Thursday, April 16, 2009

The case for secession

Michael Tomasky makes one:

Texas has been (in political terms, not necessarily cultural ones) a greasy white zit in the middle of America's nose ever since Dwight Eisenhower warned the rest of us about crazy Texas millionaires in 1954. Today, it's still Texas billionaires who finance insane right-wing smear campaigns on a regular basis.

This one state has done more than any other to retard progress in our recent history. The swift-boaters, much of the money to finance Reagan's contra war, Karl Rove, the Bushes...all Texas.

If it left, those billionaires and Rove and the Bushes could run the new republic. Fine. Drive it into the ground instead of America. Secession would also produce 34 fewer Republican electoral votes, meaning either that a) no Republican would ever win a presidential election again or b) one might, but he or she would have to moderate his/her positions so much that they'd make Nelson Rockefeller look like Grover Norquist, in which case GOP rule wouldn't be so hideous at all. And about 20 or so fewer wingnuts in the House of Representatives.

And Matt Yglesias co-signs:

... if Texas wants to leave the union we should probably just let them go and I’d say the same for other southern states that feel oppressed by our efforts to use federal tax money to help them take care of their unemployed citizens. Back during the Civil War, the cause of keeping the union together was intertwined with the cause of fighting the great evil of slavery. But assume we just welcome migrants from the Republic of Texas with open arms if they want to flee north, there’d be no comparable problem with letting Texas leave.

Obviously, one advantage of large-scale secession of the most conservative states is that it would be a lot easier to pass progressive legislation. An aspect of Civil War history that people don’t tend to appreciate is that the temporary departure of the Dixie bloc of Senators allowed a huge flowering of legislative activity that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. In addition to prosecuting the war, the Lincoln-era GOP took sweeping action on industrial policy, infrastructure, land reform, etc. much of which would have been extraordinarily difficult to accomplish had the southerners just stayed in their seats and used the considerable levers of obstruction that are available to legislative minorities.

It could be that this is just crazy talk from a couple of slack-jawed Yankees. But I've got to admit that they make a convincing argument.

I love Texas and a number of Texans, but as long as I maintain a passport that's honored in Houston, I'm open to the possibilities.

Also, something I forgot to mention earlier is that some of Gov. Rick Perry's amped-up, asshat antics in recent days might have something to do with a March poll that shows him running behind - again - Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary. Thus, his rhetoric is not as insane as it is predictable.


Jack T. said...

As long as that Kinky whatshisname guy doesn't win, I don't care who runs Texas.

I have a few ex-girlfriends in the state (cliched, I know) so I don't visit often, but Austin is just plain awesome. San Antonio is nice too. Houston I don't know as well, but I'm sure it's ok. I think we can get the cool people to come north and let the Rove folks run Wingnuttia. It's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world either.

But then again, I'm one of those slack jawed Yankee Liberal East Coast Elitist Arugula eating snobs.

blackink said...

Ha, a few exes in Texas, eh? I will say, Texas does have its share of stunnas (not like Florida, though).

Over the years, I've come to like Austin more and more and more. I spent about a third of my weekends in college down there and in nearby San Marcos.

And the FL absolutely loves Austin. In fact, if I ever move back to Texas, Houston and Austin are pretty much our preferences. Though Dallas ain't bad either. Nah, to SA. Not feeling it.

But yeah, as long as they don't elect Chuck Norris or Kinky Friedman president of Texas, I'll always go back home.

Also, Jack ... did you live in Texas?

Jack T. said...

I never lived in Texas, but I've been known to take road trips to interview potential FLs (still takin' applications, ladiez!).

But on the real, it's a shame that some of the coolest people I've ever met are from that state and they have to mix with some of the less than pleasant people I've met from Texas. I moved here (DC) during the Bush administration and there were a few Texans in my neighborhood with Presidential Appointment Jobs making life interesting. Oh well.

As for Florida, I've only really Miami and Orlando (been to Boca and Talahasee though), two cities that seem like they couldn't occupy the same planet, much less the same state. I knew Miami had some ladies that would cause three car pileups anywhere else, but I didn't know the whole state brought it like that.

blackink said...

Yeah, Texas is certainly an interesting place. Austin feels like Cali, and Houston and Dallas are extremely diverse, multicultural hubs. I mean, it's sort of weird to write off the state as "red" because when I lived there, it nearly really felt that way on the streets. Just in the statehouse, you know?

Even still, both Houston and Dallas have had black mayors, Austin is - to some - wildly liberal and the rest of the state has plenty of Latino politicians in key positions. But the state Democratic Party is just recovering from years of Bush-Perry rule, I suppose.

And without being too wild about it, let me just say that Florida, the Tampa-St. Pete area in particular, ain't nothing to fool wit when it comes to the ladies. I've had some friends come down here who had their noses opened up completely. Miami is operating on an entirely different level.

Miami, LA and Vegas are the NBA, and the rest of the country is the D-League by comparison.