By: David Martosko
Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.
By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.
A petition from Vermont, where talk of secession is a regular feature of political life, was the final entry.
Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals.
The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin. Shortly before 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, it had attracted 94,700 signatures. But a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday afternoon that he does not support the idea of his state striking out on its own.
“Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it. But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
A backlash Monday night saw requests filed with the White House to strip citizenship rights from Americans who signed petitions to help states secede.
And in a similar nose-thumbing aimed at Texas’ conservative majority, progressives from the liberal state capital of Austin responded Monday with a petition to secede from their state if Texas as a whole should decide to leave the Union.
Late Tuesday a second group of Texans, this one from Houston, lodged their own White House petition. Secession-minded Texans, they wrote, “are mentally deficient and [we] do not want them representing us. We would like more education in our state to eradicate their disease.”
Houstonian “Kimberly F” — The White House does not provide last names — submitted the petition. She told TheDC in an email that ”[w]e need both sides presented, or we all look like a bunch of fools.”
A group from El Paso, too, wants no part of an independent Texas. “Allow the city of El Paso to secede from the state of Texas,” their petition reads. “El Paso is tired of being a second class city within Texas.”
But smaller petitions like theirs are a political side show of a political side show. One effort, aimed at Missourians, called for a nationwide catered pizza party to celebrate when the Show Me State left the U.S.
States whose active petitions have not yet reached the 25,000 signature threshold include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Fourteen states are represented by at least two competing petitions. The extra efforts from two states — Missouri and South Carolina — would add enough petitions to warrant reviews by the Obama administration if they were combined into petitions launched earlier.
Other states with multiple efforts include Alaska, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The White House provides a 30-day window of time for petitions to reach 25,000 signatures.
Web surfers must register their names online with the White House before launching or signing a petition, but it’s not clear if the 675,000 signatures represent the same number of individuals, since the website permits signers to add their names to multiple petitions.
Individual petition signers, however, may only add their names once to any proposal.
The Daily Caller emailed White House deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest for comment, asking if the Obama administration was taking the grassroots effort seriously.
“Does the President see this as a bunch of Gov. Romney’s supporters blowing off steam after the election?” TheDC asked. “As an earnest show of disaffection with the direction of the country? As something else?”
Earnest did not respond.
The most recent petition to attract at least 150 signatures — the threshold required before the White House adds a petition to its searchable database — suggests a way out, even if a state or two were to take the secession talk seriously.
A Darlington, South Carolina man proposed Tuesday that the Obama administration ”allow the states that have asked to secede to do so and form their own NEW nation together.”
That effort only has 24,000 more signatures to collect before it could find its way into the West Wing.