SECESSION TALK…. It’s always entertaining when the “patriotic” ones start talking up the notion of splitting up the United States again. Take, for example, Glenn Beck, yesterday.

“Does the state have any right anymore? And I know, because I’ve heard it from all of the conservative, uh, you know, uh, the historians and scholars and everything else, but you can’t convince me that the founding fathers wouldn’t allow you to secede. The Constitution is not a suicide pact. And if a state says, ‘I don’t want to go there because that’s suicide,’ they have a right to back out. They have a right. People have a right to not commit economic suicide.

“I believe it was Davy Crockett, that as he was standing there in the well of the Senate and they were all yelling and screaming at him, he said — he looked them right square in the eye and said, ‘Hey, you know what? You can all go to hell. I’m going to Texas.’ About time somebody says that again.

“You’re telling me that states can’t say ‘Washington, we’re not going to commit suicide with you’”?

Now, the part about Davy Crockett is completely wrong. When he said, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas,” it was because he’d been rejected by his constituents in Tennessee after one term in the U.S. House, not because he was outraged by federal policies he disagreed with. He went to Texas to fight for secession — not from the U.S., but from Mexico.

But more importantly, why on earth would anyone in the American mainstream desire a second civil war? Because a 39.6% marginal top rate is that much more offensive than a 36% top rate? Beck talked a great deal about “suicide,” but he was a little vague about which policies he considered “suicidal.”

As it turns out, the kind of rhetoric isn’t limited to Beck. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) also complained bitterly about how “tired” he is of the federal government. “I believe the federal government has become oppressive,” Perry said. “I believe it’s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of its citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.”

The governor added, “We think it’s 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.”

Of course, Perry has an excuse to carelessly throw around ridiculous rhetoric — he has a Republican primary coming up and he has to convince a lot of right-wing voters he shares their twisted worldview.

Beck, on the other hand, just wants the ratings.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.