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Thursday, April 16, 2009

When Bush Was President, Secession Talk Was Cool

Texas Governor Rick Perry said that he doesn't think Texas should secede from the U.S. Here is Perry's quote:
We 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 may come out of that.
From the reaction on the Left, you would think Perry just revealed a secret U.S. surveillance program which had kept our country safe from terrorist attack, because some want to charge Perry with treason. This from Crooks and Liars:
These republicans are talking treason in my mind. As soon as a Democratic president is inaugurated after conservatives led the charge and collapsed our economy, these freak show conservatives are now talking sucession [sic]. OH, Lord---help us all.
And this screamingly false homepage headline from Huffington Post: "Texas Governor Threatens To Secede." HuffPo all buts admitted the falsity of its headline, because when you clicked on it the actual title of the post was a more accurate "Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede, Leave Union." And the always cogent Comments from Left Field notes:
When some wingnut loonbags on the internet talk about secession, that’s one thing — one thing to generally be laughed at, ridiculed, and summarily ignored. But when these statements are made by a Republican governor, against a president who hasn’t been in office for four fucking months, that’s something completely different. This is just psychotic.
Oh, how times have changed. Now talk of secession is treasonous. But it wasn't that long ago that the Left cheered talk of secession when G.W. Bush was President. I realize the netroots don't study history, but at least they should remember cheering when Vermont wanted to secede in protest over the Iraq War, global warming, and whatever.

On February 6, 2008, The Huffington Post ran a lengthy article titled "Vermont: Most Likely To Secede?" singing the praises of the secession movement, and noting how far right secessionists (like the Alaska Independence Party) and far left secessionists (like those in Vermont) had found common ground at a conference in Tennessee. As to Vermont, the article noted uncritically:
Here's how it will be with Vermont: The leaders of its secessionist movement, the Second Vermont Republic, want to feed, shelter, clothe, and fuel a free republic broken from the empire. This doesn't mean the little country will sink into Albanian isolation, its citizens ceasing to trade with China or refusing to watch the rot beamed on DirecTV satellites. It will continue to be a tourist destination, its slopes welcoming New Yorkers and Quebecois equally. But the state's secesh want to keep their tax dollars at home and put them toward localized food economies (calling it "food sovereignty"), energy supplies based on wind and water, and credit lines out of community lenders freed from the distant tyrannical rate controls of central banks.
Just this past Monday The Hill blog ran a post on secession efforts in liberal Vermont, and how those efforts never seem to die. The post noted a 2006 editorial in The Nation which called for greater regional "self-determination," in light of the Bush reign of terror (I mean Bush domestic contingency operation) as part of its “Top ten bold ideas” for the new century.

In 2007, The Washington Post ran an op-ed by leaders of the Vermont secession movement, titled The Once and Future Republic of Vermont:
Against this backdrop, secessionists from all over the state will gather in June to plan a grass-roots campaign to get at least 200 towns to vote by 2012 on independence. We believe that one outcome of this meeting will be dialogues among different communities of Vermonters committed to achieving local economic vitality, be they farmers, entrepreneurs, bankers, merchants, lawyers, independent media providers, construction workers, manufacturers, artists, entertainers or anyone else with a stake in Vermont's future -- anyone for whom freedom is not just a slogan.
In 2004 Salon ran an article about how liberals were embracing secession movements as a reaction to Bush's re-election:
In the days after the election, fantasies of blue-state secession ricocheted around the Internet. Liberals indulged themselves in maps showing Canada gathering the blue states into its social democratic embrace, leaving the red states to form their own "Jesusland"....
The Independent in Britain ran an article in 2007 "Anger over Iraq and Bush prompts calls for secession from the US for Vermont."

The netroots think they own the internet. But when it comes to flip-flopping, sometimes the internet owns you.

UPDATE: A commenter asserts that "comments made by fringe groups and anonymous internet chatter are directly equivalent to public statements made by the sitting governor of a state. Well, read the Washington Post column linked above, in which it is revealed that then Lt. Governor Howard Dean ran town hall meetings to get a sense of whether the people of Vermont were in favor of succession (emphasis mine):
The present movement for secession has been gathering steam for a decade and a half. In preparation for Vermont's bicentennial in 1991, public debates -- moderated by then-Lt. Gov. Howard Dean -- were held in seven towns before crowds that averaged 230 citizens. At the end of each, Dean asked all those in favor of Vermont's seceding from the Union to stand and be counted. In town after town, solid majorities stood. The final count: 999 (62 percent) for secession and 608 opposed.
While I can find no reference to Dean commenting for or against secession, Rick Perry also did not come out in favor of secession. All Perry said is that when people get upset, you never know what can happen. I find it very interesting that Dean was willing to hold forums and votes on the topic, which is a lot more than Perry has done.

Related Posts:
Law Professor Continues His Personal Intifada
Unnamed Source Says MSM Still Hoping for Defeat
Ezra Klein Smears Ann Althouse

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  1. Wow! You sure pwned those liburls! I completely agree with you that comments made by fringe groups and anonymous internet chatter are directly equivalent to public statements made by the sitting governor of a state.

  2. I have addressed your point in an update to the post.

  3. As regards Texas, specifically, you should be aware that Governor Perry is following the Miles Vorkosigan Theory of Leadership -- if you see a parade, grab a baton and get out front. Secessionist sentiment, which is by no means universal or even as strong as Vermont's, is found in the Legislature, and because of the peculiar structure of Texas Government, the Governor is pretty well obliged to at least placate the Lege in order to maintain his position.

    At that, an honest plebescite would be a squeaker at the moment.


  4. Thanks for accusing me of hypocrisy by ranting about crazy secessionists in Vermont. Apparently, even though you quoted me, you can’t fucking read what I said. To repeat myself:

    When some wingnut loonbags on the internet talk about secession, that’s one thing — one thing to generally be laughed at, ridiculed, and summarily ignored. But when these statements are made by a Republican governor, against a president who hasn’t been in office for four fucking months, that’s something completely different. This is just psychotic.Apples, meet oranges. As I stated quite clearly, when wingnut loonbags — or people who are essentially political nobodys — talk about secession, that’s one thing. But when a sitting governor talks about it, it’s completely fucking different. The former is the lunatic fringe, and the latter is the lunatic fringe going mainstream.

    Nothing pisses me off more then people who can’t be bothered to place a modicum of critical thought into what they read, then place words in my mouth. In academia, this kind of misattribution is called plagiarism. In blogtopia, it’s apparently called being a Republican.

  5. I think we live in bizzaro world when people go on rants because they were quoted accurately. If quoting someone accurately is "putting words" in his mouth, then I guess I am guilty. And if quoting someone accurately means being a Republican, then I guess I am one. Does that mean that quoting some inaccurately makes one a Democrat?

  6. So sorry tas and UberMitch, but nobody seems to know what you're yelling about-- at least I don't.

    It seems that the point of Jacobson's post is that the Left only has a problem with talk of secession when it's a Repubican or Right-winger that can be accused of it.

    Perry stated "We got a great Union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it." Yet the Left call him treasonous and reduces his Left-assigned secessionist view to that of lunatics, freak-show conservatives and psychotics. However, when certain people in Vermont start making noises about secession during Bush's presidency, then it gets described in rather hopeful and glowing terms... certainly not with the same profanity-laced venom mixed among accusations of treason.

    And this isn't leftist hypocricy... somehow.

  7. As the editor and publisher of Vermont Commons: Voices Of Independence, our once and future republic's only statewide newspaper, I confess to being a bit puzzled by this "debate."

    No one up here I know who supported nonviolent secession during the 8 years of the Bush/Cheney regime is any less fervent about supporting nonviolent secession in the Age of Obama.

    We're not Left, and we're not Right (whatever those two terms mean grows increasinly unclear).

    What we ARE are folks committed to economic relocalization and political decentralization.

    Free Vermont, and long live the UNtied States.

  8. What I find astonishing, (and maybe you can comment on this Mad River Yakker) is why Vermont screams for secession because they want a "decentralized" government, but then keeps voting ultra left wing socialists to Congress. Unless I'm missing something, the socialists in this country such as Bernie Sanders want nothing more than to centralize power in Washington. The phenomenal growth of the government advocated for by every socialist/liberal in this country does nothing but give Washington a stranglehold on the this country. Vermont, do you support the party that is for states rights? Do you support the candidates that appoint judges for states rights? Did you support the party that had the elimination of the department of education as part of its platform (so as to return it to local control)?

    To be fair, the Republican party has strayed far from its conservative states' rights roots, but we are trying to return it there with movements such as the Tea Parties. Until Vermont actually backs up their talk of secession by voting for politicians who respect state's rights and want to shrink Washington rather than grow it, the rest of the country will see their talk of secession as nothing more than having a hissy fit because they haven't gotten their socialist way.

    Finally, to address hypocriticalness:

    Big Government Socialists wanting to secede because they haven't had success trying to subjugate the capitalists in the country under their control is hypocritical

    Socialists who want to force unwilling capitalists to fund socialized health care and then advocate decentralization are hypocritical

    Small government conservatives and libertarians who just want to be left alone by the government talking of seceding because they are being economically oppressed by the government is not hypocritical.

    Small government states rights advocates who want decentralized government who talk of seceding because of the growing threat of a dangerously powerful centralized government is not hyporcritical.

    Also, Tas: quoting someone accurately and attributing the source to them is the opposite of plagiarism. If you don't know what a word means you can find help at www.dictionary.com

    And also you are right if you are implying that the Huffington Post should be categorized as the lunatic fringe, however, the mainstream media treats it like a legitimate news organization. Unfortunately, you cant distinguish the radical fringe on the left from the mainstream media or Democrat politicians any longer. So your point rings hollow.

  9. In all due respect to the socialists running out government, Secession is just as much American as Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet. They need to be briefed on American History: This would not have been a UNITED States had it not been for Secession. These types of comments should say a lot about those running what use to be OUR Country.

  10. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"


    "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

    It would appear that many people, like I do, think we have reached the "destructive of those ends" point.

  11. When Bush was reelected, the left sent along an email suggesting that all the truly 'intelligent people' who were the backbone of the US and did not vote for Bush (i.e., them) should leave the country. Just to teach the Right a lesson, you know. How surprised should anyone be to hear them singing a different tune today? Not at all.

  12. "you can’t fucking read what I said"

    Well, I can. I'm reading a rant from someone who can't get a point across without a profanity in every other sentence. Of course, I find this utterly charming and am now completely swayed to your point of view.

  13. Dr. Jacobson,

    I am a Texan by birth and I thought you might find my thoughts on secession interesting.

    Best Regards,
    Nathan Zimmermann