The Brief: Top Texas News for Nov. 20, 2012

Ron Paul speaks at a Tea Party rally at the Texas Capitol on May 6, 2012.
Ron Paul speaks at a Tea Party rally at the Texas Capitol on May 6, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

The latest Texas secession talk may be nothing more than political fodder, but at least one of the state's politicians is taking it seriously.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul on Monday wrote on his congressional website that while he thought the recent online petition to let Texas withdraw from the U.S. wouldn't gain much traction, the concept of secession warrants a national discussion.

"Secession is a deeply American principle," he wrote. "This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those 'traitors' became our country’s greatest patriots. There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents."

Paul, who is retiring from Congress, added that the threat of secession has historically helped protect Americans' freedom. "If the possibility of secession is completely off the table," he wrote, "there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it."

The congressman's remarks came about a week after a petition on WhiteHouse.gov calling for Texas' secession in the wake of the president's re-election hit 25,000 signatures — the number needed to elicit an official response from the Obama administration. Though similar petitions have been filed for each of the 50 states, some of which have passed the 25,000 threshold, Texas' still leads in the number of signatures, with about 116,000. The White House has yet to issue its response.

Monday wasn't the first time Paul had chimed in on the secession debate, however. After Gov. Rick Perry famously raised the issue at a Tax Day rally in 2009, Paul made a similar statement, saying, "It's not un-American to think about the possibility of secession. … A free society means you can dissolve it voluntarily."

Of the petitions, Perry said last last week that while he understands Texans' frustrations with the federal government, "nothing should be done to change" the "greatness of our Union."

Culled:

  • The Washington Post's Fix blog on Monday gave its "worst candidate of 2012" honors to none other than Gov. Rick Perry As the Post's Chris Cillizza wrote, "The gap between what was expected of Perry and what he delivered coupled with incredibly high profile of the race in which he chose to flop makes Perry a clear choice for worst candidate of 2012." Democrat Ric Sanchez, a former Army general who withdrew from the U.S. Senate race last year, also made the list.
  • San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro on Monday scored meetings with high-profile government officials during his trade mission to Britain to discuss energy and technology. "It's significant that he's gotten such high-level meetings since he's been here," a representative for the U.S. Embassy in London told the San Antonio Express-News. Castro on Monday also delivered a keynote address at the London School of Economics.
  • The Texas Observer on Monday reported that a group of women's health care providers in Texas plans to circumvent Gov. Rick Perry and state lawmakers by appealing directly to the federal government for family planning funding. Spurred by controversy that cut state funding for women's health programs, the coalition said it would distribute the money to family planning providers across the state, including Planned Parenthood.

"I think so far Republicans have been lousy at communicating our ideas in the Hispanic community." — Ted Cruz in an an appearance Monday on Fox News

Must-Read:

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.