The best part about being a Republican is that the right-wing media will defend anything. I mean, anything. There is nothing a Republican officeholder can say or do that is stupid, illegal, or offensive enough that an army of hacks won't take to their syndicated columns and talk radio mics to excuse it. This is why you are about to read a nugget of wisdom entitled "Was Rick Perry Just Kidding?" by a fifth-rate columnist whose own mother has never heard of him. If you haven't time to read the whole thing, here is the quick version of what happens in the following paragraphs: Bill Murchison lures Sound Logic and Good Argument into his dank, windowless van and proceeds to finger them.

Sneer, sneer, boo, hiss — and oh, boy!

A piece of prose that begins thusly can only be authored by A) Dr. Seuss or B) a man with a vast number of competing voices in his head. I don't want to give the rest of the column away, but Dr. Seuss died in 1991.

Did the "progressives" ever pour it on my governor, Rick Perry of Texas, for his playful reference at a Tea Party event to "secession" as an option possibly forming in the minds of sensible Texans.

Ah. It was "playful." All expectations that our public officials will not say things that are treasonous or completely retarded go out the window if spoken playfully. In his next column, Bill Murchison will go through airport security making jokes about the bombs in his luggage and wriggle out of legal trouble with a particularly wacky blazer and a spinning bowtie.

Why would we be thinking about such?


Because of "progressive" depredations in Washington, D.C., the governor said, if not in so many words.

Bill is a contrarian. Since good writing involves communicating an idea using the smallest possible number of carefully chosen words, Bill goes for quantity and incoherence. He also sits angrily in his seat while everyone else in the stadium is doing the wave.

The establishment harrumphed and gagged and generally went red. Gail Collins of the New York Times: "[H]ave you noticed how places that pride themselves on being superpatriotic seem to have the most people who want to abandon the country entirely and set up shop on their own?"

That sounds like an entirely reasonable question. The kind a normal person would ask.

Come on, lady, back off a little. No one's going anywhere — as well you certainly know.

"As well you certainly know?" Either this was written in Urdu and translated back into English with a free online translator or Bill puts each word he wants to use on a notecard, scatters them to the afternoon breeze, and lets fate arrange them into sentences.

Nobody's called for a secession convention. I looked up and down the street this morning; not a single effigy of Nancy Pelosi dangled from the live oaks. Driving to the office, I heard no suggestion that we hang Harry Reid, Chris Dodd, or, preferably, both to a sour apple tree.

See? No one's violently trying to secede yet. They're just talking about it, which is always harmless and never progresses to the kind of behavior cited here.

No matter. Sigh.

Do you have any idea how big of a hack one must be as a writer to actually write "Sigh" to communicate that emotion? If your writing is so bad that you can't convey a simple emotion without saying "I AM EXASPERATED RIGHT NOW" then maybe writing isn't for you.

The progressives have the bit between their teeth and seem bent on the usual pretense that these Texans are a bunch of ingrates whom we shouldn't trust as far as we can throw a grand piano.

Ingrates? No, Bill. We think you're borderline-illiterate yahoos in cowboy hats and Chevy Suburbans who say "y'all" a lot thanks in part to some of the worst public schooling north of El Salvador.

Well, you know what? It's too much trouble seceding, even if we could.

This is perhaps the least reassuring reassurance I have ever seen, rivalled only by Oswald telling the security guard "I just want a better view of the parade route so I can take pictures."

And, pace the governor, we can't.

Foil, runs nubuck gracefully. Pong lapdance railroad kidneys. Towel? Gap dash an eskimo!!

Rather than the secessionary right he alleged we brought with us into the Union, we brought the right — undoubted, but similarly impractical — to divide into five states. We'll have to stick around a bit longer.

This reminds me of that time I read the complete set of Time-Life Home Repair and Improvement books on peyote.

That shouldn't deprive us of the right to remind fellow Americans of some practices and virtues our land could do well to renew.

Oh, good. Please do lecture us so that we may become more like Lubbock and Beaumont. When I worry about our Practices and Virtues here in the midwest I often think, "You know how we oughta do things? Like they do things in Corpus Christi."

A key one is regard for the inherent right of local people, even under a federal union, to defend and oversee their own modes of life.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO STATES' RIGHTS!!!!!1!1!!!oneone!!!! A noble concept always used to defend other noble concepts. OMG let's have another nullification crisis!!

In other words — golly gee! — Texans might not want exactly the same things Californians want. They might wish lower taxes and less regulation by government. Their approaches to education and health care and energy might differ as well. So also the ways they deal with simple matters like eating: more sirloins in Texas, more tofu on the Left Coast.

Let's look at the rankings.

Life expectancy by state: #10. California, #30. Texas
Adult obesity by state: #10 Texas, #30 California
Heart disease deaths per 100,000: Texas 220, California 191


Alas, the Obama regime, as we may decide to start calling it one of these days, has other notions.

"One of these days" = January 2009

It appears to cherish uniformity, the close alignment of ideals and methods: everybody doing the same thing the same way for the same reasons.

Well, technically it believes, as most of us left-leaning yankees do, in trying to bring our slow southern cousins up to first-world standards, perhaps by teaching science instead of the Bible and working on getting those teen pregnancy rates below Nigeria's. I disagree, but the bleeding hearts believe they can fix you. Maybe make you less of an embarrassment. Me, I'm Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. I'm here on a mission of mercy. I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me for a favor. I said, "If you want a favor, take my advice and fire their asses, because a loser is a loser."

You think I'm fuckin' with you, Bill? I am not fuckin' with you.

The Obamanistas may want uniform rules regarding the cars and trucks we drive and the energy those vehicles consume.

Yep. Are we supposed to be ashamed of that? This is not unlike saying "Can you believe these nanny state liberals who want me to stop committing so many rapes?!?" I can live with having judged you on this point.

They want, it seems, national education standards — a goal furthered, as one hates to acknowledge, by a former Texas governor, George W. Bush via the No Child Left Behind Act.

Yep. And here's the important part, so stay with me: this time the national education (sic) standards won't be retarded. Semantics, semantics.

We may even wind up with national standards for humor. A joke, son, ain't a joke no more, and that's the truth.

This is the most forced transition to a slippery slope argument – and not even a good bad argument at that – in the history of whatever language Bill Murchison speaks.

The governor of Texas no more demanded secession from the Union than he called for a Lone Star Beer to be brought him.

Rick Perry, April 15, as the crowd chanted "Secede! Secede! Secede!": "There's a lot of different scenarios. 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."

He raised an eyebrow; he winked. Never mind. A stalwart "progressive" trying to show up conservatives is ever alert to serendipitous events and occasions.

Here's an idea, Bill. Threaten to kill an elected official and give the jury the old "But I winked!" excuse. Write me a letter on your prison stationery letting me know how it worked out for you.

So maybe he shouldn't have said it. That's from one perspective. Here's another: A Union of the sort our wise and virtuous founders thought they were creating is as loose and flexible as a Union can realistically be made; accommodative of divergent viewpoints, and all the stronger for it, all the more united, too.

You know what kinds of viewpoints they didn't accomodate? Secession. That has a way of making us weaker and more divided, not quite stronger and more united.

The Union we seem to see dead ahead through the windshield, with the people of 50 different states all cuffed together in mutual subservience, isn't what the founders had in mind. Good for Rick Perry on that score: He raised a useful subject, even if to his own detriment. Let's enjoy. Such a moment may not come again for a long, long time.

Flawless, Bill. Just flawless. Undermining your own argument, stringing together words into incoherent non-sentences, coming to no conclusion, and fizzling out because you couldn't think of a way to end it – brilliant. Here's the rub. If you consider our current situation "mutual subservience" then your level of anger is appropriate, like if I referred to you as "Child pornographer and white supremacist Bill Murchison." That would justify some pretty extreme anger directed at you. And since none of that is true, you'd be pretty baffled by the response. Yet that's exactly what you're doing here, cubby. Those cuffs and that forced subservience aren't real. They exist only in your head. If the rest of us lived in your head then this piece and Rick Perry's bloviating would ring true and sound to a downtrodden nation like a call to action.

But we live on Earth and you sound like an idiot.