Rick Perry Flip-Flops on Secession

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I guess all of the late-night TV punchlines have gotten to Rick Perry, who published a Letter to the Editor in the San Antonio Express-News today in which he asserts he's never been “secede from the union.” Except for his comments at the Austin tea party on tax day where he pretty much insinuates just that.

FoxNews, April 15, 2009:

“There's a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We've 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 might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot.”

San Antonio Express-News, May 17, 2009:

“I can't say I was surprised that critics worked so hard to recast my defense of federalism and fiscal discipline into advocacy for secession from the Union. Of course, I have never advocated for secession and never will.”

Too bad, because it really seemed to strike a chord with the far-right voters he's courting in his upcoming Republican primary.

DailyKos poll, April 22, 2009:

Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Rick Perry's suggestion that Texas may need to leave the United States?

Democrats: Approve 16, Disapprove 80

Republicans: Approve 51, Disapprove 44

Independents: Approve 43, Disapprove 50

Kinda funny–the comments clearly caught on with the Republican base. Shortly thereafter, Perry took the lead over Hutchison in several gubernatorial polls. Now Perry's flip-flopping on secession, which seems to be a slam-dunk with his voting public.

Come on, Rick Perry! I was counting on you to stay the course on Texas secession. Maybe the far right just needs to tea-bag him a little more.  


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.


  1. great analysis until….
    you concluded with “Maybe the far right just needs to tea-bag him a little more.” It's a thoughtless, childish, Rachel Maddow-esque joke that has been repeated more times than “Al Gore invented the internet”.  I mean c'mon, do you really need to refer to the Tea Party events as Tea-bagging?

    Using juxtaposing, hypocritical quotes from Perry: effective argumentation/analysis. Referring to everyone that protested the ever-growing federal government as scrotum lickers, real classy.

  2. Yeah…
    Whatever benefit he's going to have from the secession talk is probably going to be countered by the attacks that keep coming from the national press…Goodhair wants a national audience, and allowing the secession meme to continue works to get a job he already has, but not the job he ultimately wants…

  3. Statesman op-ed
    His op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman was a big step away from his earlier remarks on secession. We've had a fun month bashing him for treason, we'll have another month of bashing him for flip-flopping, and then the issue will fade away in the summer heat.  

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