By Markos Moulitsas - 04/28/09 05:41 PM EDT
Radio and Fox News host Glenn Beck argues we’ll have a new American civil war with bubba-led “individual militias” reacting against fictional Obama plots to take away people’s guns. “They know the Constitution. They know the writings of the Founders … and I think we’re on this road — [they feel that] the government has betrayed the Constitution,” he said in a Fox broadcast laying out scenarios for what he sees as the coming revolution. “And so they will see themselves as people who are standing up for the Constitution.”
In Pittsburgh, neo-Nazi and cop-killer Richard Andrew Poplawski had fully bought into those conspiracy theories. “He didn’t like the control of the guns that was about to happen. He believed everything our forefathers put before us and thought that it was being distorted,” his best friend told the media, adding this curious coda: “We recently discovered that 30 states had declared sovereignty. One of his concerns was, Why were these major events in America not being reported to the public?”
While that “30” number seems grossly exaggerated, it turns out that there are governors, such as Texas’s Rick Perry (R), who have been very aggressive on this front. His official website proudly features a statement titled, “Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas’ Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment,” and at conservative rallies on April 15, Perry’s anti-federal government rhetoric led to enthusiastic chants of “Secede!” from rapturous crowds.
“We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it,” Perry explained to reporters after the rallies. “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that? But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
While one would expect the fringe types like Poplawski to engage in talk of “sovereignty,” it seemed bizarre coming from a U.S. governor, and from the second largest state (by population) in the union, no less! Curious about his motivations, Daily Kos commissioned a statewide Texas poll by independent pollster Research 2000 exploring the issue, and the results were nothing short of shocking:
Asking, “Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America?” 61 percent of respondents chose the U.S. However, a sizable minority — 35 percent — wanted independence, and the bulk of that 35 percent came from Republicans, who split evenly on the question, 48-48. Furthermore, 51 percent of Republicans approved Perry’s suggestion that Texas might have to leave the U.S., with just 44 percent disapproving.
What seemed like crazy talk suddenly makes more sense — Perry will likely square off in a difficult primary against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and he’ll need the crazy fringe of his party’s base to stand a chance against the more popular Hutchison.
Still, it’s certainly ironic that so many Republicans, who have spent most of this decade accusing Democrats of being un-American and unpatriotic, are now talking treason against this country. When it comes to “America, love it or leave it,” half of Texan Republicans want to leave it. Those bumper stickers that say “These colors don’t run”? Apparently they do. And their patriotism is apparently so skin-deep that it depends entirely on the occupant of the White House.
If nothing else, perhaps it’s time for the GOP to stop calling itself the “party of Lincoln.”
Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com).