August 25, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry would make a great president.
As he tirelessly reminds us, the United States is a shambles — mounting debt, high unemployment, religiously unrooted, over- taxed, entangled in entitlements, with a Federal Reserve Bank whose actions are treasonous and a federal government seeping like an oil spill into every individual's life.
It's time for a daring experiment, and he's just the man to undertake it. Imagine: He could totally eliminate the federal bureaucracy, return to the gold standard, bring Christ and creationism back into the public schools, secure foreign borders, privatize Social Security and health care. It would be the biggest social revolution since the New Deal, and he could do it all if he were the president — of Texas.
Rick, don't waste your purpose-driven life running for an office that will only frustrate you. You call Washington "the Devil's city," and now you're aspiring to go smack in the center of it. Besides, the U.S. is just too big and complex to allow your vision to flourish. But Texas! There you'd have a nice little country about the same size as Spain or Afghanistan, with a GDP and population close to that of Australia. You've spoken of this for years; why not go for it? Resurrect the Republic of Texas, born in valiant revolution against Mexico and independent for a decade, until in 1845 President Sam Houston, over great objection, got it folded into the U.S. — primarily so the federal government could assume Texas's enormous war debt. How's that for irony? For old-time Texans, the Republic is their meta-narrative, and who is better able to make their myth a realty than you?
Of course, there will be obstacles, but you're no Sisyphus — you can push those boulders right over the top. Presuming that the U.S. is now too weak-willed and war-weary to fight, you can begin as soon as your legislature ratifies the articles of secession.
It'll be chaos for a while, ushering the U.S. out of there and replacing the federal apparatus with a Texan one. The military will be a major problem, but they're getting so used to troop drawdowns that they'll beat a gradual and orderly retreat over five years, declaring victory. Then you can convert all those army bases into training centers for a beefed-up Texas Rangers. And while you're at it, you can use the abandoned Johnson Space Center in Houston for an ambitious program to put a Texan on the moon before the decade is out. What patriotism that would inspire!
Then there are all those U.S. federal grants to get off the citizens' backs — over $35 billion of them in 2009 — for agriculture, education, energy, environmental protection, child care, highways, on and on. I know that as governor you lobbied vigorously to get even more of them — $47.5 million last year for undocumented immigrant health care, for instance, and $14.5 million for No Child Left Behind, the educational standards program which you've called "a direct assault on federalism." But that's history now, and your countrymen will forgive you. There's always a price for freedom, and I'm sure all those farmers and oilmen and students and poor people will be more than willing to pay it.
Then there's immigration, which will be interesting, since you'll have to deal with not only one border but all of them. On the southern side, you can be as ruthless as you choose — drive those undocumented Mexicans out, like your forefathers did in the 1830's. But how porous will you let your other borders be? Will you require passports and work permits for Oklahomans? There may be a great influx of unemployed people from the States, seeking work in the Promised Land. On the other hand, there may be plenty of Texans, many educated and prosperous, who'd rather live in America. Will you let them go?
And then there are all those nasty entitlements. At least for Social Security, you've got a grace period. Non-citizens who've paid into the program can claim benefits, as long as they don't live in interdicted countries like Cuba or Cambodia. Presuming Texas is not added to the list (and why should America treat its separated sibling harshly?), your seniors can milk the system for decades, giving you time to devise and implement your plan for privatization. With Medicare gone, you can get those insurance companies back in the game, generating thousands of jobs to boot. And for those too poor to pay, well, we all know that Texans have big hearts and will take care of their neighbors like they used to, in the days before the welfare state.
As for money, returning to the gold standard probably wouldn't work right now, prices being what they are. You could tie your currency (the Pecos bill?) to oil or, appropriately, natural gas. You could also swallow your pride and continue to use the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador does. You can always switch to China later.
There are a lot more questions, like whether and how to insure bank deposits when the FDIC withdraws, but I'm sure you'll meet each and every challenge with your can-do resourcefulness. Shoot, if Georgia (the country, that is) can go independent, Texas surely can.
So Rick, set your sights on a presidency that really counts. There's a bill before your legislature calling for a plebiscite on Texas nationhood. Forget the U.S.; turn your mighty campaign force toward your homeland, where you've never lost an election.
Future Mr. President, you're made for Texas, and Texas is made for you.