Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) became a national joke when he advocated that Texas secede from the United States during the tea party protests, but today Perry flip flopped and wrote that he never advocated secession, but instead was only trying to protect states Tenth Amendment rights.
At the protest 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.”
In the Austin American-Statesman, Perry wrote today, “I can’t say I was surprised that critics recast my defense of federalism and fiscal discipline into advocacy for secession from the Union. I have never advocated for secession and never will.”
He said what he was actually addressing was the growth of the federal government, “Like the president, members of Congress and every other state governor, I have sworn oaths to our nation and Constitution. My sincere pledge to uphold and defend the Constitution has fueled my concern and my statements about the recent unprecedented expansion of our federal government. ”
Perry continued with the damage control, “Apologists for an all-encompassing government tout side issues as a smokescreen to obscure the truly necessary debate on the proper role and size of government. That is why I have enthusiastically added my voice to the growing chorus of 10th Amendment supporters. None of us want to see unconstrained government of the magnitude that the amendment’s authors were so careful to legislate against.”
The above is Perry’s spin. Now, let’s discuss what really happened. Gov. Perry is facing a tough primary re-election challenge against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison next year. By taking shots at the federal government, Perry was not only appealing to the base of his party, but he was also unleashing some veiled criticism at his primary opponent.
Perry never thought that his comments about secession, which were supposed to be red meat for the base, would be picked up by the national media, and that the coverage would turn him into a joke. His reelection campaign stunt backfired, and now he has had to some serious damage control. Hutchison supports stem cell research and abortion rights, while Perry is a social conservative. Their primary battle will be the first hint about the future direction of the GOP.