Perry: I don't advocate secessionRick Perry, GOVERNOR OF TEXASSunday, May 17, 2009About a month ago, I stood with a bipartisan group of Texas legislators to speak in support of a resolution honoring the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution simply restates the Constitution's principle of federalism — that powers not granted to the national government, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or the people.At a time when the federal government is passing trillion-dollar bailouts, bullying states to increase taxes and bureaucracies, and even taking control of private companies, Americans are increasingly reconnecting with the concept of limited government in that amendment.I can't say I was surprised that critics recast my defense of federalism and fiscal discipline into advocacy for secession from the Union. I have never advocated for secession and never will.Like the president, members of Congress and every other state governor, I have sworn oaths to our nation and Constitution. My sincere pledge to uphold and defend the Constitution has fueled my concern and my statements about the recent unprecedented expansion of our federal government.The tea parties that rose up across the country are examples of what Thomas Jefferson, an architect of our Constitution, meant when he said, "Every generation needs a new revolution." In our time, informed dissent is taking shape in response to Washington's unprecedented excess.When Congress and the resident make plans to increase the federal debt by one-third in just the administration's first 100 days, citizens and taxpayers should be worried. When federal stimulus bills force state governments to change long-standing laws, raise taxes and increase government spending, citizens and taxpayers should be outraged. The swollen river known as the federal government has clearly overflowed its banks.President Barack Obama's budget takes a $1.7 trillion deficit and increases that by $177 billion. As planned spending continues, the deficit will eventually quadruple in size by 2019. As more Americans do the math and calculate the impact of a $765 billion deficit on their children's future, their frustration grows.I suspect America's founders would be appalled at their successors taking control of private corporations, hiring and firing workers and breaking contracts. Watching the federal government purchase majority stakes in manufacturers should terrify anyone who ever saw a Cold War-era Russian automobile. Government lacks competitiveness, which makes it a breeding ground for inefficiency and stagnation.Those looking for the positive impact of limited government and fiscal conservatism should turn their eyes to Texas. Our Constitution limits our Legislature to 140 days every two years with the bottom line of a balanced budget. Our freedom from an income tax makes Texas attractive to employers and entrepreneurs as do the state's predictable regulatory climate and fair legal system. Add hard-working Texans to our opportunity-friendly environment, and you start to understand why the state leads the nation in exports, job creation and Fortune 500 companies. Limited government works.Apologists for an all-encompassing government tout side issues as a smokescreen to obscure the truly necessary debate on the proper role and size of government. That is why I have enthusiastically added my voice to the growing chorus of 10th Amendment supporters. None of us want to see unconstrained government of the magnitude that the amendment's authors were so careful to legislate against.As we watch the federal government expand before our very eyes, those of us who value freedom are simply sounding the alarm with every means available to us. We cannot stand idly by while the system that has allowed Americans to determine their own destiny and compete on their own merits is dismantled. Instead, we will exercise our First Amendment rights and speak the truth to power until we achieve change that Texans can live with.
Not maybe his best effort. An op-ed about how he never supported secession probably should have addressed it a little more head on much earlier, such as maybe three weeks ago.
This op-ed reads like it was edited by several people dozens of times to get it just right. It is watered down. It is bland. It sounds like it was written because it had to be written, not because anyone was excited to write it. Even the line "Cold War-era Russian automobile" falls flat. I agree with where he is going there, but Rick is just usually a lot more colorful and interesting than that when he speaks.
I think if I were Rick... or his ghost writer... I might have suggested a line about Rick's service in the United States military or more specifically how he flew those giant Air Force Hercules planes over Europe and the Middle East to show how stupid the "Rick is an America hating traitor" criticism is, plus a line such as "I also want to stress how much I love our great country," or "I love America at least as much as I love Texas, and it ought to be abundantly clear by now to anyone who has been paying attention how much I love Texas." Something like that... it would need word smithing, and I am kind of tired this morning, but that's the gist. I would have also been more self deprecating about the late night talk show jokes and even maybe make lighthearted reference to how a bitter liberal former sports anchor called him the "worst person in the world." Just to lighten it up a little bit and show that being called names by liberal pinheads on television is not the end of the world and can even be satisfying for the person being attacked by those idiots. Lastly I may have added a line about how Rick never even used the 's' word on the day of the teaparties, contrary to popular myth.
Considering he never actually said he was for secession, I wonder if Rick's people just sort of thought his original statement would speak for itself. Over the past month, the myth of what he said has become reality and has served as the basis for countless attacks on Rick from MSNBC, CNN, and other liberal media outlets. The Texas media deserve a lot of blame for perpetuating that myth when appearing on national television to talk about it. Rick has been relentlessly on message when asked about this, but sometimes being on message is not enough. Sometimes you have to respond directly to the criticism, and do it early if you are ever going to do it.
I am going to give this op-ed a C- grade. It might have been a B had it come out 3 weeks ago, but it gets points off for tardiness. I am not sure it does enough to humiliate the people putting words in his mouth. It doesn't really advance the ball forward on much of anything happening in the Texas legislature, either. I am also not sure it really puts the secession issue to bed, but then again maybe Rick's people think this issue helps them in the GOP primary. It very well might. Who knows. On the other hand, now that Rick has rejected secession in print, the Larry Kilgore crowd and Debra Medina crowd might feel more comfortable attacking him again after their month long respite.