Gov. Allan Shivers, a hard line conservative old school Deep South Democrat, desperate to win reelection, turned even more severely conservative and delivered the state's conservative Dems to Eisenhower in 1952 and '56. Shivers fought hard to preserve segregated schools, too. Everyone remembers Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus in Little Rock in 1957 as a racist retrograde, but he was emboldened and inspired by Shivers' crackdown on the attempted integration of public schools at Mansfield the previous year. Shivers was a cold piece of work.
Texans just like to talk tough, right?
Here's a couple more examples from this season of madness . Last August a county judge from Lubbock named Tom Head warned that Obama's reelection could spark a second civil war. Why? Because Judge Head expects Obama to hand the reins of power over to the United Nations. (And are we positive that this guy's first name isn't actually?)
Another tough-talking Texan, Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, said there was no reason for the Lone Star State and bastions of effeminacy and communism, like, Vermont, for example, to "live under the same government." The people who had elected Barack Obama, he said, were "maggots," many of whom voted on an "ethnic basis."
But enough digression. Back to the state of Texas' budget woes, which will be getting worse in the next couple of years, even if the fiscal cliff is avoided. Very early in Obama's first term, Gov. Perry went on record as being adamantly opposed to the federal stimulus program. Like so many Republican political leaders, he railed against the stimulus, but he was waiting at the trough when it was doled out, and it was those six billion dollars of dirty federal dough that allowed Gov. Perry to claim that his administration had not only made big spending cuts, but created jobs and balanced the budget.
The dreaded stimulus program also happened to be the subject of discussion back in April 2009, when Perry made his first veiled threats about secession.
Speaking to a rowdy crowd of tax protesters in Austin, back in the heady, early days of the Tea Party movement, Perry obviously sought to burnish his right-winginess in a memorable way.
"There's a lot of different scenarios," he 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."
If everyone who thumbed their nose at me was about to give me six billion dollars, or even a few hundred, I'd be very happy. Who knows what might come out of that?
Why would a governor of a state joke or tease or play around with the concept of secession? Maybe Perry thought it was the best way to guarantee a seat on the classic clown car that was the 2012 Republican presidential campaign.
If so, the gambit paid off. For a few heady minutes there, Perry was the man to beat. A few minutes later, he was beat. Few other rising stars have so efficiently showcased their shortcomings. Making a fool of yourself when your only competition is Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul really is not as easy as it looks.
Now Perry and his team have another big show ahead of them--another balancing act with the state budget. But this time, he won't have the dreaded fed forcing another six billion dollars on us, and if Perry's colleagues in Congress want to continue their fantasy battles with President Obama and the US economy, sending us over the fiscal cliff, Perry's budget woes will become a whole lot worse.
It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for Rick Perry. He's got the kind of problems that would make any chief executive want to run away to Civil War Land, or Disneyland. Even one who can count all the way to three.
One final observation about numbers, and then it's down to the research lab to start working on the next installment of these Secession Chronicles. The numbers of signatories on these post-modern secession petitions are chimerical, just like all the action over at Daniel Miller's Texas Nationalists Movement. When you look at the Texas petition, with its 115,000 signatures, the addresses are from all over the country. On the first screen of 40 names, only 12 have Texas addresses.
You don't have to be from Texas to sign a Texas secession petition
(Image by jesse sublett) Permission Details DMCA
You don't have to be from Texas to sign a Texas secession petition by jesse sublett
That's just a random example, but even if three-fourths of the unhappy Republicans in this state wanted to secede, that still wouldn't be a majority. There may be a lot of dumb Texans, but they're not all dumb, and this state doesn't want to secede, nor do any other of the forty-nine.