Obama's reelection last year prompted a lot of talk over whether Texas should once again secede from the Union. Except for a few die-hard secessionists, though, few considered it a serious proposal, more like an opportunity to make Texas jokes. So the debate just kind of fizzled out.
But the Washington Post (or, more accurately, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Thomas Ricks) thinks there might be something to this Texas-leaving-the-Union thing. We just had the mechanism wrong.
"Letting the Lone Star State secede would set a bad precedent. (See the Civil War of 1861 to 1865.)," he writes for the annual "Spring Cleaning" issue of the paper's Outlook section, where Texas joins flip-flops, college rankings, and Ben Bernanke as things that need to go. "But what about expelling it instead? There is promise in that."
I've been thinking about this ever since I stood at the ruins of Fort Jesup, a U.S. Army base built in 1822 by Lt. Col. Zachary Taylor on the western edge of Louisiana to guard the Sabine River, which formed the international border between the United States and Texas, then part of Mexico. Why not go back to that situation? It worked then.
After all, what has Texas given us? Without it, we might have avoided the presidents who gave us two of our longest and least necessary wars -- Vietnam and Iraq -- and John F. Kennedy might still be alive.
We wouldn't have the Dallas Cowboys, nor the right-wing oilmen the state seems to produce. Of course, we would also lose Gov. Rick Perry, who already is making the split easier with his talk of moving the roughly $1 billion in Texas gold reserves, now in a vault in New York, back into the state.
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We think this is tongue-in-cheek. Ricks goes on to lament the difficulty of getting from New Orleans to Tucson and briefly mourns the loss of the state's contributions to popular music, though he consoles himself with the thought that we could listen to Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin and Lyle Lovett "just as we enjoy the sounds of such Canadian crooners as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Feist." But with that JFK jab thrown in, it's kind of hard to tell.