Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Conservatives Start Using the "S" Word

You know it had to happen. Some conservative had to start using the "S" word for secession and Chuck Norris (of martial arts fame) did it. He talked about the possibility of Texas seceding from the United States in an appearance with Glenn Beck.

On Glenn Beck's radio show last week, I quipped, in response to our wayward federal government, "I may run for president of Texas." That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not I, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star State, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state. From the East Coast to the "Left Coast," America seems to be moving farther and farther from its Founders' vision and government.
The right has been edging toward secession talk ever since Obama was elected. The problem for conservatives--and Norris gets at it here--is that Obama isn't a fluke. A big majority of Americans wanted government to act boldly in response to the recession, address environmental issues, enact health care reform, and get out of Iraq. Obama only won 53% of the popular vote but more than 2/3rds of the public approves of the way he's handled himself in office and more than 90% either approved or somewhat approved of the big budget speech in which Obama layed out his big reform agenda.

Those are extremely bad numbers for conservatives.

For a wingnut like Norris, "Americas seem to be moving farther and farther from its Founders' vision and government." Conservatives have been thinking about Texas for some time in relation to the question of secession. I remember listening to Walter Williams talk up the idea of making Texas into a "free market, laissez-faire" nation once while he was subbing for Limbaugh. Given that Texas was once an independent country, conservatives reason that it could "choose" to forswear its connection to the United States and become independent again.

Of course, the right better move quickly. Texas may already be slipping. McCain only won Texas by 55-44 and a significant chunk 0f that 55% had to be country club Republicans who don't have the loathing of the United States needed to contemplate secession.

That's what it gets down to for conservatives--loathing America. Glenn Beck talks about civil war and chaos as though he were anxious to bring it on. Loathing America is also an underlying current in the "going Galt" idea of "high achieving" conservatives going on a "performance strike" and depriving the country of their talents. Likewise, it's part of the reason why Rush Limbaugh's statements about wanting Obama to fail continue to strike a nerve. There's a sense that Limbaugh wants America as a whole to fail if we choose Obama's approach and most of the country would like to see Limbaugh and conservatives back down.

But I think it will be awhile before conservatives begin to back down. By the end of the George W. administration, the right had become highly committed to extremely aggressive, in-your-face, bullying personal styles. Therefore, it's unlikely that the first couple waves of failure will have much impact on reconciling them to their minority status in American life.

But it's pretty likely that conservatives are facing an extended education in political failure and talking about "Going Galt" or secession doesn't help them. Maybe they'll eventually see the light.


Todd Mayo said...

They don't have a legal right to secede. That was settled long ago. When I ask myself, "Would I be troubled if Texas were no longer part of the United States of America. Answer: No.

Scottye said...

Given that the inter-state infrastructure is so interconnected now how in the hell would it be feasible for Texas to secede? How would they build a viable economy?

I mean, talk of secession really makes little sense beyond the publicity grab. It also reeks of desperation. I wonder what Limbaugh and Beck's ratings look like these days?