Rick Perry has recently spoken out about Texas seceding from the Union. From the New York Times:
“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 told reporters on Wednesday. “My hope is that America, and Washington in particular, pay 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?”
Democrats have already begun making disapproving noises:
State Senator Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, said Mr. Perry had not only opened himself to ridicule but also evoked a time most Texans would rather forget. “Texas has become a hotbed of right-wing political activity,” Mr. Ellis said, “but I think even those folks on the far right think this is over the top.”
And Perry has already begun to backtrack:
After the rallies, Perry downplayed his secession comments, amending them in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to say, “I’m trying to make the Obama Administration pay attention to the 10th Amendment.”
So what’s the whole point of this? It’s just another Republican establishment figure going out on a limb to try to grab the Ron Paul constituency before what looks to be a nasty primary fight. Of course, the fact that at least part of the GOP now has to sound like hardcore libertarians on what used to be considered fringe issues can be considered encouraging to the movement.
I don’t know a whole lot about Perry’s record in Texas, so I don’t know if he’s a worthwhile politician and therefore worthy of our support. I would tend to suspect he’s not, just on general principle when dealing with Republicans.
But this, and the broader 10th Amendment movement in general, does represent a sea change in libertarian thought. Back in 2006, the Libertarian Party had a vicious fight between the Radical Caucus and the Reform Caucus. Reform ended up winning, but it seems like a lot of the people in the Radical Caucus ended up reappearing in Ron Paul’s presidential bid in 2008, in the GOP. And now, as an effective component of the Paul wing of the GOP, they are sounding more credible and wield more political power than they could have had by winning the fight for the LP in 2006. Maybe Michael Medved was right.