Texas is one giant pecan orchard; the nuts are everywhere. If dollars were votes, the AG-race in Texas would shake down with State Representative Dan Branch in first place, State Senator Ken Paxton in the 2-spot, and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman in third-place, slightly behind Paxton. Obviously, Smitherman must out-nutty the others in the AG-race. So, the nut in last place has pulled out the stops and hints at Texas secession. This is a dog-whistle signal to the Teabaggers and Paulistas as Smitherman seeks to out-nut his Dumbo opponents. If this is a (fair & balanced) kick to the nuts, so be it.
Barry Smitherman, Texas Attorney General Candidate, Says State Could Be "Independent Nation"
By John Celock
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A Republican candidate for Texas attorney general says the Lone Star State's energy production practices have helped position Texas to be an "independent nation."
Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, a candidate in the 2014 state attorney general's race, told WND earlier this week that he believes Texas's energy and economic practices will protect the state should the overall American economy collapse. He said Texas would be able to survive since it has the necessary resources and does not need to depend on other states for help. Dallasnews reported on Smitherman's comments Thursday afternoon.
Smitherman told WND:
“We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid. Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system.”
Smitherman did not call for Texas to secede from the United States, however.
The Texas Railroad Commission regulates the oil and gas industry in the state. Smitherman was first appointed to the commission by Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) in 2011 and won a statewide election for the seat in 2012. Prior to becoming a railroad commissioner, Smitherman was chairman of the Texas Public Utilities Commission, a position he was appointed to by Perry.
Smitherman told WND that he has seen energy firms move from New York to Texas to escape a pending economic collapse. He also said he has worked to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement activities. On his campaign website, Smitherman says he will stop President Barack Obama from interfering in Texas affairs if elected attorney general.
This is the not the first time Smitherman has attracted headlines. In a recent speech to the Texas Alliance for Life, Smitherman attacked China's one-child policy and said that abortion could cause a Biblical-style plague. He also said Americans should have more children in order to help the economy, while encouraging young men to abstain from sex until marriage. (He said people should marry young so that they can work on having children.)
Earlier this year, Smitherman retweeted a tweet that contained a picture of a noose and the names of 16 Republican U.S. senators who had voted to open a debate gun control.
State Representative Dan Branch and state Senator Ken Paxton are also seeking the GOP nomination for state attorney general. Ω
[John Celock is state politics reporter and Patch liaison for The Huffington Post. He served as the launch editor of Westfield Patch in New Jersey from 2009 to 2011. Prior to Patch he was a reporter for political and real estate publications in New York. He is the author of the book, The Next Generation: Young Elected Officials and their Impact on American Politics (2010). Celock received a BA (Political Science) from Niagara University and an MA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.]
Copyright © 2013 The Huffington Post
Smitherman’s “Independent Texas”
By Paul Burka
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I have hesitated to respond to Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman's claim that Texas could be an independent nation, because it's hardly worth getting into an argument over the issue. But it shouldn't be hard to rebut. I could start with health care. Without Medicaid funds from the federal government, every hospital in Texas would have to shut down. Next: roads. Without federal highway funds, Texas would have to start grinding up perfectly good roads and turning them into gravel. Oh, wait, we're already doing that.
Then there is the matter of the border. Every politician in Texas is screaming about securing the border. But DPS doesn't have enough troopers to do it. Air travel would come to a halt if the federal government didn't operate the major airports in Texas. Our coastal ports would be unable to engage in foreign trade if the federal government did not dredge deepwater routes into the Gulf of Mexico. The point is, the federal government puts a lot of money into the state think of the payrolls of our major military installations at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss. Anybody who thinks Texas could go it alone is dreaming. Sure, we have oil, but remember: the price of oil can go down as well as up a bitter lesson that we have to re-learn from time to time. Ω
[Paul Burka joined the staff of Texas Monthly in 1974, one year after the magazine's founding. He was born in Galveston, graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in history, and received a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Burka is a senior executive editor and a political columnist at TM.]
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