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Secession Divides Texas Republicans


Gov. Rick Perry's secession idea doesn't seem so crazy in light of new polling out of Texas. AP Photo by Harry Cabluck

Every once in a while, just when we think we have seen it all, a poll cross the Fix desk that makes us do a double-take.

This is that poll.

In a new survey by Research 2000 for the liberal Daily Kos blog, Texas voters were asked whether the Lone Star State would be better off as an "independent nation" or as part of the United States.

Overall, more than six in ten chose the latter option. (No big surprise there.) But, among Republicans, 48 percent said it would be better for Texas if the state was an independent nation -- the same number who said they would prefer the state remain a part of the United States.

Just to reiterate: roughly half of all self-identified Texas Republicans in the Research 2000 poll said they would rather their state be an independent nation.

The poll data comes in the wake of a controversy stirred by Texas Gov. Rick Perry when he seemed to suggest that if the federal government continued on his current path secession might be an option.

"Texas is a unique place," the governor said at the time. "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."

One GOP operative with Texas ties closely sent the Fix an email with the poll results attached that read: "The Reason Why Rick Perry Can Win the GOP Primary".

Perry faces a difficult primary challenge in the form of Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The Kos poll showed Hutchison with very strong personal favorability ratings (64 percent favorable/ 29 percent unfavorable) while Perry's scores (51 percent fav/43 percent unfav) -- suggesting that the Senator has built up considerable good will among Texas voters.

Still, the secession results suggest that Perry may be more in line with the average Texas Republican primary voter than previously imagined.

In the words of Tim Riggins, "Texas forever".

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 23, 2009; 4:01 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , Republican Party  
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Next: White House Cheat Sheet: Obama's Swing-State Road Show

Comments

oops I didn't capitalize America

Posted by: mark2me | April 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Texas secede, but not because I'm unpatriotic. I love what america stands for. I don't love the beast that our government has become. I think it would be a lot easier to convince disaffected voters to participate if we were working on a smaller scale. As it is right now, I don't think people pay much attention to state politics here. I don't think Perry would get elected or reelected as President of Texas. I hope we could get a real human being in there, like Ron Paul, Ross Perot, or Ralph Nader. The other option, that may even be better, is that of a direct democracy. I think that people in Texas are not quite as stupid as we are usually portrayed or as electing Rick Perry makes us look.

Posted by: mark2me | April 28, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy Mexico. Its your problem now.

Posted by: trident420 | April 27, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

good one bluebonn..
the second portion of my statement seems to being holding true..hehe

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 26, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Directed towards ceflynline: You did not burst my bubble. Yes, there were refining activities already occurring with Standard Oil,but there was no real oil rush in this country until the Lucas Gusher blew in at Beaumont, Texas in 1901. Perhaps this is why the major refining capabilites of the country are in this area of the country and not in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

I can't believe the hatred you people have toward Texas. I am merely defending my state. Just because our governor made a comment that has nothing whatsoever to do with your state and is mainly directed at the federal government you display vitriol towards Texans. No wonder the people in Texas are talking about secession.

Posted by: Bluebonnet1 | April 25, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"You all seem to think that you could do so well without Texas, but Texas has most of the refining capacity for the United States. Texas was where the oil industry began in this country and the rest of you who have felt that you could not damage your pristine land by building refineries would be waiting in long gas lines since refining capacity in the US would be greatly reduced without Texas. I think perhaps you should be a little more respectful of the role Texas plays in this nation. Posted by: Bluebonnet1 "

Well, being from the home of ole John D, I think I should burst your bubble a dozen times over.

Ohio was the original oil boom state, right after Pennsylvania showed that you could get the stuff by punching holes in the ground. Findlay Ohio had so much natural gas to dispose of from its oil fields that it lit the whole town with the stuff and became known as the brightest city in the world.

By the time John D and his buddies got broken up Cleveland, Findlay, and Lima were all well lit by the burnoff flares of their refineries, most of which are still standing and usable, but not being run to keep production down and so permit the remaining few oil companies to raise prices whenever any plausible excuse lets them declare that the gulf coast refineries have production problems. We have all our refinery eggs in the gulf coast basket because were the refineries at Richmond, California, or in many places in the center of the united states actually bearing the brunt of refining oil we wouldn't see those wonderful spikes in refined product about every six monyhs because a hurricaine, or a plant accident, or plant change over somehow reduced refinery capacity. About the only useful thing Texas seems to do that can't be done elsewhere better and cheaper is to keep Mexican immigrants from annoying Oklahoma Republicans. Maybe those Oklahoma republicans need a bit more annoying.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 25, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"Just to reiterate: roughly half of all self-identified Texas Republicans in the Research 2000 poll said they would rather their state be an independent nation."

That is a bit less than half of how many Texans?

Nation wide only about a third of the voters, (so maybe 20% of voting age Americans) self identify as Republicans, and that number seems to be decreasing. Texas is probably more republican than the national average, (although more Texans voted in the Democratic Primary than voted in the Republican Primary, even though the Republican nomination was still in play) but even if half of Texans self identify as Republican that means only about a quarter of the electorate in Texas would actually say they favored succession, (and many of them probably don't really mean it.)

Since, however, that split means that Texas republicans are splitting, or splintering, it also means that the losing side in the primaries will probably go sulk, or vote for "The Chair", the Democrats could actually stand to win big by just being themselves. Should that mean that the Dems get control of the texas legislature, the Tom Delay principle lets them try to pad their holdings and increase their magins in 2012.

Given the current Republican proclivities for self immolating tactics during the present interregnum, Texas Republicans may be doing their level best to elect every damn Democrat who is at least a live body in the lone star state.

Should this prove to be the way things work, Hey all you Republicans, merci beaucoup! (That's the fancified version of gratias amigo, of which even WRASP [White, Republican, Anglo Saxon Protestant} Texans probably have an inkling of the meaning)

Posted by: ceflynline | April 25, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

In response to newbeeboy from Florida: At least in Texas we know how to punch a hole in computer card in order to vote. Even the undocumented immigrants here can do that!

Posted by: Bluebonnet1 | April 25, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

In Florida, we already have a portion of the U.S. which has seceded.. The Conch Republic. This micronation is thriving in it's faux autonomy. You have to love Texans though.. their sense of humor and hubris.. it's wonderfully inspiring!

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 25, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Rick Perry said what he did to try and garner votes in the next election. He only won the last election with approximately 37% of the vote due to the dilution of the vote by Kinky Friedman.

As a Texan, I am offended by most of the comments posted on this article. Texans are disgusted with our federal government because they pick and choose which laws to implement. We are fed up with the federal government not enforcing our immigration laws, which might account for why as one of your commentors said that if Texas seceeded they could join Mexico and that half the state would not know the difference. It also might indicate why the educational system is not to the level you think you seem to enjoy, because we have to educate our own citizens as well as those from Mexico.

You all seem to think that you could do so well without Texas, but Texas has most of the refining capacity for the United States. Texas was where the oil industry began in this country and the rest of you who have felt that you could not damage your pristine land by building refineries would be waiting in long gas lines since refining capacity in the US would be greatly reduced without Texas.

I think perhaps you should be a little more respectful of the role Texas plays in this nation.

Posted by: Bluebonnet1 | April 25, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It's a fact that the Red states get vastly more Fed money and services proportionately to what they contribute than the Blue states. To see these idiots whine about Federal Gov. intrusion into their affairs is about as moronic as seeing these brain-dead "tea-baggers" crying about their tax burden when 99% of them will be getting bigger tax breaks then that got from the Bush regime. They're so stupid and dumbed-down by Fox news they don't even have enough sense to vote for their own social and economic welfare or a decent, affordable education for their children. Go Texas, and take all the other Red states with you. You'll be able to get the Mexican style economy you want (where the top 1% own everything and the rest have nothing) and the rest of the nation will be able to move on with the reforms needed without your resistance and parasitical drain on our finances.

Posted by: bachrock9 | April 25, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Now let's see--the oddball state that has given us two presidents who have led the nation into two disastrous modern wars (Vietnam and Iraq) and dragged the country's reputation in the mud with un-American policies on torture and unilateralism in foreign affairs wants to secede. Hmmm, when can the saner 49 states start cheering? I say, let's cozy up to Mexico to craft a common defense treaty now!

Posted by: Wydsyth | April 24, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

When you focus an unbiased microscope on this nation it isn't really surprising to find dissatisfaction with Washington policies and politics.

I don’t think Mr. Perry is intelligent enough to provide substantive alternatives for the state of Texas however. He lacks objectivity and credibility. His motives project him as a nut case egotist.

It’s interesting to consider an intelligent and objective debate on the virtues of centralized government however. Our democracy is designed to be malleable to the needs of its citizens. In recent times it seems to diverge from that point.

If Washington continues to prioritize the needs of corporations, institutions and executives, it will unquestionably alienate the electorate further.

Many states are in harmony with their constituents. They are often confronted with federal obstructions when addressing regional priorities. If this phenomenon occurs more frequently it puts into question the practical benefits of centralized government.

The debate over what size government should be has dominated partisan skirmishes for decades now. Perhaps the debate should now be; where is government more effective and representative?

I would not choose to be governed by standards that advance a Texas agenda. I prefer not to be governed by policies promoting Wall Street traders, Washington D.C. insiders, east coast corporations and mid-western coal producers.

I live in the Pacific Time Zone. I’m 1/8 of the day removed from the gyrations of D.C. Moreover, I am light years away from the political priorities of that town.

Personal autonomy is my most prized attribute. The agenda in Washington is not advancing mine. Perhaps a sovereign regional government would better serve my interests.

Posted by: foothillbill | April 24, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Texan...and I would like to say "Bless your Hearts" to all you wonderful folks who've commented on this story. I cannot for the life of me imagine why half of my neighbors would wish to extricate themselves from such sunny company!

Posted by: tagger | April 24, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

So, arthur, I hope someone proofread your thesis for you?

Everyone: it's 'secede' and 'secession' not 'succeed' and 'succession'. We're talking about Texas leaving the union, not whether or not Texas does well or comes after something.

Posted by: alexjp46 | April 24, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the governor needs to learn his own state's history. What it did get as a concession when joining the union was the right to divide into five states if it so chose.

On paper, this looks good -- ten senators instead of two. But of course, the five new states would not have the same common interests and could cancel each other out. So it was really the Texans who got hosed. This concession was worthless.

LOL Stupid Texans.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 24, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Is it so unusual that a state with an identity crisis suddenly decides, "if you don't want to play my way, then I'll take my ball and go home."
The only unity in Texas seems to be to constantly claim their greatness.
As a resident of a neighboring state of New Mexico, we have often been the victims in a history of bravado and b.s. Granted we depend on Texas tourism dollars, but in the words of many, "send the money, we'll send you pictures."
Also considering that when the "Texas Republic" succeeded from Mexico it tried to claim the western half of New Mexico to the Rio Grande, all I can say is if Texas wants to succeed,in the words of my father is "don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out."

Posted by: orly2 | April 24, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Re: "Texas is a unique place," the governor said at the time. "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."

Didn't the Civil War settle this discussion? Texas WAS NOT allowed
to secede from the US during the Civil War.

Posted by: janye1 | April 24, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Re: "Texas is a unique place," the governor said at the time. "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."

Didn't the Civil War settle this arguement? Texas WAS NOT allowed
to secede from the US during the Civil War.

Posted by: janye1 | April 24, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

To the majority of Texans who love their country: Despite our political and cultural differences, thank you all for being among the most vibrant and patriotic of Americans. Our country is stronger because of folks like you.

To the minority of Texans who favor the idea of secession: The South lost the Civil War, nutjobs. Get over it. And while you're at it, quit hating America just because you can't get your way anymore. You're only helping the terrorists.

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | April 24, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I would be glad to see Texas succeed. That might also make it possible for my home state of Hawaii to also succeed.
Certainly most of us who love Hawaii believe our state would be better off as an independent country. We could continue to allow the US military to have bases in Hawaii but we would charge them for that privilege. It would enable Hawaii to have more tourists because we could have a friendlier policy concerning visitor visas. Currently, many people who would like to visit Hawaii can't get U.S. visas.
Texas and Hawaii could sign a mutual defense treaty. We could recognize each other as independent countries. Perhaps, if Texas is allowed to succeed California would also be allowed to do so. Most Californians don't support the wars the US always seems to be in. That would make a nice alliance. Texas, California and Hawaii. Wait. What about New York State? Maybe it could succeed and become part of Canada. Would Vermont, Washington state, Massachusetts,Michigan,The Dakotas, etc. want to succeed and become part of Canada.
I hate to tell all those Texans who want to succeed. Sorry! Whether states have the right to succeed was settled one hundred and forty four years ago. Are you Texans stupid or something?

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | April 24, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Look, I don't like to discount polls just because they may conflict with my preconceived notions, but there's no way in hell that 40% of Texans favor seceding.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 24, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Texas! Its a whole 'nuther country!"

I guess they weren't kidding.

Posted by: Observer44 | April 24, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I lived in Texas for years & years. They are prouder about less than any other state in the union. They are a low service state full of social Darwinists & evolution denying, abstinence only, capital punishment loving right wing religious nut jobs. If they secede, there goes NASA out of Houston. They'll need their own money & embassies. They have a terrible education system, terrible teen pregnancy rate, terrible rate of the uninsured...I could go on & on. I used to stand up for Texas by touting the arts but my husband said there was little true love for the arts. Mostly it was to see & be seen & a vulgar show of money. It was a way to show the world they weren't a cow town.

Posted by: cosmiccanine | April 24, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Let Texas go. With only 98 Senate seats Democrats only need 59 votes to be filibuster-proof, which they'll have once the courts tell Coleman to go away. Again.

Posted by: thecorinthian | April 24, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Their arrogant exceptionalism has finally found flourish in what is possibly the most vapid, ill-informed, retro-grade, clownish movement since the Civil War.

Astonishing. Really.

Posted by: tschmidt | April 24, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Just extend the fence around Texas so they can't get into the U.S. and the biggest criminal in Texas will be fenced in. We can go get him when his trial comes up.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | April 24, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Just when I thought that the Bush clan were the only ones a brick shy of reality in Texas...Here comes another dim watt of light. There must be raw sewage in the water cause the Texan elite sure let it dribble from their lips!

Posted by: ENuffSaid1 | April 24, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I lived in Texas (Mesquite) for 30 years. Before that I took a doctorate in history. The American Civil War was fought over the issue of succession--and the North winning the war was a statement that once a territory became a state and joined the nation it could not secceed. Perry has never studied American history or law--and like the 49% GOPs who favor breaking away--good, go for it. Texas could not survive without federal funds, federal roads, federal jobs, federal military installations, etc--as all that was brought to Texas by two great Texans: LBJ and Speaker Wright. Let Texas go and watch it die--and become the wasteland it was before Wright and LBJ. This nation does not need nor benefits by the presence of Texas.

Posted by: arthur_ide | April 24, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I really don't like the Dallas Cowboys anyway.. they just want to sell Romo jerseys to everyone in Mexico.. all of you Redskins' fans will understand..

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 24, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Texas - don't let the door hit you on the you know what on the way out. We'll be taking back our Federal money, military installations (and the jobs they create) and tearing up the interstates on the way out.

NOW, I'm all for a wall on the U.S. southern border.

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | April 24, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

There's somethign slightly odd about the poll. The wording 'independent nation' means something different from 'independent state' or 'independent country' in the strictest legal technical sense of the term. I'd kind of like to see what the results would be if the wording were 'separate country' or somesuch.

Posted by: daraghmcdowell | April 24, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

If they take Mississippi and Alabama with them, I'm all for it.

Posted by: nodebris | April 23, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I say do it, whats the worse that could happen , it would probably succeed and be the envy of the of the other 49 well except for california..and ..........new england. allthough I can say I have been all over this great nation and nobody loves their state more than texans , they could/would pull it off with gusto

Posted by: jszcoffey | April 23, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

If Kay Bailey Hutchison goes after the gubernatorial nomination, I'll gladly contributed to her defeating Rick Perry for the Republican nomination. Hey, Texas is a state that votes GOPs for governor and Senate seats. So in being realistic that the governor's mansion will likely stay in the Republican camp, best way to deal is get Hutchison the nomination. Perry is unacceptable.

Posted by: ds081671 | April 23, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

This cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 23, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Blithering idiots. They learned this nonsense from the North Korean's - threaten, get something, threaten again, get something more, etc. Parents almost instinctively know how to handle this - you spank the spoiled child.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 23, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

That's Texas for you. The state of Texas always have a mind of its own. If the founding fathers of Texas believed that it should've been an independent nation, then Texas wouldn't have been a part of this country. That's why they are called the LONE STAR STATE!!! UH DUH! But hey.....it's their world, we're the squirrels.

Posted by: chaniquafrazier | April 23, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Everything is bigger in Texas-even its fools.Senator Hutchison will win the primary...I'll bet your tumblin' tumbleweed.

Posted by: klowry57 | April 23, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Houston, we have a solution...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCLz7XQOIOQ


Posted by: princeleo | April 23, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

This is just the sort of ridiculous publicity stunt that demonstrates that Perry would take Texas and drive it over the edge of a cliff.

Look, Texas is a strong, independent state. But its people are Americans, through and through. To suggest that they betray that loyalty goes against the very fiber we're made from.

I really hope that we all consider something more substantial than the demogoguery spouted out be Perry when casting ballots next year ...


And, just for FIX:

"CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS -- CAN'T LOSE!"

Posted by: jeremyailouse | April 23, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Republic of Texas=Idiocracy

Posted by: Ironcomments | April 23, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

A good reason why there shouldn't be another republican president from the state of Texas.

Posted by: Ironcomments | April 23, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

interestng piece...

" if you're looking for an analogy for today's Republican Party, the best one may be the most obvious: the GOP of the early 1930s, which suffered electoral disasters after a long period of electoral success, faced a popular Democratic President who succeeded a violently unpopular Republican one, and was unhealthily dependent on a base concentrated in one area of the country. In a historical irony, this area is now the South, from which the GOP of the 1930s was all but excluded as a legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Of the several things today's Republican Party has in common with its predecessor, one of the most striking is a leadership vacuum. After the political disasters of the 1930s, the most successful Republican Presidents tended to be outsiders: Eisenhower the career military officer, Nixon the loner, Reagan the actor. "

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Perry might have more credibility if he hadn't spent much of his time in office begging for federal funds.

Posted by: drewbitt | April 23, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"WHY would anyone irrationally reason that IF they were STRIVING for the United States of America PRESIDENCY in 2010 that the thing to do was to be UNpatriotic and talk treasonous succession from the Union???"

A) There is no US presidential election in 2010.
2) Perry isn't even a long-shot candidate for the GOP nod in 2012.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"But, among Republicans, 48 percent said it would be better for Texas if the state was an independent nation"

What a great idea! Now if only ALL the republicans would secede--we'd lie in a rational country again.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Just waiting for the next disaster season. Wildfires, hurricanes, etc. I live in TX but the jerks in this place are unbelievable. He will be calling on the federal gov't for assistance, when he knows that the money will come from "borrowing" in order to "spend" on TX.

Posted by: hadelaide | April 23, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Word to Texas: Grow up.

Posted by: soonerthought | April 23, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

WHY would anyone irrationally reason that IF they were STRIVING for the United States of America PRESIDENCY in 2010 that the thing to do was to be UNpatriotic and talk treasonous succession from the Union???

Yet THAT is exactly what is being proposed is this crazy governor's motivation!!!

Posted by: rm8471 | April 23, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

If they join Mexico.. half of the State won't know the difference.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 23, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"The Reason Why Rick Perry Can Win the GOP Primary".

As the wingnuts gain more control of the incredible shrinking GOP, they get to pick the candidates, but it doesn't seem to bode well for their party in the general.

Also, I have to wonder how many people say, in a poll, that they think TX should be independent, but would never actually vote for seccession in a referendum.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

It is the Lone Star State.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 23, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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