By JONATHAN GURWITZ
New York Times News Service
Sore losers threatening to leave the United States. Extremists trafficking in loose talk about secession.
A description of the aftermath of the 2012 election? Yes. But also an accurate depiction of the situation in 2004.
The liberal orthodoxy has been exasperated in recent days to discover that some Americans who are dismayed at the prospect of living four more years under an administration they detest could possibly consider secession as a respectable solution. In response to petitions that appeared on the White House website from citizens in all 50 states asserting the right of their states to secede, progressive supporters of the Obama administration started their own petition to “strip the citizenship of everyone who signed a petition to secede and exile them.”
On MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” Jim Moore — director of the Progress Texas PAC and author of “Bush’s Brain” — spoke for many liberals outraged that any sane and decent person would contemplate leaving the country over the results of an election.
“Texas has more than our blessed boatload of nutjobs who want to leave the nation,” Moore said. “And these are people who also claim to be patriots like Rick Perry. Out of one side of their mouth they say they’re patriots. Out of the other side of their mouth they say they want to leave the United States of America.”
Liberal loudmouth Lawrence O’Donnell was born in Massachusetts and graduated Harvard. He was an aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat. He is also the host of a popular show on MSNBC, “The Last Word.” Back in 2004, he advocated secession — for blue states that voted for John Kerry.
On “The McLaughlin Group” after George W. Bush’s re-election, O’Donnell said, “The big problem the country now has, which is going to produce a serious discussion of secession over the next 20 years, is that the segment of the country that pays for the federal government is now being governed by the people who don’t pay for the federal government.”
“Did you say secession?” fellow guest Tony Blankley asked incredulously. “Are you calling for civil war?”
“You can secede without firing a shot,” O’Donnell responded.
O’Donnell was not alone in 2004. Bob Beckel, a longtime Democratic activist who served as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration, endorsed the idea of getting red states out of his blue Union.
“I think now that slavery is taken care of, I’m for letting the South form its own nation,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” “Really, I think they ought to have their own confederacy.”
Such progressive praise for secession was apart from the list of liberal luminaries who in recent years have threatened to self-deport if Republicans win the White House: among them, Alec Baldwin, Robert Altman and Susan Sarandon. Pierre Salinger actually did move to France.
So does one party or state have a monopoly on secessionist stupidity or two-faced patriotism? Clearly not. As the New York Times reported on blue America the week before this year’s election, “It’s a refrain heard every four years: ‘If [insert Republican name] is elected president, I’m moving to Canada.’ “
But listening to hacks like Jim Moore and other Democratic mouthpieces, you might think that all this promiscuous talk about secession is something brand new, largely Texan and wholly Republican.
Anyone who talks seriously about taking leave of this great country has likely already taken leave of their senses. The people doing the gabbing deserve all the ridicule and contempt they’re receiving. But some of the people dishing it out would sound a lot more sincere if their self-righteousness about secession wasn’t so politically opportunistic.