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    When Bush Was President, Secession Talk Was Cool

    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.

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    Mister Snitch! | April 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    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.

    Mister Snitch! | April 18, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    “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.

    Dr. Jacobson,

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

    Best Regards,
    Nathan Zimmermann

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