Texans are fed up with federal tax policies, and might get so fed up that they decide they want to secede from the union, Gov. Rick Perry told reporters today after he attended an anti-tax tea party rally in Austin.
He said the federal government has gone somewhat astray from what our founders wanted and he believes the federal government is choking Americans with excessive spending and taxation. He repeated those sentiments later at a rally at LaGrave Field in Fort Worth.
And although Perry made it clear he doesn't see the need to secede and isn't advocating for that, he said there's no question that's on the mind of some Texans. That was obvious at tea parties around the state, where "Secede" was a popular slogan on signs.
"Texas is a unique place," he said. "When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.
"My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention," he 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.”
But the Civil War pretty much settled whether a state – even Texas – could secede from the union, said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University.
That underscores how Perry's statements are basically just political posturing, Riddlesperger said.
"Governor Perry, like others in the country, is frustrated with tax rates and the growth of the national government," Riddlesperger said. "Certainly that's understandable."
"But for him, Kay Bailey Hutchison is probably going to run against him and he wants to position himself so that he can say she's part of the big government in Washington and he is not."
At a tea party rally in Austin City Hall, chants of "Secede" could be heard during speeches.
During a second rally in front of the Capitol, Melanie Matthews of San Antonio held a sign advocating secession.
"If the federal government thinks that they have the right to tell us how to live and want to take away the states' right, I think Texas should exercise its right to secede," she said.
Matthews said she was raised to love her country and only recently thought secession was a worthy idea.
"The whole move toward socialism and the language that indicates we're headed in that direction," Matthews said. "For the first time of my life, I am afraid of where this country is headed."
Matthews' son, Jonathon, a student at UT, was wearing a sticker for a group called "Texans for Secession." He said he has supported the idea for a couple of years.
"Bush is a problem. Obama is a problem," he said. "The federal government has been abusing us and taking our money and stealing from us for far too long."