Neo-Secessionism in 2009

Gingrich makes states’ rights appeal in South
By Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times
February 29, 2012, 5:36 p.m.
Reporting from Atlanta—

With his presidential aspirations riding on support in the Deep South, (Republican candidate) Newt Gingrich opened his final one-week dash to the crucial Georgia primary on Wednesday with a states’ rights appeal laden with racial symbolism.
More on this story here.

This story brought to mind 2009, when a rash of politicians – mainly Southern, always Republican – made comments to the effect that their states would be better off if they seceded from the United States. For example, The Huffington Post reported that in Austin, Texas Governor 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!”” Perry ran as a Republican candidate for this year’s presidential election, but dropped-out of the race in January after poor performances during candidate debates and disappointing finishes in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

In the 2010 Georgia gubernatorial race, several Republican candidates talked of secession during their primary campaigns. This brought a sharp rebuke from General David Poythress, who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for Georgia governor. Poythress had this to say about politicians who would “cut and run from America”:

For years, Georgia’s 8th Grade students read in their history books about our state’s decision to secede from the United States back in 1861. Today, our students need only look at a daily newspaper to see that talk of secession isn’t just a thing of the past. In fact, four of the six Republican candidates said they would support Georgia seceding from the United States of America. This is outrageous.

This is absolutely disgraceful—it’s a slap in the face to every patriotic American, to anybody who has served under the American flag and to those brave Georgians who have fought and died for our country in Iraq…

What really offends me the most, is that none of these Republican secession candidates ever wore, for a single day, the uniform of our country, carried a weapon, or heard a shot fired in anger. Not ONE ever put their life on the line to protect our freedoms and liberty.

But they recklessly call for secession from America. They would in effect, ban the American flag and end the pledge of allegiance. They would say to the world that when they don’t get their way, they quit.

That’s just childish. That’s cowardice, not leadership… Real leadership means we work toward common sense solutions to protect American values, not just quit our country because we don’t agree with other Americans… United We Stand. Divided We Fall… Know this: when I’m the Governor of Georgia, I won’t cut and run from America… When I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I mean it.

What would Republicans of 1860-1865 say about Republicans today who speak of secessionism and states’ rights? Would they see this as “the party of Lincoln?”


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