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April 21st, 2009
09:41 AM ET

Ron Paul: Secession is American

CNN's Kiran Chetry speaks to Rep. Ron Paul about Texas' governor's secession suggestion.
CNN's Kiran Chetry speaks to Rep. Ron Paul about Texas' governor's secession suggestion.

For ten years, Texas was a sovereign territory before joining the United States in 1845. It’s the stuff of legends that the “Lone Star State” could end the ties with the U.S. if its constituents want it that way.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who's been highly critical of President Obama's stimulus package, raised the possibility that his state may one day secede from the union.

“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 - who knows what might come out of that,” Perry told reporters last week.

The governor isn't the only one suggesting secession is not out of the realm. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a former presidential candidate, spoke with Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning Tuesday.

Kiran Chetry: How serious is this secession talk?

Ron Paul: I don't think it's very serious. I don't think anybody called for secession, and I don't think the governor called for it. But he brings up an important issue. The biggest surprise to me was the outrage expressed over an individual who thinks along these lines, because I heard people say, well, this is treasonous and this was un-American. But don't they remember how we came in to our being? We used secession, we seceded from England. So it’s a very good principle. It’s a principle of a free society. It’s a shame we don’t have it anymore. I argue that if you had the principle of secession, our federal government wouldn't be as intrusive into state affairs and to me that would be very good.

We as a nation have endorsed secession all along. Think of all of the secession of the countries and the republics from the Soviet system. We were delighted. We love it. And yet we get hysterical over this just because people want to debate and defend the principle of secession, that doesn't mean they’re calling for secession. I think it's that restraining element of secession that would keep the federal government from doing so much. In our early history, they accepted the principles of secession all along.

Chetry: You said it's very American to talk about secession. It’s how we came into being. 13 colonies seceeded from the British. Are you likening the current situation to life under King George?

Paul: I think a lot of people are thinking that way. And I think that's what's important. People are angry. If we don't sense that, we don't know what's actually going on there. People are angry. I'm anticipating it will get a lot worse. When the dollar collapses and the federal government can't fulfill any of its promises, what if they send you dollars and they don't work. People aren’t going to have a violent secession; they’re just going to ignore the federal government because they will be inept. We'll be bringing our troops home and our empire will end. That's a different story. I think it's something we should talk about but we should institutionalize this principle. New England wanted to secede. No one challenged New England that it was unconstitutional in our early history.

Chetry: I want to move on to the bank bailouts. This is a source of a lot of contention. You've been opposed to them. Lately there have been some signs that perhaps it's working. Bank of America is turning a profit. Wells Fargo now saying they’re able to pay back the federal government and return some of that bailout money. In the end, could this have turned out to be the right move?

Paul: If a gangster steals money and he’s successful, you don't celebrate. Yeah they might be. This is just going to make the people angrier. They ripped us off, took all of this money, and now they’re making bundles? It's just an unfair system to penalize average people, inflate the currency and bring on another crisis and undermine the whole system.

So I would say a bank's success here and there is not necessarily something to celebrate. It's still pretty early. I don't think we're out of the woods yet to celebrate banks’ successes. What we have to realize is a lot of people stashed away a lot of money and took care of their bonuses and what not. You're not going to erase the anger that's come from that just because the bank made a profit. Like I say, it might make things worse.

Filed under: Controversy • Politics
soundoff (1,136 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    The number of morons on here is amazing.

    Texas does have the right to secede, since it was its own nation before joining. It is the only state in that category, and is documented in the constitutional documents that allowed for the addition of them to the union.

    And for all of the rest of you that are saying "go Texas, leave!". Texas accounts for nearly 40% of our nation's oil and petroleum production. Our government gets nearly twice the tax revenue from Texas as any other state. If they left, they would become the richest nation on the planet and the rest of us would be screwed. I think it is interesting that they are talking secession, but I do not think the US government would let it happen, depsite their rights.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  2. laceintx

    I'm not saying I agree with this hoopla....but, what is everyone's problem with Texas? Nearly every comment in here bleeds negativity towards Texas. Where does the misconception come in that we are all mindless, slobbering idiots? Those exist throughout these wonderful United States...believe me I've seen them in your state too! The difference is I dont catagorize your entire state upon my perception of a select few. Give it up!

    April 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  3. joe

    "A house divided against itself cannot stand"

    Abraham Lincoln

    Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858

    We have not learned from past mistakes.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  4. John

    You may laugh, but within 8 years (maybe sooner) there will be no USA, there will be 4 maybe 5 independent countries. One or two will ultimately join with Canada and the rest will go their own ways.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  5. John

    I suggest for Ron Paul and many others to read some American history books. I cannot begin to explain how many things are wrong with his comments...

    April 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Ronald

    I served this country for 20+ years in the military, and have no desire to see it fall into ruin. But there has to be a point where people have to step up and do for themselves. This country was founded on the principles of those wanting more for themselves and their families.

    So why have we turned into a country that will tax the hell out of someone who has worked hard to better themselves to get ahead, and at the same time, coddle those who are too lazy to get up off their own butt and do for themselves? Welfare was designed to be a hand-up, not a hand-out, but too many times we see those who are deserving of help not getting it, and those who spend their welfare checks on chrome rims for their “ride” instead of putting clothes on their kids backs.

    It’s long past time we wake up, clear the fog from our eyes and see what is going on in our country and think about what our actions today will bring tomorrow, in a year, in five, or what we leave future generations.

    Get involved, take the time to vote. It is the only way we can make a change, and it is the only clear way to send a message to our leaders to let them know that we either approve or disapprove of the way they are representing us. Did anyone think that maybe that was the whole point of Gov. Perry’s “secession” talk; to let Washington know that there are people unhappy with the way things are being done?

    The media is keeping us all scared in one way or another; and the politicians are helping to fuel those fears. Things like global warming, the economy, and terrorism; are all story lines to build fear in the population. Don’t keep regurgitating the headlines of the day and take it as gospel, do some research and, look at both sides of the problem, then draw your own conclusions. Don’t continue to be cattle lead to the slaughterhouse.

    So come on people, wise up and start thinking for yourself.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  7. David

    I have often said we should have not fought the civil war. We should have let the south, including Texas succeed. They really don't want a democracy but a theocracy. We pretend to have more in common than not.

    Things have deteriorated so much that we can't even debate because we don't even agree on the facts. It's like we live in alternate universes instead of different parts of the same country.

    I suspect had they succeeded we would have ended up like India and Pakistan, true enemies.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Soren

    I suppose if Texans decided to succeed, I would move to Texas. The US is swirling around the drain.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  9. Nate B

    3 points:

    When you continually suck power away from the states into a central government, this is the result. Every election is a knife fight to the death to determine which group will enforce it's own economic and moral imperatives over the rest of the country.

    The Civil War only settled the legal question of secession if you believe in trial by arms as a legitimate way of settling disputes.

    Lots of countries much smaller than Texas are economic powerhouses with household incomes on par or better that the average in the US. Maybe the US has simply become so socially, religiously and economically fractured that secession is once again something to seriously consider.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Gary

    Guys, personally I don't think Texas is going anywhere. But to slam the guy for saying what he wants is un-American. A little thing called First Admendment. Chill, he like everyone else is getting fed up with taxes, whether it is a Democrat or Republican in the White House.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  11. Jonatahn

    Go Texas – I'll move there if they federal withholding tax and state and local governments free of D.C. red tape! I'm sure Texas would also love to have control of their own border with Mexico and get rid of the do nothing Feds!

    April 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  12. BCH

    And if The Center Square means putting our nation on a road to destruction through massive tax cuts for the wealthy, the destruction of worker protection, and the wholesale privatization of anything not nailed down, then, yes, the past 30 years have sucked. AND Texas isn't going anywhere.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  13. Texas is not allowed to secede...

    Vermont wanted to secede during the horrible Bush years. They were called anti American and it was called treason.

    Now Texas wants to secede (which is illegal by the way) and they think its "American". Well actually its just as anti american as when Vermont wanted to do it.

    The hypocrisy makes me sick. The GOP is out of ideas. They have begun kicking and screaming like children when they can't have what they want. Pathetic that a political party would revert to such low levels. But leave it to Texans to jump on board and take it seriously. How about you texans just move away. You can't secede you never will. So instead just leave this country. It will be a much better place without you.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  14. Greatfish

    Ron Paul, American Idiot . . . .

    April 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  15. ludi

    Wow, this guy is bat*&!! crazy; he clearly thinks that we're back in the Wild West or something. I guess Ole RP never grew out of his "Cowboys and Indians" stage. Good luck, Texas.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  16. Austin (Texas)

    A few points of order for those of you who made it this far.

    I applaud those who have read and continue to read, not only the comments of Sen. Paul, but also the comments of your fellows. This is what the First Amendment is about; the amendment is guaranteeing our right at responsible, adult citizens to discuss matters critical to the federal government in a public forum. (This site as a public forum is still being debated in the courts.) I also applaud Sen. Paul for standing up for what he believes in, not that I personally encourage secession, and I don’t necessarily believe he is advocating the practice as much as recognizing all possibilities as citizens.

    Please stop accusing Texas, and Texans, of being somehow less intellectually gifted than the rest. This is a myth, and if you believe it, you were victim to a hoax. There were numerous state IQ comparisons that were published after both the Gore and Kerry defeats, and some even made it into reputable news magazines. For example The Economist had to publish an extensive retraction, not a newspaperman’s favorite pastime. If anything, my research shows that Texas is at worst middle, in terms of state IQ and education. Also, those who criticize Sen. Paul for the statement regarding the thirteen colonies and breaking the constitution, remember that ours is not the only constitution in existence. In fact, the United Kingdom made a great shift towards a constitutional monarchy with the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

    Let people talk, and please debate, argue, hiss and spit at each other, but please check up on your facts.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  17. LaughingMyArseOff

    I couldn't even finish reading all the comments without laughing. CNN bloggers are always funny...dumb, but funny. If Texas suceded it would crippled the US, which is why it won't happen. They are just the big rich kid who owns the ball, threatening to leave and go home, because his team is losing. Relax, Obama will be out in 3 1/2 years and we will have someone else to blame for our stupidity.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  18. Ian

    Honestly, people. Let's get to the gist of the issue. This is all driven by Chuck Norris' insane need to rule the world. He's the one that started all this secessionist rhetoric. He's just crazy. We all know that Ninja's are real ultimate power.

    (Just trying to illustrate how absurd this entire conversation is)

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  19. J

    so i guess the dallas cowboys aren't "america's team" anymore LOL

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  20. Anon

    You obviously don't know anything about politics if you use the words socialist and fascist in order to describe a single political party. The two words are political opposites.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  21. DaveM

    God, what a complete idiot...

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  22. Mark

    FROM THE Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  23. Bob Sweeney

    A great war for the very soul of our nation was fought around the issue of whether states could secede. 600, 000 dead and one hundred years more of the poison legacy of slavery are the price we paid once for this issue. We will never pay it again and it is an insult to us all, including lifelong conservatives such as me, for any politician to surface it as any more than a historical anachronism.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  24. Toby

    "Succession"..... Paul throws out that word and all of a sudden people take notice of him. Will he do anything to get attention, regardless of how inflammatory and thoughless it is? The last time state succession was tried in this country about 700,000 U.S. soldliers lost their lives and countless others had their lives destroyed. This isn't a game, it's called war... bloody, hellish, tragic war. You think we'd let Texas go without a fight, let one selfish state endanger the security of our whole union? Unbelievable!

    April 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  25. Kevin

    I do not admire Texas' threat of secession from the Union, but there may be some things that the rest of America can learn from Texas. And no, I am not a resident of their state (I live in a state with a $4.6B budget shortfall – oops). As a northerner who flies quite frequently down to their once-republic, I can recognize the success that Texas has had at maintaining industry and balancing their state budget.

    One other interesting aspect about Texas, which may be slightly off-topic. Obama has rightly insisted on building up a larger percentage of our energy portfolio in areas such as biomass, wind, solar, and nuclear. When is the last time that any of these non-coal alternative sources was permitted in liberal states such as Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts? Texas has actually embraced all of these technologies and is currently permitting new power plants for each type. Maybe Texas isn't so conservative after all (just don't tell them that).

    April 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  26. Ken Lewis

    Well I just can't believe how uneducated most of you bloggers are. Ron Pual is exactly right in saying talking of secession is a healthy thing for this country. WE ARE IN FACT the UNITED STATES. A union. The Federal Gov. has way out grown what its role was disigned to be. And the original puposes they are failing on now in spades.
    If you all think the Harry Reid and Nancy Polsie have this country's best interest at heart, that when she says its unAmerican to uphold the imigration laws, and state the illegal immagrants are the patriots something is very very wrong.
    I have no problem paying taxes. But 4 trillion dollars in less then 100 days! Are you people nuts!!!! This isnt about Bush... Keep your eyes on the ball people or we will lose this union regardless of what you all think right now.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  27. lindsey

    @sharon blake April 21st, 2009 10:57 am ET

    "How come when Bush was in the White House no one talked of succession?"

    Because the blue states (like NY and CA) that don't like Bush receive more money from the federal govt then they pay in. They are net spenders. Texas and the "staunch" red states pay more in then they get pack in subsidies, grants, etc. They are net earners.
    The blue states literally can't afford to succede because they are not self sufficient and require federal govt charity. Succession would actually beneift the red states because we wouldn't need to take care of the Obamanation.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  28. Tony

    Hey Texas – Go ahead an secede but then do not complain when you are invaded and annexed by the USA-49.

    Anyone who is espousing that this is even something worth discussion is an idiot. Secession is NOT an option because simply put, the circumstances do not require a dissolution of the Constitution which is what a secession would be – a failure of the Constitution to hold together the Union.

    This Democracy is only as good as the people practicing it so when are you folks going to stop your childish madness and grow up. To be quite honest, all of this ridiculous chest thumping "Remember the Alamo – Texas pride" crap is nauseating. American history is laced throughout with brave struggles of the underdog who both won and lost and while is is important to never forget, it should not be your mantra nor your battle cry – for Christ's sake, you should be Americans first but what's really scary is why do you need to be told that??? Get a clue.

    and by the way – Texas IS responsible for the production of the recent faction of the Bush dynasty – the fact that they started in New England is immaterial – they "came of age" whilst in Tay-Hass.

    And to Jason – "liberal ignorance" is what was the basis for the founding of the US – LIBERALISM chief – go read...

    April 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  29. Joel

    I used to have some respect for Ron Paul, but to listen to him this moring spew his moronic trash about why Texas should seceed was a little too much for me. He touched on the bailouts and TARP as reasoning for why people are so angry to want to seceed. However, he fails to mention that it was his idiotic political party who pushed all this bailout crap and it was a former Texas govenor who was in the White House (or should have never been) that set the stage for all this economic chaos.

    I think Texas should get themselves out of our union, but I am afraid they would end up with not one literate citizen to help write their new constitution.

    In is my expressed opinion that all of this talk in Texas is nothing but a cover for their racist attitudes and their inability to deal with having an African-American President.

    April 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
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