July 23rd, 2010
05:59 PM ET
4 years ago

Tennessee Republican floats secession threat

Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp argued that mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill have put secession on the table.
Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp argued that mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill have put secession on the table.

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry's suggestion in April 2009 that his state might consider secession drew a round of mockery nationwide, but his blustery populist rhetoric earned him serious traction among GOP primary voters in his re-election fight against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Perry, riding a tide of anti-Washington sentiment, went on to trounce Hutchison and another candidate in the Republican primary earlier this year.

Now another gubernatorial hopeful is test-driving a similar message.

Rep. Zach Wamp, one of three candidates seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Tennessee, told Hotline OnCall that Perry had the right idea. Wamp argued that mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill have put secession on the table.

"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," Wamp told Hotline OnCall Friday.

Wamp said he hopes voters send a message in November that the federal government should "strictly adhere" to the Constitution.

"Patriots like Rick Perry have talked about these issues because the federal government is putting us in an untenable position at the state level," he told OnCall.

His primary opponents, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, both told the website they don't support secession.


Filed under: 2010 • Bill Haslam • Popular Posts • Ron Ramsey • Tennessee • Zach Wamp
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. CR

    What is with these backward yahoos? This anti-American nonsense has driven reasonable, intelligent people out of the Republican Party. Never going back. Secession indeed!

    July 23, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Blue

    This guy make the repugs even look less appealing. I did not agree with bush or his party but did not want my state to leave the USA. The repugs are just a bunch of angry white guys. ( I am a white guy ) Politics is the art of compromise not just saying "no".

    July 23, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. M

    I'll take Puerto Rico instead - we don't have to change the flag this way.

    July 23, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Bravo, Mr Wamp!

    So far as I know–and I'm fairly well read on the subject–nothing says that statehood is binding in perpetua. Even if it were, however, the various states joined the United States with the implied stipulation that the United States, as a sovereign entity under its federal government, would abide by its own Constitution. It hasn't done that.

    Basically, by failing to abide by the Constitution, particularly those clauses that protect the powers of the states from usurpation by the federal government, the United States has repudiated its obligations to the States and thus has no basis for insisting that the States have any further obligation to it. The federal government failed to live up to its side of the bargain and consequently can't reasonably demand that the States continue to be bound by their ends of the bargain.

    I honestly don't know if breaking the US into a number of sovereign entities would be a good idea or not, but I tend to think it would be–the country is too large and too diverse for a one-size-fits-all structure of government. But I hope that the threat alone is sufficient to get the feds to back off.

    July 23, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Ed

    No problem, guy. Tenn takes more federal funds than it pays into the system. Have fun living in a 3rd world country.

    July 23, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Jean

    I would love to see Texas become its own country. All of their citizens would lose Social Security, Medicare, the postal system, highway maintenance, school funding, police, fire... you name it. Hmmm... how will they get these services back? Tax the hell out of its citizens.

    July 23, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. The Big J

    Will the state of Tenn be able to provide him the money he makes off the federal government as a rep? Will Tenn be able to pay all its own bills, on its own? Who will maintain the highways of Tenn? Do these people like Wamp think before they speak? Or are they drunk with minor power? Do they not care that if history remember them at all, they will be remembered as an oafish bafoon? When will this silliness stop? Or are we past the point on no return?

    July 23, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Roger

    Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, what have you wrought? Your legacy will be one of infamy. Your attempt to transform this great Nation has failed. You have attempted to divide us to foster this transformation but we are still and will always be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Your dictatorial transformation, disquised in thuggery, lies and deception has come to an end. Instead of waiting for the coming election, do our Nation and its freedom loving people a favor and resign now in shame. This Nation under God will persevere and will once again be a united one

    July 23, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. DianeRPCFL

    Any US Congressman advocating secession should be expelled for advocating insurrection and sedition. I thought all these rigthwing wacakdoodles were the "Patriotic" ones. What's so patriotic about advocating disbanding the Union? Sounds very unpatriotic and talinban-esque to me.

    July 23, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. Daniel

    Not sure we can let Tennessee go, since that would require too long a drive to get to the other side from here in Georgia, but I'm all for letting Texas secede after we move NASA, military bases, and other federal facilities in Texas to other states.

    July 23, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Jasonk

    So basically GOP is party of traitors that hates the founding fathers

    July 23, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. GeorgeVT

    This is a rubbish, TN gets more in Fed Funds than it pays back in Fed taxes and is therefore gaining off the system (according to 2004 data). Unless this has significantly changed in the past few years, it would be giant fiscal mistake, plus, there are untold costs to becoming one's own country: passports, healthcare, paying the feds back for highways, etc. No one should fall for this, the states have much more to lose, even if 15 feel this way

    July 23, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Enough already

    CNN, how about examining the complaints these clowns have "Obama socialism" and the "burdens imposed" on the States.
    Then, let's look at what it means to threaten to secede from this country, in historical context (The Civil War) and otherwise.
    Don't just give the idiots what they want – screen time. Make them explain themselves, and I think an accurate discussion of what treason means is in order, particularly since these same clowns make that threat against the all-too-centrist and wingnut-accomodating President Obama. (really, worried about Glenn Beck? His idiot minions, okay they're citizens, but the pimple on the ass of humanity himself?)
    You know, commit an act of journalism periodically.

    July 23, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Roy

    Secession!? Are these folks insane? Grow up and learn to tolerate other peoples' opinions and freely elected representatives. Obama won the election fair and square and represents what the majority of Americans want and need. If you can't live with that, perhaps you should move to another country. But other countries don't want people like you. So, grow up and remember–we're all in this American boat together. Your intolerance is a sign of personal and political immaturity. And your self-righteousness is repugnant in such a great country as ours.

    July 23, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    SNORT! The fact that this nonsense appeals to the right-wingers demonstrates their intelligence and patriotism.

    I thought it was Republicans who were supposed to love America so much? Two Republican candidates have now publicly advocated the ultimate act of treason.

    July 23, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Mathew

    During the Bush administration, if anybody talked like this, it would be denounced as "treason" and "unpatriotic" by the GOP.

    But I guess it's different when YOUR guy is not calling the shots. I'm not a big fan of democrats but republicans absolutely disgust me with their hypocrisy.

    As for Wamp, he makes me ashamed to say I'm from his neck of the woods.

    July 23, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. sami73

    For goodness sake, carry out your threat for a secession and take Texas with you. The ought to take care of our Social Security funding.

    July 23, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. William T Sherman

    Oh please secede...I'd love to burn Atlanta again

    July 23, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. navarro

    Then quit complaining that 'Obama is not doing his job'. You cannot have it both ways.

    It is interesting how the hate that is spewed by so many is triggering the makings of a modern day Holy Crusade. It is being 'shouted from te mountains' in the name of the constitution when most Americans can't even speak intelligently about what the content really means in today's world. This crusade is being waged in the name of power and money and no consideration that their own hate could be in any way the reason for the wrong doings of the world and not the world itself.

    America please wake up- regardless if you are republican or democrat the moderates are the ones who should control the dialog. We are letting the special interest fringe groups take our power from us.

    What say you?!?!

    July 23, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Angy

    Oh please. Such haters: Rep. Zach Wamp, one of three candidates seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Tennessee, told Hotline OnCall that Perry had the right idea. Wamp argued that mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill have put secession on the table.

    Well you know what wimp who cares. Where was all the secession talk when bush and crazy cheney were lying to America and running this country into the ground? I guess you and the other rethugs were in a coma. NONE of you rethugs have done anything to help make things better, because you have no idea on how to change things. cheney had you all under his evil spell. Now that the spell has been broken you can't think for yourselves. All you can talk about is what a horrible job President Obama is doing. If you can't or won't help make things better for the people YOU WORK FOR, just shut the HE!! up.

    July 23, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Another fool

    July 23, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Rick Perry and Zach Wamp (don't forget Sharron Angle!) are patriotic and respect the Constitution, but they only believe in democracy if they win the election. The last time I read it democracy was pretty much the point of the US Constitution. In other words the only thing these weasels care about is getting and holding power.

    July 23, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Independent Thought

    Interesting whenever Republicans don't like something Dems do they threaten secession, whenever Dems don't like something Republicans do their called traitors. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

    July 23, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. Scott O

    Ronald Reagan was the first president in my lifetime to leave states in an untenable position. Republican, I believe. This is all just a bunch of jerks thinking voters are stupid. Are, we voters? Well???

    July 23, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Jerry Kelly

    The GOP continues to demonstrate a remarkable tendency towards treason. What do you expect from the party that turned all of Congress' responsibilities under the Constitution over to "The Decider"?

    July 23, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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