Texas Governor's Tea Party Threat Shakes Things Up

The tea party movement had its day and then some on April 15, 2009, as citizens from across the country gathered in large cities and small towns to declare their opposition to excessive taxation from an ever-expanding federal government. In the spirit of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, these gatherings were meant to be a line in the sand, a message for tax and spend Democrats in D.C. to hit the brakes on their agenda. And if that message wasn't clear enough with the thousands who attended Sean Hannity's Atlanta tea party or Glenn Beck's party in San Antonio, it was clear after Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke to a modest gathering of 1500 people outside Austin City Hall.

When Perry addressed those gathered in Austin, he spoke as one of them and mocked the Department of Homeland Security's warning that tea-party participants could be part of "right-wing extremist radicalization." Said Perry: "I'm just not real sure you're a bunch of right-wing extremists. But if you are, we're with you." He then told the cheering crowd: "We will not stand our pockets being picked, our children's future being mortgaged, our rights being taken away."

Yet as important and poignant as Perry's words were to those gathered outside City Hall, it's what he said to reporters afterward that set the blogosphere ablaze: "My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. 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 may come of that." While Perry didn't come right out and use the "s-word" (secede), you can sure bet that's what he meant, and he made it crystal clear by adding: "Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that."