Tennessee Rep. Zach Wamp talks of secession

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Tennessee congressman suggested Friday that states might have to "consider separation from this government" if the federal government does not change its approach.

Republican Rep. Zack Wamp brought up the idea of secession in an interview Friday with Hotline on Call as he encouraged a change at the federal level.

"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," he said.

"States are tired of being run over" by federal mandates, Wamp said, and praised Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who raised the topic of secession in 2009 after an anti-tax "tea party" rally.

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

Wamp, who is running for governor of Tennessee, didn't go so far as to say he would push for secession if elected. Instead, he blamed Washington for putting voters and state legislatures in a difficult spot and vowed to pressure Democrats through other means, especially "the leverage that other governors have under the 10th Amendment."

Wamp's rivals in the Tennessee primary said they too wanted voters to change Washington's political makeup, but they refused to stand with their fellow Republican when it came to secession.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called the remarks another example of Wamp's "over-the-top temperament and overheated, sometimes crazy rhetoric."

-- Emi Kolawole

© 2010 The Washington Post Company