My wife and I were at Sanibel Island, Florida the month before the election and saw the full impact of the media blitz. Sanibel is every bit as conservative as Newport Beach, and there was considerable shock among the locals over Obama’s reelection. Still, it took us by surprise on November 7 when secession replaced arthritis as the main topic of conversation on the cocktail circuit.
Neither of us want to refight the Civil War, so our first instinct was to look for compromise. We pointed out to the neighbors that if the red states simply got California to do the seceding, even a conservative candidate as vacuous and unprincipled as Mitt Romney could probably win enough of the remaining votes in the Electoral College to eke out a victory.
For liberals, the idea of seceding does hold a certain appeal if we could get out on favorable terms. My wife, however, is concerned about what that might bode for our son and his family who live in New York, so her definition of favorable terms is more stringent. For example, if the red states want to cancel the 13th and 19th Amendments, that’s a non-starter in her mind.
I’m more pragmatic. Okay, we should get some concessions. But remember, Californians only have so much clout when it comes to secession. Sure, some people would be happy to see us go, but we need to save our leverage for important subjects like rerouting the Keystone Pipeline to LA or water rights to the Colorado River.
My wife is also concerned that John Boehner would lead the negotiations for the conservatives. “Look how pig headed he’s been in the financial cliff negotiations,” she pointed out. “You’d think Romney’d won the election. Job creators? Hah! They’ve had a tax holiday since 2001 and where are all the jobs?”
I tried to calm her by suggesting they’d probably send in someone more reasonable like Mitch McConnell to do the deal, but that didn’t seem to reassure her. So I tried a different tack. “Look,” I argued, “we’d never have to worry about the Ohio vote again.”
“Careful,” she reminded me, “my side of the family lives in Ohio.”
“Exactly,” I agreed. “Who needs Ohio! We’d never have to try to convince your sister Potsy to vote for Obama again. And look at the side benefits. The red states could go ahead and make ‘God Bless America’ the national anthem so they wouldn’t have to wait till the seventh inning to sing it. California could pick its own anthem. How about ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane? And we wouldn’t even have to change leadership. Governor Moonbeam is already in place.”
I don’t know how negotiations run in your families, but it was all uphill from there.