The Austin Chronicle

The Texas Secession Petition

By Richard Whittaker, November 12, 2012, 5:24pm, Newsdesk

So now we know how the GOP responds in defeat. One half (cough*Boehner*cough) knuckles down and accepts that there's work to be done. The rest? Seemingly they believe that the way forward is to dissolve the Union.

It's kind of the White House's own fault. The Obama administration has an initiative whereby any petition lodged on their website that gets more than 25,000 virtual signatures will get a formal response from the administration. So, of course, what do we get? A petition asking for "the Obama administration to peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government."

The last time we heard this kind of Civil War Part Two cant was when Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson referred to the War of "Northern Aggression" in a press release.

Similar petitions for 18 more states, including New Jersey and Montana, are still in the low quadruple digits, which implies both a: a smaller population and b: less craziness per capita. Unsurprisingly, Kentucky and Louisiana are getting closer to the 25,000 threshold.

So far, the Lone Star petition has gathered 30,975 signatures. One might note that, at time of writing, eight out of the last 20 names came from out of state, including Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and two from South Carolina. This, of course, raises the real question of how many of them have signed the 18 other similar petitions. And are they supportive of an independent Texas, or do they just want Texas' finest Confederates to go away? You judge.

It's obviously embarrassing stuff for establishment Republicans, who only like playing footsie with the crazies when there's an election drawing near. GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak recently Tweeted (and then seemingly deleted)‏, "Please stop the Texas secession updates. Not helpful, newsworthy, clever or meaningful." (To which Dem strategist Jason Stanford acidly replied, "What I thought about Birthers."

PS OH in the newsroom: One staff wag suggested that the end result of this petition drive would be the Not Really United States of Fuck Off in the South and the United States of Democracy and Reason everywhere else.

Of course, Texas has always had its fair share of crackpot secessionists, like the super-marginal Governor Rick Perry, who started muttering about secession when he was cuddling up to Tea Partiers in 2009. The Austin American Statesman has gone so far as to repeat their Politifact claim that he wasn't actually backing secession, but we'd say he was definitely batting his electoral eyelashes at it.

Of course, Perry has backpedaled, but that fire has been lit – even though, as Burnt Orange Report pointed out, there is no mechanism for Texas to secede.

So now there are 30,975 signatories waiting for a response from the president. Here's hoping the response is pretty much "how did you get this number?"

Update: A new petition has appeared requesting the right for Austin to peacefully "withdraw from the state of Texas & remain part of the United States," annexing with it Lockhart, Dublin, and Shiner. Now that's a plan we can get behind.

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