Now Rick Perry really is talking about secession

The Texas governor is on a roll lately, first signing on with the fringe state sovereignty movement and then going even further.

Published April 16, 2009 5:15PM (EDT)

On Tuesday, I wrote about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's decision to endorse a resolution in his state's House that says the federal government has been overstepping its bounds and stepping on the powers guaranteed to the states by the 10th Amendment. (The legal argument is, as I wrote at the time, shaky.) That resolution is the product of a fringe movement, but still, I figured that my original headline on the post, "Rick Perry secedes from the U.S." was so obviously crazy that everyone would get that it was a joke. That didn't happen, though, and when I saw that, I changed the headline. As it turns out, the joke really was on me, because on Wednesday, Perry actually did talk about secession.

The governor had appeared at a tea party rally in his state at which some audience members reportedly shouted "Secede!" The subject came up again when he spoke to reporters afterwards. "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," Perry said. "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."

The story that Texas has the power to leave the U.S. if it decides to do so is a common one in the state, but, according to the Associated Press, which checked with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, it's not true.

Perry is up for reelection in 2010, and he faces the prospect of a tough primary challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, which could explain the direction he's gone on these issues lately.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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