Secessionist stupidity is bipartisan

Posted: November 23, 2012

By Jonathan Gurwitz

Sore losers threatening to leave the United States. Extremists trafficking in loose talk about secession. A description of the aftermath of the 2012 election? Yes, but also of the situation in 2004.

The liberal establishment has been exasperated to discover that some Americans who are dismayed at the prospect of living four more years under an administration they detest could consider secession. In response to petitions that appeared on the White House website from citizens in all 50 states asserting the right of states to secede, Obama supporters started their own petition to "strip the citizenship of everyone who signed a petition to secede and exile them."

On MSNBC, Jim Moore, the author of Bush's Brain, spoke for many liberals outraged that anyone would contemplate leaving the country over the results of an election. "Texas has more than our blessed boatload of nutjobs who want to leave the nation," Moore said.

Liberal loudmouth Lawrence O'Donnell, a Massachusetts native who is now the host of a popular show on MSNBC, advocated secession in 2004 - for blue states that voted for John Kerry. On The McLaughlin Group after George W. Bush's reelection, O'Donnell said, "The big problem the country now has, which is going to produce a serious discussion of secession over the next 20 years, is that the segment of the country that pays for the federal government is now being governed by the people who don't pay for the federal government."

"Did you say secession?" fellow guest Tony Blankley asked incredulously. "Are you calling for civil war?"

"You can secede without firing a shot," O'Donnell responded.

O'Donnell was not alone in 2004. Bob Beckel, a longtime Democratic activist who served in the Carter administration, endorsed the idea, too. "I think now that slavery is taken care of, I'm for letting the South form its own nation," he said.

Such praise for secession was apart from the list of liberal luminaries who have threatened to self-deport if Republicans win the White House - among them, Alec Baldwin, Robert Altman, and Susan Sarandon. Pierre Salinger actually did move to France.

So does one party or state have a monopoly on secessionist stupidity? Clearly not. As the New York Times reported on blue America before this year's election, "It's a refrain heard every four years: 'If [insert Republican name] is elected president, I'm moving to Canada.' "

But listening to hacks like Jim Moore and other Democratic mouthpieces, you might think that all this promiscuous talk about secession is something brand new, largely Texan, and wholly Republican.

Anyone who talks seriously about taking leave of this great country has likely already taken leave of his senses. Such people deserve all the contempt they're getting. But some of the people dishing it out would sound a lot more sincere if their self-righteousness weren't so politically opportunistic.

Jonathan Gurwitz writes for the San Antonio Express-News. E-mail:

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