Texas Gov. Rick “No-Way-You’re-Running-to-the-Right-of-Me” Perry’s strategy to fend off Kay Bailey Hutchison’s  primary challenge is beginning to backfire.

It’s not that he suggested Texas may secede from the union.  It’s that he had Rep. John Culberson (R-Tx.) defending him on “Hardball” this afternoon.  The Congressman actually said not to take the governor too seriously; he was caught up in the moment.  Which was on a TV talk show – Larry Kudlow’s CNBC shout-fest every evening.  At the very least we know it wasn’t ambush journalism.  So whatever moment he was caught up in has caught up with him.  He’s been the butt of late-night show jokes, among the most reliable of social barometers.

But Perry began to look statesmen like when Culberson came to his defense.  The esteemed congressman from Texas said,

“Leave us alone.”

“We want the federal government out of our lives.”

“We treasure the right of Texans to run Texas.”

“The country is at a tipping point.”

“We see Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi trying to make this country into France.”

And my favorite,

“We Texans have a special feeling in our heart for what it means to be an American….  The government needs to get off of my back and get out of my way.” 

(Did I mention that as a congressman, he was part of the federal government?)

We now know that real Americans live in small towns (Sarah Palin’s analysis) and that the rest of them, or at least a large part of them, live in Texas.

I think, in one scene on “Hardball,” Culberson was hoping to win the Michelle Bachman Lifetime Achievement Award.

I lived in Texas for nearly a decade.  All the best things in my life happened to me in Texas.  But in just a few phrases, Culberson encapsulates why I was happy to get away from there.  (And I did so without getting the blame for taking the grand kids away; but that’s another story.)  That sense that Texans are a special breed and just a little better than other Americans was too much hubris for me.  Endless 90 degree days – in January – were also more than I could take.

While talking to Culberson, Chris Matthews focused on the 31% of Texans who said the state has the right to secede from the union.  He had a professor on with Culberson who said no, Texas couldn’t and cited cases, before Culberson, mesmerized by the national platform, stole the show.  Matthews asked a few more questions of Culberson before he realized he could shut up and let this guy, like Bachman, audition for You Tube infamy. 

The Rasmussen Report survey cited by Matthews also found that:

  • 75% of Lone Star State voters would no to secession
  • 18% would vote yes
  • 7% are not sure what they’d choose.

Kay Bailey Hutchison is probably thinking with those numbers, she‘ll buy the governor his own You Tube channel and run loops of his statement with links to Culberson’s.

But here at Commonwealth Commonsense, we have the exclusive look behind the Rasmussen numbers for a sharper (perhaps a poor choice of words) interpretation of what these numbers tell us about Texans. 

First, we found that of the 31% who were for it, 24% thought they were being asked if Texans had a right to succeed. 

Knowing this, we can interpret the vote numbers a little better for you.

25% would vote no because they know a lot of Texans who don’t deserve to succeed, in part because Texans gave us Culberson and W.

21% would vote no because they like the Dallas Cowboys and thought if they seceded their cable service would be cut off.

9% are not native Texans and hence had no exposure to Texas public schools.

On the other side,

12% remember hearing the word in high school but couldn’t remember what secession is.  This group also plays a lot of Texas Hold ‘Em, so they bluffed the pollster and said they’d vote yes because the word sounded nice. 

5.73% would vote yes because they are the aforementioned Texas “mis-hearers” and want to succeed, if the didn’t have to give up being Texans.

0.22% voted yes because their Texas roots go back a couple of centuries and there is no other excuse we can find for them other than they really want to secede.

6.995% know they don’t know what secession is, so they said they didn’t know.  We learned they’re also pissed because they think before they vote they might have to find out what it is and may even have to read something, probably for the first time in years.

0.005% Don’t know what they don’t know or don’t care that they don’t care.

Watch it … and weep.