in the context of Billy Graham’s consumed-by-fire ministry, the same ministry that paid for that ad?

I mention all that to make the point that some of the people who would be moved by a Billy Graham ad, moved by a theological appeal to vote for Republicans, moved by a Bible-based fear, see themselves as living in an entirely different country than the one I live in. These folks were genuinely shocked that Barack Obama won a second term. They, like Mitt Romney himself, honestly could not believe it. Why didn’t the Bible-based fear work this time?

What kind of country is this? they asked. What happened to our America? The last line in Graham’s ad was this:

Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.

Translation: If you don’t vote for Republicans then “one nation under God” is in jeopardy.

Yes, in jeopardy. And that leads me to the second story that came out today:

Just a week after President Barack Obama was re-elected, a petition by Texans for the right to secede from the rest of the country has garnered some 64,000 signatures, many more than the 25,000 signature threshold needed to get a response from the Obama administration.

The petition was made on the government’s “We the People” petitioning web site, along with secession petitions from at least 18 other states.

As I write, Texas now has more than 72,000 signatures. Locally, the Missouri secession petition has over 10,000 signatures. Oklahoma has over 11,000, Arkansas has almost 15,000, and Kansas is way behind at around 3,000.

So, what happened to “one nation under God“? These folks, many of whom I can safely assume are conservative Christians, don’t have a problem with the “under God” part of it, just the “one nation” part, particularly if they don’t get their way in a “vitally important” election, particularly if the nation doesn’t embrace the Republican Party.

Perhaps it is that Billy Graham and other Christian extremists, who claim to want us to be “one nation,” mean that we can only be so under their conception of God, which is a very Republican one. Otherwise, some of them want to take their states, and presumably their God, and go their own way.

Thus it is that those groups that are asking the government to investigate Graham and the Catholic bishops for their partisan advocacy are exactly right. If religious zealots want to put the fear of a Republicanized God into voters, and argue for one nation under that God, then the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for it.


By the way, a counter-petition has been offered against the secessionists, one that suggests we should,

Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America.

So far, it has only about 2,400 votes.

George Will’s Tanning Bed

George Will’s column on Texas Governor Rick Perry, which should have been titled, “Run, Rick, Run,” appeared in Monday’s Joplin Globe.  I want to point out a bit of, well, chicanery from the column, but first this:

Supposed examples of Perry’s extremism evaporate in sunlight.

Now, when you have to point out that your guy has an “extremist” problem, you have a steep hill to climb in elevating him to presidential status, no?

In any case, Will plodded on:

One is that he intimated support for Texas’ secession from the Union. After people shouted “Secede!” at a rally, he said he understood their frustration but added: “We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it.”

The rally was an anti-tax tea party gathering in Austin, and Perry had entertained the crowd with suggestions that, in the words of the AP, “the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt.”

Strangling Americans.  Nothing extremist about that, I suppose.

Later, Perry was answering reporters’ questions and he said the following, only part of which Will quoted:

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “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, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Will, who said “examples of Perry’s extremism evaporate in sunlight,” sort of kept his readers in the dark regarding Perry’s complete statement. Perry’s saying, “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that,” sounds sort of, well, extreme doesn’t it?

But will had more strange sunlight to shine on Perry’s extremism:

He signed a law requiring women seeking abortions to be shown sonograms of their babies. Do people objecting to this mandatory provision of information object to the new graphic warnings on cigarette packs?

Hmm. What a clever use of deflection. Instead of thinking about Perry advocating government force to require women seeking abortions to look at sonograms of their “babies,” we are instead thinking about those nasty pictures on packages of smokes.

And we certainly don’t want to think about the fact that in order for the government to force women to view sonograms of their “babies,” they first have to force them to have sonograms in the first place, some of them possibly with vaginal probes.  That’s kind of like putting a picture of a charred lung on a pack of Camels, isn’t it?

Sunlight, indeed.

The truth is that there just isn’t enough sunlight to evaporate the extremism of Rick Perry, especially if that sunlight is really only a tanning bed in which conservative Republican George Will has tried to hide the truth about the Governor of Texas.

Missouri Is Fast Becoming Part Of The Old South

In 2009, the Missouri legislature passed something called the Big Government Get Off My Back Act, which essentially was a small business-friendly law that banned for four years some user fee increases and prevented new regulations on businesses with less than 25 employees.

This year, the very first bill approved by the House side* of the Missouri legislature was an amendment of that law, which given the nature of one of the new provisions, we can now call the Barack Obama Get Off My Ass Act.

The BOGOMAA will contain, if the new breed of quasi-secessionist Republicans have their way, the following nullification provision:

(1)  Specifies that any federal mandate implemented by the state must be subject to statutory authorization of the General Assembly;

As Rudi Keller, writing for the Columbia Daily Tribune said, “Missouri isn’t alone in attempting nullification,” and there are other statutes that assert “state authority over federal law.” 

But this one is obviously designed to open up old and ugly wounds in our recent national history.

The theory of nullification—that states can invalidate any federal law they consider unconstitutional—is remembered these days due to its use in the South as a reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregated schools.  Several southern states claimed they had the power to ignore the decision, notwithstanding the Civil War, which seemed to settle the matter for most sober observers. 

In any case, the Supreme Court eventually and unanimously slapped down the South again—without the necessity of 600,000 dead Americans—and declared that the segregationists would have to find other ways to discriminate against black folks, since Supreme Court decisions constituted the law of the land. 

Addressing the  “illegal, forcible interference…with the continuance of what the Constitution commands,” Justice Frankfurter wrote:

What could this mean but to acknowledge that disorder under the aegis of a State has moral superiority over the law of the Constitution? For those in authority thus to defy the law of the land is profoundly subversive not only of our constitutional system, but of the presuppositions of a democratic society. The State “must . . . yield to an authority that is paramount to the State.”

All of that, as I said, is painfully obvious to the sober-minded.  But the Missouri legislature these days is peopled by a number of anti-government junkies, who have succumbed to secessionist smack out of a fear of The Kenyan Socialist.  One of them, Sen. Jim Lembke said this, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune:

“I look at it the same way I look at bad precedents. Why isn’t the Constitution the supreme law? It is not who won a war or bad decisions in a court. I can read the plain language. I don’t need nine justices to tell me what it says,” he said.

Maybe you don’t need them to tell you what it says, Mr. Lembke.  But when they tell you what it means, you have to listen. 

No matter how many BOGOMAAs you pass.


* Joplin’s Bill White voted for the bill, as did, unfortunately, a number of Democrats.

“My Countrymen, One And All, Think Calmly And Well Upon This Whole Subject”

As political America convulses over the massacre in Tucson, President Obama will attempt tonight to call up those famous Lincolnian angels, who made their first of a long line of appearances in the sixteenth President’s first inaugural address not quite 150 years ago.

President Lincoln’s speech came at a time when the country was on the verge of dissolution—Fort Sumter was just five weeks away—and on the very day of the speech the first confederate flag was adopted and unfurled over Montgomery.

Echoing the politics of our times, Lincoln pleaded with his Southern detractors that they had misunderstood his and his party’s intentions:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that— 

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

He “reiterated these sentiments” by stating that “the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration.”

Lincoln also wanted to make something else clear:

I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual… It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

Then he began to make his appeal not to the extremists but to those he thought he could still reach: 

That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events and are glad of any pretext to do it I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?

He made the argument that secession would not necessarily “produce harmony” among the secessionists, as any “new confederacy” would be in danger of “renewed secession.”

And then he said this:

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.

Again, Lincoln pleaded:

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject… In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.

Finally, the crème de la crème:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Tragically, the chorus of the Union was silenced by Sumter, and four long years of civil war defined the Lincoln presidency. 

And as we in these times reflect on our own political divisions—which pale in comparison to those of a century and a half ago—may President Obama—whose own motives have been questioned by his political opponents—succeed in swelling the chorus of these United States.

The Closing Of The Republican Mind

Daily Kos has finally released its Republican Poll, which was done by Research 2000. The survey was conducted between January 20 and January 31 of this year and involved just over 2000 “self identified Republicans.”

The results are a gold mine for those of us who want to know more about what it is that inhabits the Republican mind.

Let’s lead off with what I consider to be the two main questions designed to test the intelligence of any citizen these days. First:

Should Barack Obama be impeached, or not?

68% of Republicans believe either Barack Obama should be impeached, or they are “not sure.”  Only 32%—one in three—believe that Obama should not be impeached.  But before we jump to conclusions and pass judgment on the intelligence of Republicans, let’s look at the second question.

Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?

58% of Republicans either believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States or are not sure he was.  But wait: 43% of Republicans in the South believe Obama was not born here, compared with 36% overall.  So, around four in ten Republicans believe the President of the United States is not a citizen of the United States! Oh, boy!

We can now safely conclude that somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of Republicans are either a) idiots, or b) irredeemably ignorant.  Your choice.

More results:

23% of Republicans believe their state “should secede from the United States.”  In the South, one in every three Republicans so believe.  One-third.  33%.  More than 3 in 10. Get that? Didn’t those people learn anything from the Civil War?

64% of Republicans believe or are “not sure” that “Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?”  Only 36% believe that Obama is not a white-hating racist.  Is anyone shocked by these numbers?  No. Sadly.

57% of Republicans (61% in the South) either believe or are not sure that “Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win.” No surprise here, given Republican politicians’ rhetoric surrounding the issue.  Think about this:

Nearly 25% of Republicans believe that Obama wants the terrorists to win. 

63% of Republicans “think Barack Obama is a socialist.” Only 21% said they didn’t think so.  Again, Republican elected officials are largely responsible for this result because they have given Fox “News” and right-wing radio talkers plenty of “official” cover to broadcast this nonsense.

53% of Republicans believe “Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama.” 33% are not sure.  So, 86% believe that Palin either is or may be more qualified.  Can anyone imagine Sarah Palin standing before a room full of hostile Democratic congressman the way Obama stood before hostile Republicans last week? Apparently, more than half of all Republicans can so imagine.

21% of Republicans are sure that ACORN stole the 2008 election. Only 1 in 4 Republicans say that it did not.  That leaves 55% who simply aren’t sure.  Not sure? Given the coverage of ACORN on Fox “News,” it’s quite surprising that half of all Republicans aren’t sure yet.

67% of Republicans believe that “the only way for an individual to go to heaven is through Jesus Christ.”  No surprise here, since Jesus is a Republican.

91% of Republicans support the death penalty.  No surprise here, since Jesus the Republican loves the death penalty.

76% of Republicans consider abortion to be “murder.”  No surprise here either, since Jesus hates abortion, although he managed to say exactly nothing about it, when he had the chance to do so.

34% of Republicans believe the birth control pill is “abortion.”  Therefore, it is likely that 1 in 3 Republicans believe that women who use birth control pills are committing “murder.” I don’t have words to explain this one.

31% of Republicans believe contraceptive’s should be outlawed.  Considering the last two items, no surprise here.  Laws outlawing the pill are the same as laws outlawing murder. We can all see that, right?

77% of Republicans (82% in the South) believe “public school students” should “be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world.”  While it wasn’t a part of this survey, I have it on good authority that 77% of Republicans also believe students should be taught how God created corporations with “free speech” rights.

51% of Republicans (56% in the South) believe that sex education shouldn’t be taught in the public schools.  Apparently, the children of Republicans know all they need to know about sex from great Republican examples like Senator David Vitter and Senator John Ensign.

77% of Republicans (82% in the South) believe same sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry.  In other words, they agree with that terrorist-loving, capitalist-hating, Kenyan-born Obama.

73% of Republicans (77% in the South) oppose gay teachers in public school.  Sounds about right, since 68% (73% in the South) don’t believe “gay couples” should “receive any state or federal benefits.”

55% of Republicans (60% in the South) oppose gays in the military. There’s no way that self-respecting conservatives will have gays in their fox holes, unless you’re talking about Larry Craig.

68% of Republicans believe Congress should not “make it easier for workers to form and join labor unions.”  No, no, no.  Republicans don’t want those nasty unions to help negotiate higher wages, better working conditions, and greater job security for them.  They prefer doing it the old fashion way: begging.

This profile of the Republican mind is a little depressing, but not a bit surprising.

The “S” Word

Thinking that Abraham Lincoln had pretty much put the kibosh on the idea that states had the right to divorce themselves from Western civilization, I was unaware that a significant number among us believe the right of secession exists.

Last year, Zogby found that 22% of American adults “believe that any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic.” A slightly smaller number (18%) would support secessionist efforts in their states.

Now, I have to admit that until last summer, when I was getting acquainted with Sarah Palin, I hadn’t given much thought to the idea. Gov. Palin, it turns out, was palling around with secessionists, and may actually have been sleeping with one, what with Todd’s membership in the Alaskan Independence Party, which has been historically hospitable to dissolution.

Anyway, I just assumed that the Palins were part of that peculiar northern culture, the sort of people who in comparison would make even McDonald County folks worthy of a feature in Martha Stewart Living. It was inconceivable to me that conservatives, those tireless defenders of law and order, would snuggle up to anyone who, with even the slightest scholastic subtlety, hinted that secession was a viable alternative to our cozy constitutional republic. Real conservatives just wouldn’t countenance such seditious silliness.

Of course, I knew that Rush Limbaugh reserved the right to secede from each of his three wives, but even I believed he and other radioactive conservatives would draw the line at another bloody civil war. After all, isn’t 620,000 dead Americans enough price to pay for dragging Southerners into the civilized world?

Then came the governor of Texas and former Texas A&M cheerleader, Rick Perry, embracing the idea that Texas maintains the right to secede. Conservatives scrambled to defend the governor, never missing an opportunity to turn any conservative crackpot idea into a referendum on Obama and the Democrats.

Limbaugh’s rambling comments on April 16:

Now, this is not insignificant. When the governor of Texas talks about, “We could secede, I don’t think it’s going to happen, I hope it doesn’t, but we could.” When the governor of Texas starts talking about this because of the abuse of government on his citizens and on his state, and forcing his state to take federal money when he doesn’t want it — and I also think, I run into them, there’s still some conservatives who, the Drive-By Media is gospel to them. I say they’re conservatives. They’re not active. They’re not liberals. I’m wondering at some point how much of the excesses of the media are gonna finally start causing other people to have lights go on in their heads, hey, something’s not quite right here when you have the governor of Texas start talking about the possibility of getting out of all this because of the abuse of government. This guy is not a fringe kook. This guy is nowhere near a kook in any way, shape, manner, or form.

But yesterday, Gov. Perry appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show, now eager to clear the air. He by no means meant to suggest that anyone should take the idea of Texas secession seriously, despite the fact that he had done just that. He and Sean characteristically blamed his predicament on the “liberal” media who “misconstrued” his intentions.

Despite the fact that some conservatives may now want to back away from any talk of Texas secession, I cannot find anything obviously negative about the idea, except that any future Chiefs-Cowboys matchup would necessarily be reduced to an international exhibition game.

And the NFL exhibition season is too long as it is.



Thursday, April 23, 2009, 11:19 AM
Perhaps now you understand my concerns about the fabric of our society expressed in a recent blog. Yes, Perry is a Texan and a Republican, but he is also an elected governor. Hard to put him in the kook category.

He is expressing a deep sentiment of concern about spending that probably reflects that of many, not just the kooks. To raise it to the issue of slavery and seccession is extreme, perhaps. But it is a legitimate concern or should be by any thining individual. How do we pay for a vision that many endorse is the issue, not necessarily the vision itself.

I think the President is making a big mistake by pushing the whole domestic agenda at once. Yes, he currently has a mandate and a congress behind him. But other than political strength, he must show the good financial strength to make it happen. In my view he has not come close to making that argument, yet.

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