Just four days after a Texan known only as "Micah H" petitioned the U.S. government to allow his home state to secede peacefully, his petition had received more than three times the number of signatures necessary to merit an official reply from the White House. (Sympathetic signatories were jumping onto his bandwagon at the rate of about 2,000 per hour this week.) This remarkable outpouring of support — no other state has even come close to matching Texas' number of signatures — coupled with a statement made late last week by one Texas GOP official who likened Obama voters to "maggots" and called for an "amicable divorce" between Texas and the United States, prompted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, R, to weigh in. In an e-mail to a Dallas Morning News reporter this week, the governor's press secretary affirmed for anyone who might be wondering that her boss "believes in the greatness of our Union and [that] nothing should be done to change it."
Those soothing words are a far cry from the ones Gov. Perry uttered back in 2009, at a Tea Party rally in Austin. Though he hadn't yet announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, Perry was already trafficking in the kind of bellicose anti-Washington language that would earn him his brief moment as the GOP's front-runner, before he flamed out spectacularly during the primaries. At that rally, Perry answered a reporter's question about the notion of state sovereignty with all the menacing subtlety of a Lone Star loan shark. "We've got a great union," he said. "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?"