By Jon Winsor
Rick Perry joins Bachmann in advocating for intelligent design, recently commenting:
“There are clear indications from our people who have amazing intellectual capability that this didn’t happen by accident and a creator put this in place,” Perry said.
“Now, what was his time frame and how did he create the earth that we know? I’m not going to tell you that I’ve got the answers to that,” Perry said. “I believe that we were created by this all-powerful supreme being and how we got to today versus what we look like thousands of years ago, I think there’s enough holes in the theory of evolution to, you know, say there are some holes in that theory.”
“Teaching the controversy“– the Discovery Institute would love that. Perry is also solidly in the climate change denialist camp, saying back in 2007 (when many of his fellow GOP governors were acknowledging the scientific consensus):
“Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon. … But you won’t read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be good stewards of our environment. We should. I am just saying when politics hijack science, it quells true scientific debate and can have dire consequences for our future.”
…Asked for elaboration on the scientists who Perry said are abandoning the “global warming bandwagon,” his office listed two dozen recent articles, almost none about scientists. They range from calls for Gore to lose his Academy Award to a posting from the Tehran Times (“Iran’s leading international daily”) stating that Gore doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize because as a senator he voted to authorize the first Gulf War.
TalkingPointsMemo DC did an informal poll at the recent Heartland Institute International Convention on Climate Change and found Perry to be a strong presidential favorite among conference goers (with Michele Bachmann running second).
Like Bachmann, Perry bills himself as a libertarian. But curiously similar to Bachmann, Perry’s libertarianism is imbued with a certain strong, but decidedly idiosyncratic claim to moral authority. Perry doesn’t have the homeschooling activism in his background as Bachmann does, but he certainly has some interesting religious autodidacts enrolled in his cause. And Perry’s 2010 book Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington makes a passionate case for states rights (two of Bachmann’s intellectual mentors were states rights advocates). Lately, Perry has been trying to reconcile his states rights libertarianism with a nation-wide social conservatism, but he’s been a staunch enough states rights advocate to have flirted with the concept of secessionism in 2009:
Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday stuck by his earlier statement that Texas can secede from the United States — a far-reaching, legally questionable prospect that nevertheless drew Perry a fresh favorable mention by Rush Limbaugh, one of the nation’s leading conservative voices…
According to The Associated Press, Perry suggested in response to a reporter’s question that Texans might at some point get so fed up with Democratic-led actions in Washington that they would want to secede.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “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? But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
On Thursday, Perry called potential secession a “side issue of Texas history. … We are very proud of our Texas history; people discuss and debate the issues of can we break ourselves into five states, can we secede, a lot of interesting things that I’m sure Oklahoma and Pennsylvania would love to be able to say about their states, but the fact is, they can’t because they’re not Texas.”
A Perry spokeswoman said Perry believes Texas could secede if it wanted.
The story’s reporter contacted a Texas law professor for comment:
Sanford Levinson, a professor at the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin, said that between the Texas Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the 1845 Joint Resolution Annexing Texas to the United States, there is no explicit right for the state to return to its days as a republic.
“We actually fought a war over this issue, and there is no possibility whatsoever that the United States or any court would recognize a ‘right’ to secede,” Levinson said in an e-mail.
Here’s a tip for the Perry camp: Maybe Perry could find a legal scholar at Discovery or Heartland to argue that Texas could secede?