Both political parties have to deal with purists whose enthusiasm overcomes their common sense. Political activists have more passion than most and passion is not always well informed.
So let me say it. The resolution passed by one of the state Republican Congressional District conventions asserting Wisconsin's right to secede from the Union was dumb. It was dumb from a political perspective and on the merits. We fought a civil war to resolve that question. While I suppose, given the breadth of human evil, that you can imagine circumstances in which a state would justifiably wish to secede - say Nazi or Communist totalitarians established a police state in Washington - that remote and theoretical possibility does not warrant revisiting the nature of the United States.
On the other hand, my friends on the left - and on the editorial board of this paper - might want to be careful about treating this as a Republican or "right wing" issue. After George Bush was re-elected, it was fringe Democrats who discussed the secession of the blue states
There has been a left wing secessionist movement in Vermont that has attracted the support of as much as 13% of the population there. Back in the sixties, radicals, including the widow of Malcolm X, proposed creating a black majority Republic of New Afrika in the deep South.
There has even been prior movements for secession involving Wisconsin. Some proposals to create a new state called Superior have included the northern counties of Wisconsin. Less seriously, Winneconne seceded from Wisconsin for one day in 1967 and still celebrates the event.
Nor is it right - and this is why the Sixth Congressional District action really frosts me - to use the support of a few extremists to tar legitimate concerns about federalism. The Tenth Amendment does matter. Our framers did envision a limited role for the federal government and the states do have rights - although secession is not, under almost all circumstances, one of them.
I spend a lot time fighting for federalism and I don't appreciate it when people who are supposed to be on my side run down the brand.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin