Dances with Secessionists: Rick Perry Defends the Tenthers – from a Distance


Three days after he no-showed at the “Sovereignty or Secession” rally he did do much to help inspire, Gov. Rick Perry bravely stood up for his “Texas Tenther” brethren—at a comfy arm’s length on the Lou Dobbs radio show. Dobbs’ guest host, state Sen. Dan Patrick, climaxed a 13-minute lovefest-y segment with his potential U.S. Senate patron by tossing his pal one last big fat softball: “Are you just shocked — are you just shocked — at how the Democrats have turned not only a deaf ear, but are just so disrespectful, to the voters in America?”

Patrick was referring to the stimulus and “ObamaCare” debates, but the Gov. took his chance to throw an olive branch to the wingnuts who were mad as fire about his absence from the state Capitol rally covered so well by Observer staff writer Forrest Wilder.

“Yeah, I am,” Perry responded. “As late as yesterday you had people talking down to … people who would go and express their views that the states don’t have sovereignty. “The 10th amendment says that the federal government was created by the states to be an agent of the states, not the other way around,” Perry continued.

(Creation Myth alert! Read the much-abused 10th Amendment, and its real meaning, for yourself here.)

“I don’t care what you want to say about it: That is what our founding fathers.” Apparently, Perry has philosophized so often on this point that he now discourses in shorthand. What the founding fathers … what? But sentence fragments are never enough to trip up our chief of state, and he did go on:  “Start reading and understanding why the Constitution of the United States was written the way it was. …. It goes back to the natural laws of Anglo Saxons. People need to study that and get a handle on that again, and don’t be making these, what I think are radical statements against those who really believe in the Constitution of the United States, feel that it really was an ordained instrument, and goes back to men of God who, who who understood exactly what they were doing.

To see it turned around now the way it is is fascinating to me. And I think Americans are really tired of people trying to use these tea parties and these other gatherings as a cause to beat up on people who are conservative but do believe greatly in our Constitution.”

What does this tell us, aside from reminding us for the upteenth time that our Constitution-flogging governor doesn’t know diddly squat about his favorite subject? One thing, maybe: Contrary to speculation that the governor wishes he hadn’t lit the states’ rights fire back in April, he’s hardly ready to surrender the small slice of potential Republican primary voters who are looking for a 21st-century George Wallace to support. But with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison criticizing his posturing and pandering, and giving Republicans a slightly saner alternative, Perry’s taking a subtler tack now: He won’t show up at the rallies, maybe, but he’ll try to send subtle signals to the secesssion crowd that he’s still with ’em.

Good luck with that, Gov. You ought to realize that you’re trying to reach out to folks who aren’t exactly attuned to subtlety. Unless “We hate the United States” is your idea of subtlety. Besides, the Tenthers have got themselves a true-blue GOP champion in gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina, who showed up last Saturday and wowed the folks with a Tim McVeigh-style call to shed the “blood of tyrants.”

Now that‘s the real deal!