HOUSTON – Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has threatened secession from the union.

“Texas is a unique place,” Perry declared. “When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that.”

His remarks occurred in the midst of a hysterical mob shouting, “Secede!” Commentators have pointed out that Perry was remiss for not denouncing the anti-Americanism of these protesters.

Some pundits say Perry may be the answer to the buffoonery of Gov. Palin of Alaska in her quest to lead the ultra-right. Some of the more generous commentaries on his statement call him a demagogue. Others point out that secession is the old line of the segregationists. Still others point out that his remarks are seditious and are blatantly anti-American.

One former Texas journalist, Joe Cutbirth, wrote in the Huffington Post that Perry has embarrassed Texas and may have made it more difficult for the state to compete for top notch researchers. Some Texans are begging for him to be removed from office.

Keith Olbermann quoted a Civil War-era South Carolina governor who quipped, “Texas is too small to be a country and too big for an insane asylum.”

All this occurs in the context of Perry leading the right-wing charge against the Obama administration’s federal budget. Perry and his cohorts have even been trying to block stem cell research in Texas and refusing to accept federal unemployment insurance funds from the president’s stimulus package.

In a moment of lucidity, the Texas Senate today voted tentative approval of a bill that would allow Texas to receive $555 million for unemployment.

Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller issued this statement, “The Texas Senate chose today to engage the big problems in Texas rather than secede from them. Taking a bipartisan approach, the Senate majority declared what ordinary Texans know: working families are hurting in this economy and the stimulus package offers help for them.”