Texas Governor Rick Perry Threatens Secession From The Union


Speaking at an anti-tax protest yesterday, Texas governor brought up the fact that Texas had the right to secede from the union if thing in Washington got bad enough.

Now before we go further, let’s set a little background:

  • Rick Perry is not a very popular governor. There’s a good chance he could get beaten in a primary by Kay Bailey Hutchison.
  • Texans are fiercely prideful. You’ve probably seen the phrase Don’t Mess with Texas before. It was originally meant to be an anti-littering slogan, but Texans have turned the phrase into a catch-all statement of the state’s independent spirit. The late writer Molly Ivines suggested that if you could train a squirrel to repeat “Don’t mess with Texas” over and over again, it could probably get elected governor.
  • Texans like to talk about independence and the fact that it’s been part of six countries in its history. At the State House, they honour all Six Flags of Texas (The US, the confederacy, Mexico, Spain, France and its own flag as a once-independent state.) So it’s allegiance to the US is a bit less than other states, which for the most part have only known one country.

So in that light, it’s not all that remarkable that the governor bring up Texas independence at a protest. Now if it were Florida, or California or Michigan talking about joining Canada, that’d be a huge deal.

On the other hand, the s-word, secession, isn’t heard all that often in modern American political discourse, so that’s certainly something to take note of. Again though, we’ll refer you back to the first point, about Rick Perry’s likely primary fight. To us, that basically explains it all.

That being said, it might be fun to daydream about what an independent Texas state would be like.There’s a whole host of great country songs that could be its national anthem. Like, perhaps, Waltz Across Texas or All My Exes Live in Texas.

If it did secede, we hope that they can come up with something regarding Texas athletics, so that the football teams can still participate in the NCAA. It’d be boring for the University of Texas (disclosure: my alma mater) to just beat up on Texas A&M every Saturday.

Here’s one thing we do know. An independent nation of Texas would be energy independent. Gregor Macdonald has done the analysis:

Given that Texas, starting with Cortez in 1519, has functioned under six flags already I thought it might behoove to take a quick look at how Texas might fare under a seventh. Specifically, with respect to the supply of Oil and Gas. Would an independent Texas be able to produce enough oil and gas to serve its own population, with some left over for export ? Indeed it would. In fact, Texas produces more oil than any other state and accounts for 19.7% of total US output. Texas also produces more than 30% of US natural gas supply. Texas does consume a goodly portion of its own oil output, about 75% of what it produces. But, it only consumes half of its own natural gas production. For secessionists, these numbers look good.

Today I tweeted that perhaps taking early citizenship in Texas might be a wise idea. While an actual Texas secession from the union would no doubt be a spectacular, historic event–replete with enormous legal problems over property rights–I must say it’s not impossible. And with respect to Oil and Gas production, I see no reason why a resurrected Texas Republic could not revolve oil and gas royalties currently paid to the federal government back to itself. And thus, preserve private company property rights for all current drilling and lease operations, as they are.

While the days of price setting by the Texas Railroad Commission are long since over, the RRC is still very much alive and operable in its regulatory and information gathering capacity. Frankly, although the EIA in Washington produces state by state oil and gas production data, it’s kinda fun to look over the RRC statistics and know that Texas is in charge of its own. Read the whole thing >

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