Commentary: In Texas, secession talk is no joke

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramNovember 14, 2012 

I'd like to laugh about the idea of Texas secession.

But here in Tarrant County, where Ron Paul Republicans and the Tea Party have taken control, the talk is very serious.

"It would be good for Texas," State Republican Executive Committeeman Bill Eastland said Tuesday.

Eastland, 64, of Arlington, said Texas should "buy our way out" because voters for President Obama "didn't want to give up their free government cheese."

Echoing comments last week by a Hardin County Republican party officer, Eastland called for "separation," not secession. Like in the 1820s, he sees U.S. residents leaving to resettle in Texas.

"The U.S. would take the bribe," Eastland said.

"They'll be desperate for the money. And they'll want our Republicans out of Congress."

This is not just some guy in boxers ranting on Facebook between cat videos.

This is one of the 62 men and women who lead Texas Republicans.

Tarrant County is the state's largest Republican stronghold, and our leaders are some of the state's most libertarian.

Ron Paul and Tea Party activists ousted business conservatives in favor of representatives like Eastland, a perennial City Council loser who opposed Cowboys Stadium and George W. Bush's Rangers Ballpark.

Serious Republican secession talk is "bubbling" among activists, Eastland said, because America is "off the rails."

He described a "cultural divide" between Texans and "people who want their cheese, their handout, their welfare."

In a survey last year by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, secession was backed by 18 percent of Texas voters.

Among Republicans, the figure was 25 percent.

Texas is not the only state talking secession.

As of late Tuesday, residents in 46 states had petitioned the White House for secession.

Texas' petition had 85,000 signatures. Not all were Texans'.

"We're just tired of [Gov.] Rick Perry," said Gerald Lillpop of Cameron Park, Calif., leader of a new group Californians for Texas Sovereignty.

"He's always saying if the federal government doesn't shape up, Texas might leave," Lillpop said.

"The feeling is mutual."

This is no joke.

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