Tea Party totalitarianism: What’s next for Rick Perry?

“Come and take it” — Texas flag at the Battle of Gonzales, March 1831

Rick Perry takes it back to Texas. He might run again for governor. He should. As Steve Forbes says, he's a great governor with great ideas. I'd make the case that his poor performance in the presidential race is a credit to him as a Texan and as a Texas governor. He feels uncomfortable away from home, away from Texas. It is the Jeffersonian ideal, and Perry is paragon of these earth-based, sense-of-place values. More than values. A sense of being; at one with the ancestors, at one with God, at one with one’s own place on earth and free of abstractions.
What Perry wanted to achieve for Texas as a Texan is unachievable for a president, and Ron Paul should take note. Because Perry and Paul are both “free-state” guys. But the freedom and autonomy they seek cannot be granted top-down like a benevolent master freeing his provincial serfs in the far provinces. They need to take it. Like his boots say, "Come and take it." If Texas wants it, she’s got to take it.
And right now Perry has a whole posse with similar ideas: the Pauls, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Gary Johnson (Libertarian candidate from New Mexico), Joe Miller of Alaska, Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Tenth Amendment Center — more daily, and tens of thousands of young students begin to listen to the Pauls.
Perry must have seen the problems rising right away when he entered the presidential race; the problems of globalized abstractions superimposed on real people. Gay marriage? Michele BachmannMichele BachmannNo-shows at GOP convention Clinton camp: Trump VP pick is 'divisive,' 'unpopular' Lobbying world MORE wanted to legislate from Washington, D.C., how people live in Vermont and Massachusetts on issues over which the federal government has no jurisdiction. (Rising American Caesar Newt the Munificent supports as well.) It is Tea Party totalitarianism and a tendency I warned about when I first encouraged Perry to run for president here in 2009. Perry called it, correctly, a states’-rights issue in his great book , Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington:

“We are a diverse people — incapable of being governed from a faraway capital by people who do not share our values. Recognizing this fact is critical to the preservation of a free state.”

But then he walked it back and fell in line with Bachmann and the others hoping to govern the behavior of Massachusetts and Vermont from D.C.: It is totalitarian when the Chinese tell the Tibetans how to pray. It is totalitarian when Washington tells Vermonters how to make love.
What Perry wants for states cannot, will not, be given by a federal government. It has to be taken by Texas and the few other states that seek free state status and constitutional government. Rick Perry as governor of Texas needs a committee of likeminded governors. He should be the leader of this movement. He needs to lead a “super-committee of governors” in sympathetic states.

Texas appears ready for self-government. So do Alaska, Kentucky, Kansas, Idaho and Utah and a few others. That means full 10th Amendment rights and colloquial consciousness. But this is a job for states and their governors who have the courage to take it, because it will not be given and it is not worth having if it is given by central government. Perry can do this, and possibly only he can do it.

More in Healthcare

What’s next for the reproductive justice movement

Read more »