Texas Governor’s Debate: Two Secessionists, and Kay Bailey Hutchinson

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.



  1. Meanwhile, the Texas State Board of Education may be wrenched free of the grip of the creationists on March 2. If Tincy Miller and Bob Craig win the Republican primaries, their pro-science seats are safe. But Don McLeroy could fall to Thomas Ratliff in these primaries – at last count, Ratliff’s contributions dwarfed McLeroy’s, $15,173 to $1,200. So, ACG, this might be time to break tradition and donate to a Republican, or at least become a supporter on Facebook. ;)

  2. Actually, Kay Baily Hutchison isn’t that respected a stateswoman in the deep Republican areas of Texas. The thought that Perry would outpoll her is both true and scary – Perry’s been appealing to the far-right fringe for far too long. Hutchison’s been trying to appeal to them, but she just can’t master Gov Goodhair’s fake sincerity. And Medina is pulling some of the attention from Hutchison and Perry, but she’s the “I can’t stand the other two” choice rather than a true choice. I can see Medina pulling votes away, but I think it might be pulling them away from Hutchison rather than Perry. Perry’s supporters are going to vote for him without any doubt. Hutchison is right now being cast as the “blonde liberal RINO” by Perry’s supporters. Medina fulfills two purposes for the far right – she sounds like a tea partier, and she’s female (can’t accuse Tx of being a ole boy’s network if you vote for a woman).

    I’m in the sad situation of hoping that a flake will win the nomination, and hoping hard that TX will not vote said flake into office. Reminds me of the Gov race between Edwin Edwards and David Duke (indicted bribery vs KKK) – the slogan was “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” I’ve got to hope for the flake – it’s important.

  3. The State Board of Education might be wrenched free of the grip of creationists if moderate democrats like Rebecca Bell-Metereau (district 5) and Judy Jennings (district 10) can beat their right-wing idealogue opponents in what are looking to be two close (and very important) races.

    1. I do hope the races are competitive, Lindsay. I’d just feel safer if people like Mercer and Russell (Dunbar’s heir apparent) fell in the primaries – and with McLeroy, the only chance is in the primary. Get ’em out, and quickly! :)

    2. I’m donating to their races even though they’re not in my district. I’m also (sigh) donating to Tincy Miller, Bob Craig and Thomas Ratliff as part of the pro-science and pro-sanity crowd. There’s got to be some sane Republicans out there!

  4. Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, and rational Republicans have good reason to be hopeful about the State Board of Education. Extremists on the board made enough outrageous statements that people all over Texas, the U.S., and even the world have noticed. We have a good shot at taking the board in a more sensible direction after Nov. 2.

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