By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
As if their current governor and his predecessor have not done enough damage to Texans' reputation for Constitutional acuity, nearly 1 in 3 Texas voters think that their state has the legal right to secede from the Union, according to a new Rasmussen Poll.
On the bright side (such as it is), only 1 in 5 Texas voters would actually like to break off from the Union. Fully three quarters of Texas voters are content to remain part of these United States. Gee, thanks.
This discussion was sparked by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's assertion that Texas has the unique right to secede from the U.S. of A. (Side question: Why the quiescence of the hyper-patriotic right? Why are they not demanding that Perry love this country or leave it—and reminding him he can't take his state with him?)
It is of course an old urban legend that since Texas entered the Union as a sovereign Republic, it has reserved the right to reclaim its old status. Horse-hockey.
Two points to consider. First, there's this brief history of the Lone Star State's 1845 entry into the Union, emphasis added:
When all attempts to arrive at a formal annexation treaty failed, the United States Congress passed—after much debate and only a simple majority—a Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States. Under these terms, Texas would keep both its public lands and its public debt, it would have the power to divide into four additional states "of convenient size" in the future if it so desired, and it would deliver all military, postal, and customs facilities and authority to the United States government. (Neither this joint resolution or the ordinance passed by the Republic of Texas ' Annexation Convention gave Texas the right to secede.)
That paragraph comes from what I can only assume to be an authoritative source on the matter: the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. (Tip of my cowboy hat to an old college pal—from Texas—who posted the link on Facebook.)
Second point: We fought a war over this. Lots of Americans died. The secessionists lost—including the ones in Texas. Secession is no more legal now than it was then.
And while talking about secession undoubtedly plays well among the 3 in 10 Texas voters ill-informed enough to think it's a serious political statement, it also makes the rest of the country (and likely the rest of the state) roll our eyes in bewilderment at the Lone Star Clown.