Perry should probably take secession off the table now

PERRY SHOULD PROBABLY TAKE SECESSION OFF THE TABLE NOW…. In early 2009, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was so outraged by Democratic efforts to clean up Republican messes, he pushed the rhetorical envelope much further than he should have.

In April ’09, he denounced the federal government as “oppressive,” arguing that it was “time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.” Soon after, he said he doesn’t want to “dissolve” the union of the United States, “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

Away from the cameras, Perry doesn’t appear to mind that “oppressive hand” all that much.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to tell Washington to stop meddling in state affairs. He vocally opposed the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus program to spur the economy and assist cash-strapped states. Perry also likes to trumpet that his state balanced its budget in 2009, while keeping billions in its rainy day fund. But he couldn’t have done that without a lot of help from … guess where? Washington. Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Imagine that.

In August ’09. The New York TimesRoss Douthat insisted that President Obama needed to move to a “red-state model” in order to be effective. Douthat singled out Texas for praise, calling the state “a model citizen,” and emphasizing, among other things, its ability not to run budget deficits.

What Douthat didn’t know at the time was that Texas’ budget looked a whole better thanks to those oppressive socialists that might push clowns like Rick Perry to secede.

Indeed, for all the conservative celebrations of the triumphant Texas model, most of the successes are a myth, while the rest was covered up by federal spending Texas’ leaders claim to find offensive.

And as of now, after more than a decade of conservatism in the state, Texas suddenly finds itself facing a drastic budget mess — one much worse than the shortfall the far-right governor predicted.

For quite a while, leading conservatives argued the rest of us were just confused — if only everyone else, including D.C., would simply follow the fiscally responsible example set by Texas, everything would be fine. We don’t need “big government,” they said, we just need to do what Rick Perry has done.

I suspect the right will be saying this a little less in the near future.