Noted constitutional scholar Gov. Rick Perry and a few dozen of his friends held a press conference today to let out a rebel yell of “states’ rights!” in support of Rep. Brandon Creighton’s House Concurrent Resolution 50, which declares Texas sovereignty under the 10th Amendment.
The resolution affirms, in part:
That this serve as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist from mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers, effective immediately;
Needless to say the resolution is nothing more than a statement of belief, but Texas Republicans, Perry especially, have been playing “states’ rights” to maximum political effect. Ever since Perry’s Tea Party debut at the secessionist tax day protest in April 2009, he’s been pounding the podium about the 10th Amendment, the runaway federal government and stoking Texas nationalism.
Two years ago, Creighton filed a similar sovereignty resolution that failed to pass the Senate.
“Since that time things have gone from bad to worse,” Perry said today. He ticked off his bill of particulars: the EPA takeover of a Texas air permitting program; health care reform; and, he said, “they even attempted to bribe us with our own money” (the portions of the stimulus money Perry didn’t reject).
Lest anyone think this a pointless pissing match that Texas is bound to lose, Perry promised: “It isn’t a turf war; it’s all about doing things better.”
And Texas does things the best, the other speakers averred. “The other 49 states look to us,” remarked state Sen. Dan Patrick, the talk-radio host who was tea party before there was a Tea Party. “We solve problems in Texas. We find a problem, we solve it.” Patrick’s example? The sonogram bill.
“There is no hope if you look to California,” Patrick went on. “There is no hope if you look to Michigan. There is no hope if you look to New York.”
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst mused that when people ask him about problems in Texas, he answers that Texas only has two problems: the other 49 states and the federal government.
All in all, it was a bravura performance. For at least a little while, one could almost forget about the teensy-weensy problem of a $27 billion budget deficit.