Bud Kennedy

Republicans reject Texas secession and Lone Star loons

Violet Vargaz, 3 months, yawns in front of Big Tex at the 2014 State Fair of Texas in Dallas.
Violet Vargaz, 3 months, yawns in front of Big Tex at the 2014 State Fair of Texas in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News

Texas’ secession from the U.S. won’t come anytime soon.

Or at least, the state Republican Party won’t lead it.

With the spirit of Texas President Sam Houston over the room, state party executives voted Saturday in Austin not to poll March primary voters on declaring Texas independence.

Austin Republican Mike Goldman’s voice rose as he quoted Houston’s opposition to Confederate secession and implored the party’s state committee to avert “brother fighting brother on whether they are a Texan first or an American first.”

More immediately, the vote averted a national embarrassment with implications both in March and November.

If the party had a poll on secession, that would have drawn more disenchanted independents who also support Donald Trump. (Even the Houston-area Tea Party activists behind the idea said it’d draw out new voters.)

That would have hindered U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s shot at claiming more Texas delegates.

Then, if the referendum passed and Cruz were on the ticket, can you imagine the campaign? “Why vote for a Texas Republican? They don’t even want to stay in the Union.”

Since 1861, Texas secession has always been a farcical idea promoted by liars, self-important patriots and greedy merchandise peddlers.

This year, it just happens to be a particularly self-destructive idea for Republicans, which must be why the Tea Party party-wreckers brought it up.

The Great Secession Scare began Friday when a subcommittee accepted the proposal and amended the ballot wording to say that “if” Washington doesn’t leave us alone, “Texas should reassert its prior status as an independent nation.”

There was no discussion of how to make this assertion. Send out a tweet? Sprinkle magic Rick Perry dust? Send troopers to guard the Red River?

Richardson Republican Karl Voigtsberger, one of the few North Texas supporters for the mostly Houston-area idea, said without elaborating that independence would come “peacefully and politically.”

As Goldman and other secession opponents said during the debate, that’s what the Rebs told us in 1861, too.

Look, if you think secession talk is good for Texas, ask someone in Quebec. When that Canadian province started talking independence, companies scratched it off the expansion list and growth faded.

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Dallas Love Field would be devastated. Connecting flights and business travel would be gone. Who’d deal with borders and customs every day?

And Texas would still owe $1.6 trillion of the national debt.

Tea Party secessionists don’t talk about that.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is partly responsible for all this. In 2009, he talked about how Texas legally can divide into five states — true — and “they’re not going to allow 10 new Texas senators. That’s how you secede.”

Some Lone Star loons took that and turned it into a plan for a new “Southern Christian nation.”

Look away.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.