If hardcore conservatives are looking for generals in their post-election civil war, they may have to look beyond some of the biggest names on the right.
Following President Obama's re-election last week, a group of virulently anti-Obama Republicans has apparently suggested pulling the plug on the whole United States of America thing and splintering off into nations for which Obama is not at the top of the government. Two of the most incendiary conservative leaders, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and RedState founder Erick Erickson, called on the would-be secessionists to stand down on Tuesday, potentially pitting them against a grassroots backlash following last week's election.
It's not clear how serious the movement is, exactly. Somewhat anonymous petitions have been filed on the White House website in the days following Obama's reelection calling for dozens of states to be allowed to leave the US. The Texas petition is garnering the most notoriety, both because it has the most signatures and because it involves Texas, a state where talk of secession pops up regularly.
Last time around, the man at the center of the Republic Of Texas talk was Perry, who gave a shoutout to seceding from Obama's America's in 2009 while not directly endorsing the concept. It was all part of Perry's plan to cast himself as Mr. Tenth Amendment in the run up to his own bid to lead all 50 of the United States as president. The secession stuff followed Perry to his short presidential campaign, forcing Perry to distance himself from Texas secessionists in 2011.
With Texas secessionism back in the news, Perry is again declining to get on board.
"Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it," Perry spokesperson Catherine Frazier said in a statement. "But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government."
Meanwhile, over at RedState, Erickson isn't having any of the secession talk either.
"We here at RedState are American citizens. We have no plans to secede from the union," he wrote on the site Tuesday. "If you do, good luck with that, but this is not the place for you."
Erickson also pushed back on conservatives who claim the election wasn't legitimate, or that Democratic supporters stole it somehow. "Barack Obama won. He won by turning out the most people in a well run campaign," Erickson wrote. "In other words, he won fair and square."
Many of the petitions on the White House website are posted without a last name, making it hard to figure out how serious they really are or who's behind most of them. But voter anguish over Obama's election and the course of the country is behind at least one of the petitions, the one calling for Alabama to leave the union "and create its own NEW government."
Derrick Belcher, a 45 year-old topless carwash owner, is behind the Alabama petition, according to AL.com. He supported Ron Paul in 2012 and told the site he's serious about creating a new union of states that did not vote for Obama's reelection. Belcher said that a nation of red states could do away with entitlement programs -- and the people who rely on them.
"The people who want those handouts, it'll force them to move to a different state," he told AL.com.
Contrary to the outsized coverage the secession petitions have received, Belcher's vision of a red state union do not seem to be catching on among mainstream conservatives. But that's not so say some on the right aren't having fun imagining "what if." Bob Smiley, author of a right-leaning novel about a Texas governor who secedes from the USA over the policies of its progressive president, took to the Daily Caller to pen a list of reasons Texas could easily survive on its own.
Here's a video report on Belcher from WKRG-TV: