Texas Govenor Threatens to Secede From The Union; Gets Smackdown by Blogger

Apparently Texas Gov. Rick Perry more or less called for Texas to secede from the Union today. And by union I mean THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Naturally this prompted the EPIC smackdown from Steve Benen:

Following up on an earlier item, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) speech yesterday on his unwillingness to accept the “oppressive hand” of the federal government has caused something of a stir. It also, as it turns out, offers another example of conservative hypocrisy.

After all, there’s Perry’s rhetoric

“I believe the federal government has become oppressive. It’s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion in the lives of its citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. […]

“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. That’s what this press conference, that’s what these Texans are standing up for. There is a point in time where you stand up and say enough is enough, and I think Americans, and Texans especially have reached that point.”

… and there’s Perry’s reality.

Governor Rick Perry, five days ago: Governor Perry Calls FEMA To Assist With Wildfires

Governor Rick Perry, last month: Governor Perry Calls For 1,000 Troops To Be Sent To Border

Governor Rick Perry, five months ago: Governor Perry Requests 18 Month Extension Of Federal Aid For Ike Debris Removal

Yes, ol’ Rick just can’t stand that “oppressive” federal bureaucracy that keeps “interfering” with Texas, except when he needs its help.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get Lawyered so hard … in my life.

Wow

Even I’m having a hard time sitting down after that one.

The False Analogy Between Rush and Carville’s Comments

Yesterday I wrote a blog entry explaining why Rush Limbaugh rooting for the President to fail was different than Carville’s comments back in 2001. As it turns out, Carville’s comments were even less like Rush’s upon comparison. After a little digging Greg Sargent uncovered the audio clip from Carville’s lunch meeting:

“People basically like this president as a person and they want him to succeed, but they have some pretty serious doubts that have not crept in but are sort of there. You have almost half the country saying he is in over his head. Over half the country saying he is for the powerful. And as much as I would like for it or wish for it, they are not going to pull away completely from him months into his administration.

“I don’t care if people like him or not, just so they don’t vote for him and his party. That is all I care about. I hope he doesn’t succeed, but I am a partisan democrat. But the average person wants him to succeed. It is his country, his life or their lives. So he has that going for him. There is a lot that is going to happen between now and next November. It is not that people don’t like him. It is not that people don’t want him to succeed but it is also not that he doesn’t have some serious underlying problems.”

The full quote, not provided by Fox, makes it pretty clear that he’s referring to Bush’s failure in purely a political sense instead of policy. This is of course natural that a person from one party would root against the political agenda of the president from the other party. After all, no one criticizes Republicans for bashing the spending Democrats have done nor do they bash Democrats for arguing against President Bush’ tax cuts.

But here’s the difference. Its very clear Rush wasn’t simply talking about Obama politically. His comments make it very clear that he’s rooting against his ability to navigate America through our current crisis. After the attacks on 9/11 Carville immediately retracted his comments and rallied behind the president. Rush didn’t do this. In fact he did the opposite by explicitly rooting for the failure of the stimulus bill:

“I disagree fervently with the people on our [Republican] side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope [President Obama] succeeds.’ … I hope Obama fails. Somebody’s gotta say it.”

“I want everything he’s doing to fail… I want the stimulus package to fail…. I do not want this to succeed.”

This is in addition to Rush’s comments that he hopes the stimulus bill prologues the recession.

Of course this isn’t the first time republicans rooted against a policy because they feared it would work, and disprove many of the arguments conservatives have made against the government. As you recall Bill Kristol made the same argument in his 1994 health care memo which urged conservatives to oppose the bill because it could actually work.

Oh and just to Note. Carville has an extensive record of supporting Bush on the war after 9/11:

* On October 9, 2001, Carville said to former President Bill Clinton at a speech (transcript accessed in the Nexis database): “I can’t tell you how proud I am of you as ex-president, in the support you’re giving this president, and support that you’re giving our country and the support that you’re giving the people who have been the victims of this terrible tragedy.”

* According to the Hotline (accessed via Nexis), The Christian Science Monitor reported that Carville said at a December 11, 2001, Monitor breakfast that Bush “is doing a good job on the war and Democrats ought to support him on the war. That doesn’t mean that this translates into support of his domestic policies. He is doing better on the war than I would have suspected under the circumstances. It don’t think it is like a total surprise. I did not think he would be a bad American. [But] he is doing probably worse on economic and domestic issues than I would have thought.”

* In a December 10, 2001, Democracy Corps memo, Carville — along with Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg and Bob Shrum — wrote: “Democrats can and should support the President abroad while standing up for their principles here at home.”

* In a November 13, 2001, Democracy Corps memo, Carville, Greenberg, and Shrum wrote: “It is important to support the President and set a tone that lacks a sharp partisan quality. Everyone is committed to the security and safety of the country. But Democrats should feel free to attack wrong-headed Republican congressional initiatives, even separating the House Republicans from the President.”

The Difference Between Carville and Rush

Fox News, of course, is trying to push the story that James Carville also rooted against President Bush after he first took office in 2001.  But this is nothing new for those of us familiar with conservative tactics. “If unable to defend your actions say ‘but you did it too'”.

Regardless, there’s a difference between Rush Limbaugh’s remarks and Carville’s.

Context.

As The Christian Science Monitor’s Dave Cook, a reporter who was there, points out, Carville’s comments occurred off the cuff at a casual breakfast with reports the morning of 9/11. This was before news of the terrorists attacks became public. After the first plane hit the tower, Carville said “Disregard everything we just said. This changes everything.” Limbaugh’s comments on the other hand, occurred, and are repeated to this day, several times on television and radio in front of millions of viewers/listeners,  in the middle of the biggest recession since the great depression.

It’s one thing to root against the political agenda of an opposing President during times of peace, but in times of crisis, any good American would rally around the President and put politics aside.

James Carville understood this point. Rush Limbaugh clearly does not.

Senate Republicans Were For Earmarks Before They Were Against Them

Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks.

Senate obstructionist republicans succeeded in stopping democrats from passing a budget, because of their objections that the bill included earmarks. But of course, staying in line with their typical hypocrisy several republicans voted against an amendment which would strip the budget bill of any earmarks.

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Gregg Withdrawls From Commerce Consideration

Last night Judd Gregg withdrew his name from consideration for Secretary of Commerce. Technically this isn’t newsworthy because I’m blogging about it today rather than last night, but last night I was out drinking until 6am and Senator Gregg was a douchebag and didn’t feel like waiting till today. Bastard.

Anyways, the enthusiasm fro Gregg’s ascent to department of commerce faded as soon as I heard his replacement would be a republican. After all, what benefit would his selection generate from democrats, let alone progressives? And with Gregg retiring after this term anyways, appointing him to a cabinet level position has lost all potential benefit. Even Fox News said as much.