If you’ve been watching the Texas governor’s race, you’ll know that the Republican primary is, essentially, a clash between a respected stateswoman, and an embarrassing incumbent with “tea party” sympathies. What you may not know — I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t — is that there’s another candidate in the race. Meet Debra Medina:
Activist Debra Medina had to distance herself from statements she made last year that if efforts to promote states’ rights fail, the nation may need a “bloody war” of secession. Medina said she is against secession. She said she wants the state to be able to nullify federal laws, saying Texas usually does not get to keep all the federal gas tax money raised to build highways.
When a candidate has to distance herself from charges of secessionism — well, that’s concerning. But her arguments for nullification, which are a part of her public platform, are equally nefarious, especially for their increasing commonality among members of the far- and mainstream right. Nullification isn’t a way to get around distasteful government policies. It’s a slap in the face to the Founding Fathers, and a rejection of the shared bonds of union. Distorted readings of the Tenth Amendment aside, there’s nothing patriotic about going toe-to-toe with the federal government. The last time this tactic was tried in earnest, it ended poorly.
There’s another reason to be worried about Debra Medina. Bill White, Democrat, hyperpopular mayor, and my commencement speaker, will be the Democrats’ nominee for Governor, and stands a good chance of beating Rick Perry, who has absolutely no appeal with moderates or with the insurgent Texas left. Against Kay Bailey Hutchinson, though… well, I wouldn’t take that bet. If Medina successfully split the far-right, handing KBH the nomination, White’s chances could go up in smoke. As of now, that doesn’t look likely. Perry holds a commanding lead in admittedly suspect polls. For those of us who consider Texas’ redemption a worthy goal, pray it stays that way.