The good news is that a recent Rasmussen poll shows that three-quarters of Texas respondents stated they did not want the State of Texas to secede. The not so terrific news is that three out of ten think it is written that Texas may secede.
Governor Rick Perry was a Tea Party speaker in Austin. Much has been made that these words flew from his mouth: "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 may come of that." That quote was taped by R.G. Ratcliffe, reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Chronicle columnist Rick Casey writes of Perry's speech in today's edition.
As the tape shows, Perry said "We've got a great Union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it." It was the end of the heralded blurb that implies Texas would have the option. This is on the level of a parent threatening punishment to a misbehaving child. Threats not to be followed through with any true action are just hot air. This was just some crowd inspiring bluster from the governor. Bluster caught on tape and played out nationally.
It's a bit embarrassing when your state's top elected official exaggerates for effect. Sure, some proud Texans were excited by such rhetoric but, truly, what's the point? Perry got the headlines he sought as tough guy. Let's remember, Perry is running for re-election. He is due some credit for refusing some of the stimulus package going to the states but is disingenuous to suggest he is refusing it all.
Recently, Controller of Public Accounts for the State of Texas, Susan Combs, spoke to a Republican Women's group to which I belong and she pointed out that in fact Texas will be receiving a good amount of stimulus money from Washington. This is looked upon as money sent to Washington by Texas taxpayers in the first place and if Texas refuses the money it will go to another state. The money Perry is refusing is the money going to unemployment benefits. In order for Texas to accept the funds, the state unemployment compensation laws would have to be changed. This would prove to be a future liability for Texas taxpayers when the federal funds run out.
I don't often agree with Texan Kinky Friedman but his reference to Governor Perry's Tea Party remarks included the characterization that Perry has "gone off the tracks a little bit." That is a good description. Friedman said, "You know, we tried that once. I would remind him that there was a great visionary hero named Sam Houston who traveled all over the state warning us not to do it - that it would cost great heartache and bloodshed."
Let's hope the governor chooses his words a bit more carefully next time.