Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax “tea party” Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states’ rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”
An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall — one of three tea parties he was attending across the state — that officials in Washington have abandoned the country’s founding principles of limited government. He said the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt.
Perry repeated his running theme that Texas’ economy is in relatively good shape compared with other states and with the “federal budget mess.” Many in the crowd held signs deriding President Barack Obama and the $786 billion federal economic stimulus package.
Later, answering news reporters’ questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
Perry is running for re-election against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a fellow Republican. His anti-Washington remarks have become more strident the past few weeks as that 2010 race gets going and since Perry rejected $550 million in federal economic stimulus money slated to help Texas’ unemployment trust fund.
Perry said the stimulus money would come with strings attached that would leave Texas paying the bill once the federal money ran out.
He said he believes he could be at the center of a national movement that is coordinated and focused in its opposition to the actions of the federal government.
“It’s a very organic thing,” he said. “It is a very powerful moment, I think, in American history.”
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, also Republicans, have been outspoken against the federal economic stimulus spending and were supportive of tea parties in their states.
The protests, organized throughout the country by conservative groups and talk show hosts, were held on the federal income tax deadline day to imitate the original Boston Tea Party of American revolutionary times.
FOX News’ Glenn Beck broadcast live in San Antonio from outside the Alamo, a legendary symbol of Texas independence. Park police estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people packed into the small plaza, many waving signs or carrying little yellow flags that read, “Don’t tread on me.” A local barbecue chain gave away free cups of iced tea.
Rocker Ted Nugent performed a shredder guitar version of the national anthem, but unlike some rallies elsewhere, San Antonio organizers forbade politicians from speaking.
“They are welcome to come and listen to us, for a change,” they said in their statement.
Mike Smart, a 51-year-old oil field worker from West Texas, held up a white handwritten sign that said, “I’ll keep my freedom, my $ and my guns. You keep the change.”
“I just want the government to stay out of my way. I won’t get in their way if they don’t get in mine,” said Smart, who described himself as conservative but not a Republican.
Government spending, going back multiple administrations, has reached a boiling point with the latest rounds of stimulus spending, he said. While the Bush administration spent heavily before he left office, the Obama administration has fast-tracked big spending, he said.
“Ol’ George was going to the same destination. He just didn’t want to tell anyone,” said Smart.
Another protester, 38-year-old Melva Fried, said the forced ouster of General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner was the last straw for her — a symbol the federal government was moving toward socialism.
“When a president can fire the head of a company, that’s too much,” she said, holding a sign that read “Stop Rewarding Failure.”
The sales associate, who considers herself a disaffected Republican, said she doesn’t believe the government should bail anyone out, including banks and individual homeowners.
The crowd at the Austin tea party appeared decidedly anti-Democrat. Many of the speakers were Republicans and Libertarians.
One placard said, “Stop Obama’s Socialism.” Another read, “Some Pirates Are in America,” and it showed photographs of Obama, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wearing pirate hats.
Rebecca Knowlton, 45, of Smithville, said she took the day off of home-schooling her three children and brought them to the rally to teach them about civic duty. She felt camaraderie at the demonstration.
“The movement is growing stronger,” she said. “You’re not alone.”
NOW… a little tongue in cheek… but don’t laugh too hard.
Here is what can happen:
1. Barack Hussein Obama, after becoming the President of the United States, begins to try and create a socialist country, then Texas announces that it is going to secede from the Union .
2.. George W. Bush becomes the President of the Republic of Texas . You might not think that he talks too pretty, but we haven’t had another terrorist attack and the economy was fine until the effects of the Democrats lowering the qualifications for home loans came to roost. So what does Texas have to do to survive as a Republic?
NASA is just south of Houston , Texas . We will control the space industry.
We refine over 85% of the gasoline in the United States .
Defense Industry–we have over 65% of it. The term “Don’t mess with Texas ,” will take on a whole new meaning.
Oil – we can supply all the oil that the Republic of Texas will need for the next 300 years. What will the other states do? Gee, we don’t know. Why not ask Obama?
Natural Gas – again, we have all we need and it’s too bad about those Northern States. John Kerry and Al Gore will just have to figure out a way to keep them warm…
Computer Industry – we lead the nation in producing computer chips and communications equipment – small companies like Texas Instruments, Dell Computer, EDS, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Atmel, Applied Materials, Ball Misconduct, Dallas Semiconductor, Nortel, Alcatel, etc. The list goes on and on.
Medical Care – We have the research centers for cancer research, the best burn centers and the top trauma units in the world, as well as other large health centers. The Houston Medical Center alone employees over 65,000 people.
We have enough colleges to keep educating and making smarter citizens: University of Texas , Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas Christian, Rice, SMU, University of Dallas , University of Houston , Baylor, UNT ( University of North Texas ), Texas Women’s University, etc. Ivy grows better in the South anyway.
We have an intelligent and energetic work force and it isn’t restricted by a bunch of unions. Here in Texas , we are a Right to Work State and, therefore, it’s every man and woman for themselves. We just go out and get the job done. And if we don’t like the way one company operates, we get a job somewhere else.
We have essential control of the paper, plastics, and insurance industries, etc.
In case of a foreign invasion, we have the Texas National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and several military bases. We don’t have an Army, but since everybody down here has at least six rifles and a pile of ammo, we can raise an Army in 24 hours if we need one. If the situation really gets bad, we can always call the Department of Public Safety and ask them to send over a Texas Ranger.
We are totally self-sufficient in beef, poultry, hogs, and several types of grain, fruit and vegetables, and let’s not forget seafood from the Gulf. Also, everybody down here knows how to cook them so that they taste good. We don’t need any food.
Three of the ten largest cities in the United States , and twenty-three of the 100 largest cities in the United States are located in Texas . And Texas also has more land than California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont combined.
Trade: Three of the ten largest ports in the United States are located in Texas . We also manufacture cars down here, but we don’t need to. You see, nothing rusts in Texas so our vehicles stay beautiful and run well for decades.
This just names a few of the items that will keep the Republic of Texas in good shape. There isn’t a thing out there that we need and don’t have. Now to the rest of you folks in the United States under President Obama: Since you won’t have the refineries to get gas for your cars, only President Obama will be able to drive around in his big 9 mpg SUV. The rest of the United States will have to walk or ride bikes.
You won’t have any TV as the Space Center in Houston will cut off satellite communications.
You won’t have any natural gas to heat your homes, but since Mr. Obama has predicted global warming, you will not need the gas as long as you survive the 2000 years it will take to get enough heat from Global Warming.