Governor Perry Hitched His Wagon to the Wrong Fringe Group
Polling out today tests whether or not Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out ahead of the pack with talk of Texas’ right to secede from the Union.
The latest Rasmussen Reports polling in Texas says today that:
- 75% of Texas voters would opt to keep the state part of the United States
- 18% would vote to secede
- 31% believe Texas does have the right to secede
Perry distinguished himself as Teabagger in Chief earlier this week when he held a press conference reaffirming Texas’ rights as a state under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Consititution. On Wednesday, he told a reporter essentially said that Texas has no immediate plans to secede, but the option is there for Texans as they are an “independent lot.”
No matter what you think about the protests on Tax Day this week, Perry is making the wrong political call in lining himself up with the fringe on the right. He faces a primary election for another term against fellow Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. With Hutchinson’s long history of serving Texas in the Senate and her solid conservative credentials, that’s a tough fight. Perry is probably thinking he has to cut hard to the right to win that fight.
He might turning too sharply, too soon.
Republicans should have learned last November that they will not remain competitive as a national party with rhetoric and political positions so far from the mainstream. There is a lot of righteous indignation out there about government actions over the past ten years or so – indignation heightened by Wall Street bailouts, declining home values, unemployment and everyother nasty little thing brought about by recession. Throwing logs on the fire of outrage will not help.
Protests always grab the headlines and Perry this week hitched his wagon to those headlines. When you look at videos and news coverage of the Tea Parties you see a polyglot of consternation, but no unifying theme other than ‘we hate the president.’
When times are as tough as these economically, it’s a foregone conclusion that people are going to hate something or someone. President Barack Obama’s approval rating is still in the 60% range. This despite the bailout fatigue and general unease with how Washington is dealing with the recession.
What this tells me is that most Americans do not hate the president. Most Americans are like me and see some good in his policies – economic stimulus, help for people facing foreclosure – and some bad – bending over backwards for bankers and brokers, leveraging tax dollars to save other people’s bad investments.
All of this together leaves me thinking that Tea Parties and the Teabagger in Chief down there in Texas are the real fringe elements in America. I’m not going to hate them, but as I try to reason my way through the difficulties our country is in, I’ll disdain their talk and their pointless, muddled protests.
In the end, what Perry might find is that he gambled on the lunatic fringe and lost. Yikes, that means Hutchinson could end up the next governor of Texas. Sorry, Texas.