Here’s a shocking poll for you. Rasmussen Reports finds that 75 percent Texans aren’t buying into the emerging talk radio political culture idea that the Obama administration is such a grave threat to the founding father’s original vision that Texas could one day seriously consider pulling out of the United States.
The suggestion has been dangled by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (said in a way to throw red meat to the party’s base but keep just enough deniability to pooh-pooh the idea that he meant how even a bowl of Jello would take it) and Fox News’ hottest new property, talk show host Glenn Beck. It now turns out that most Texas aren’t into raising the possibility of leaving the United States union if their chosen candidate or party loses:
Thirty-one percent (31%) of Texas voters say that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country.
However, the latest Rasmussen Reports poll in the state finds that if the matter was put to a vote, it wouldn’t even be close. Three-fourths (75%) of Lone Star State voters would opt to remain in the United States. Only 18% would vote to secede, and seven percent (7%) are not sure what they’d choose.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, in response to a reporter’s question about secession at a protest “tea party,” said Wednesday, “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, you know, who knows what might come out of that? But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.” The comment was widely reported in the media.
It was more than “just reported.” The fact that an elected official would even remotely dangle it would be unthinkable even five years ago. Barry Goldwater’s followers didn’t start talking about pulling out of the union in the face of the LBJ landslide, the whopping Democratic majority in Congress, and the resulting deluge of Great Society welfare-state big government legislation. And for all of the American left’s hatred of George Bush, there were no mainstream liberal leaders or even Air America hosts urging Massachusetts or California to pull out of the United States because Bush and the GOP were for a while in control. They didn’t even suggest it when White House political maven Karl Rove talked about building a permanent Republican majority.
What has changed?
The bottom line is that some GOP leaders and would-be leaders are now in a mad — nearly frantic — scramble to please the most conservative part of the Republican party’s conservative base and to make sure they don’t displease powerful talk show hosts who help them get…or lose…votes.
Some conservatives call such divisive and mega-polarizing rhetoric brave. But in reality it’s pandering — and belongs in a new book: Profiles In Lack Of Courage.
UPDATE: File this in your You Could Have Guessed This Was Coming folder. Someone who is up for re-election is now trying to distance himself from his own words…
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.