I noticed a couple of news items in the past week that were among the more balanced and reasonable pieces written about two events that sparked many peoples’ emotions into the off-the-charts category: Gov. Rick Perry’s comments alluding to Texas secession and the Tea Parties.
For me, a newcomer to Texas, Hoppe’s very smart article shed some real light on the Texas concept of secession and showed many sides of the debate in the wake of Perry’s comments.
Here’s a slice of the story, but read the whole thing:
Matt Mackowiak, a Republican consultant and former spokesman for Hutchison, said Perry gets the Texas folklore.
“We are an independent group. But the secession talk, Perry is just really trying to be a little bit too clever on this,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good long-term strategy.”
Professor Sherri Greenberg of the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs , a former state representative, said Texas over the years has become much more diverse, and there is no broad Texas mindset that believes in fierce independence anymore.
But Perry’s message does target a subset of voters, “people who have deep roots here … who say, ‘We believe in states’ rights, self-determination, and we don’t like taxes,’ ” she said. Some of them might have even bought into the idea that Texas could return to an independent nation state – “maybe they think they heard it somewhere,” she said.
Perry in his comments this week after a “tea party” in Austin seemed to be among them. “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,” he said.
Political consultant Miller said that when it comes to the GOP base, “there’s no downside for him” in playing that theme. “He can ride that horse all day long.”
But there is myth and reality, and independence comes with a certain downside for lawmakers who don’t appreciate the distractions.
And speaking of the Tea Parties, well, whoo-boy. If you went, you thought they were important in a passionate way and if you hated them, there was red in your eyes when you described the protesters.
But I think there are a lot of folks in the middle trying to make sense of everything going on. This piece on The Atlantic Monthly’s website struck a real chord with me, and seemed to be the most reasonable thing I’ve seen concerning the Tea Parties.
From Ross Douthat about the Tea Parties:
Obama is a very popular President, at the moment, his unpopularity among Republicans notwithstanding, and it’s awfully hard to see the Tea Parties doing much to change that reality in the short run; if anything, they’re far more likely to reconfirm the majority in its opinion that American conservatism is increasingly wacky, echo-chamberish, and out-of-touch.
Still, here we are in the sixth year of the Iraq War, and all those anti-war protests, their excesses and stupidities notwithstanding, look a lot more prescient in hindsight than they did (to me, at least) when they were going on. So if you’re inclined to sneer and giggle at the Tea Parties, keep in mind that just because a group of protesters looks ragged, resentful, and naive, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong to be alarmed…
Again, check out the whole thing.
Photo used via the Flickr Creative Commons license. Thanks to Ben Pollard for the photo.