Texas Governor Rick Perry has been throwing some serious heat lately, of the sort not scene since the federal government wanted to make states let black folks vote, or since there was some suggestion that the federal government might curtail white people’s ability to own black people as chattel:
“I believe the federal government has become oppressive. It’s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion in the lives of its citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. [...] “We think it’s time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas. That’s what this press conference, that’s what these Texans are standing up for. There is a point in time where you stand up and say enough is enough, and I think Americans, and Texans especially have reached that point.”
— Governor Rick Perry, five days ago: Governor Perry Calls FEMA To Assist With Wildfires
— Governor Rick Perry, last month: Governor Perry Calls For 1,000 Troops To Be Sent To Border
— Governor Rick Perry, five months ago: Governor Perry Requests 18 Month Extension Of Federal Aid For Ike Debris Removal
Honestly, though, I agree with Mike Tomasky that 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.